The aim of this assessment is to enable students to undertake an in-depth investigation and analysis of operations management within a nominated business. The key OM topics listed on your Unit Outline and chapters in your textbook will serve as a guide for the topics to investigate. Students should also consider additional issues or challenges of specific interest to the operations of the particular business with a future oriented lens. A detailed discussion of the aims and process for this assessment will be provided in class.
Students are required to prepare themselves for the assessment by researching a relevant organisation to undertake this assessment. Recognising the variation in industry access across locations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students may complete their assessment using either primary and/or secondary source information, however the final submission is required to be of scope and depth, and critical analyse indicative of the learning context. Please discuss your proposed organisation and process with your local tutor.
Your assessment task is to write a clear, concise and well-edited report (2500-3000 words). The range in word count is indicative of relevant text, graphs, charts, tables and images provided to support your report. The report is designed to help you combine skills in preparing a business report for managing operations using appropriate principles, theories, tools, techniques and models covered in the unit and then demonstrated in application in your chosen organisation. It involves the critical analysis of current practices, and the development of suggestions and/or comments, designed to address any perceived OM issues, and identify current and future trends and challenges.
You will need to support your writing by reading and citing a minimum of 20 scholarly sources (e.g., books, journal articles from full-text academic databases) plus other relevant sources of information (company websites, annual reports, business plans/reports, government sources, media). (Chicago)
Suggested OM areas
Some of the key OM areas you may wish to consider in your analysis include the topics listed on the unit outline, chapters in your text, and can also be informed by examining the critical decisions within the OM discipline (see discussion pages 7 to 10 and Table 1.1, Reid & Sanders, 2016, p. 8/ 2020, p. 7). Key OM areas include:
§ strategy and competitiveness
§ planning and design (product and process)
§ size and location of premises; facility location and capacity planning
§ facility layout and design, processes and systems (JIT & lean)
§ quality and excellence
§ production scheduling and control
§ equipment/resource planning, outsourcing, offshoring
§ logistics and materials handling, supply chain management
§ inventory management
§ work methods, project management
§ innovation, technology and knowledge management
§ risk management
When writing your report, you should provide evidence and examples to support your discussions; for example: direct citation of oral communication during an interview, FAQs from business website, ‘quality’ source/responses from social media, perhaps physical site visit observations if availability/access permits, any graphics/images, figures, charts, tables to support your discussions. Remember there is often a lot of information on the business’ website, supplier websites, also in other publically available documentation such as strategic plans, annual reports.
The steps below provide an approach you may wish to follow (but are not limited to) when working through this assessment:
Executive Summary (1 page max)
Table of contents
1) Introduction to your report (aim, objectives, process….)
2) Background/history - Explain the nature of the business, and the relevant context relating to the operations of this business. For example: manufacturing/service, rural/industrial/city location geographic/physical considerations, environmental/social/economic considerations, life stage – start-up, maturity, decline, SME or large business, business strategy, operations strategy – all these factors will have some effect on the operations you are investigating, thus examine and report on the business context for your ensuing discussions.
3) Main body of report - Investigate key OM activities within the operations of your selected organisation
i) Describe the operations/strategies, processes, procedures, techniques, tools as research
ii) Critically analyse your observations and discussions
iii) Implications, challenges, issues re: the future - Identify any trends and/or challenges or issues relating to operations which the business is currently dealing with, or will need to consider for future planning. Evaluate any limitations you have identified and propose alternative perspectives and/or strategies. Remember to justify and support your discussions where appropriate.