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MAPM5029 Management Accounting And Performance Management

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Question:

The questions follow after the body of the case. Answer each question separately with a short analysis and/or essay as appropriate. Although the primary focus of the assignment is upon the operations management issues and minimum levels of performance are expected on those, better answers will include discussions of relevant ideas from the areas of Strategy in particular and appropriate ones from Accounting and Finance. Further relevant ideas from Economics, Management & Organizations and even Marketing may be raised, too, where suitable. Although the case study concerns the introduction of new technology in a historic business the issues involved, and the appropriate analyses are timeless.

1. Operations managers make strategic decisions when choosing appropriate manufacturing processes. What would you consider to be the most significant factors that should be included in this assessment?
 
2. Brunel initial operating plans for his equipment allocated one worker per machine. During the start-up period when the Factory was running with only one set of machines with fewer employees the Navy Board observed that there were savings from such low levels of staffing despite the Factory overall operating losses and conscious of costs recommended that Goodrich employ as few workers as possible.

a. Was this interference by the “Top Management justified? Describe how you might analyse the initial design case with one man per machine as opposed to an alternative in which staff levels reflected demand.
In your assessment use the data from the Production Growth graph, noting that the 330 man-days in 1808 were achieved using just four men operating the 18 block- making machines throughout the year. Bentham initially judged that first class machine operators would earn 24 shillings per week. (NOTE: in old British currency 12 pence[d] equalled 1 shilling[s], and 20 shillings equalled £1)

b. The Royal Navy fleet in 1808 and 1809 achieved its maximum size of about 1,000 vessels of various sizes and types. What are the implications of that peak for the Factory future operations?
You may assume (based on previous history) that the impending end of the Napoleonic Wars will be followed by a 10 to 20 year long period of relative peace with many fewer ships.

c. The Factory was used throughout the 1800 and was quite active over 100 years later during World War 1. The factory was fully decommissioned only in 1965 giving a life of 160 years. Briefly outline the analyses you would perform to assess whether the Factory should continue operating: at what point does its costs outweigh its benefits; or would some other criteria be appropriate.

3. Consider the factory layout shown. The machine operators (for the block machines, the sheave machines and the pin machines) are aggrieved by having to go to the office at the start of each day to get their production orders for the day. Once they have those orders, they must then obtain whatever semi-finished required from the left bay’s top floor, and/or have materials handlers bring raw materials from an outside building used to store bulk materials. Not all staff have to do those things, since many production processes are linearly sequenced. How might those information flows be improved? Note: these production workers are paid “piece-rates” where their remuneration is based entirely on the quantity they produce and not for the time taken in production, or for gathering instructions, materials, tools, etc.; or during machine or other breakdowns.

4. The Factory production planning is non-existent: only once orders arrive does the Factory start any production activities for that order. What suggestions would you make for improving its production planning.
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