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ï‚·Key Technologies:
Identify the types of technologies that will be used to support ‘The Drone Dog’ ebusiness and
Recommend the types of business applications software that will be needed.
Include a focus on the databases to be used and how they are used in digital business in conjunction with business application software.
Include an outline of how the business application software will interface with the web site.
Think about the supply chain, order fulfilment processes, etc.
Include an outline of any specialist hardware that will be required to support the web site activity.
You may think about the use of automation, possibly AI, etc.
It needs to be evident that the components of your proposal are integrated.

You are not required to research commercially available options or provide detailed technical specifications of hardware.

A diagram of the structure should be included showing major hardware and software components.
Critically assess what you have suggested


3. Key Technologies
-Interface of applications to the web
-Supply chain support
               




Notes
Use the structure and headings provided above for your reports

 Reference all ideas, diagrams, quotes and other material taken from others using the APA (version 7) format.

Diagrams are best adapted to the case (you still need to reference the original source), reproducing generic diagrams is of minimal value.

You may need to make some assumptions about the business or other practical issues that are not explicit in the case. Please state all assumptions you make.

Do not give generic or general answers; your answers must be specific to the case. Your answers must be in depth.


NOTE: When you are asked to critically assess your suggestions you are required to assess what you have recommended, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the answers you have provided. This is a key part of your assessments.







The Drone Dog (DD)

The introduction of an innovative technology, a drone dog, will revolutionise some aspects of farming. The drone dog is a combination of a drone and a robot that fly’s, walks and runs. It can fly like a drone and can also walk across rough ground like a robotic dog. Rounding up animals particularly sheep to shift them between paddocks, bring them to the shearers shed, and to take them to the meat works, and for other purposes is a labour intensive task that has traditionally been done in New Zealand and other countries by a farmer working with dogs. The farmer controls the dogs with a set of distinctive whistles that are understood by the dogs who are highly trained. Often different breeds of dog are used together to manage a flock of sheep, each breed with its own distinctive skills.

The drone dog robot can fly, bark with various loudness and frequency, walk at different speeds, and run, all as controlled by the farmer. The flying is important so it can relocate to another part of the flock quickly and be wherever its presence is needed. Sometimes it needs to walk slowly so as not to frighten the sheep, sometimes run, and at other times it needs to bark to ensure the sheep understand its presence. GPS technology will be built into the drone dog. Robots that walk across rough ground have been developed for the military, but the dog drone robot is an innovation for commercial use in the farming sector.

The robots have several different models, depending on the functionality required by the farmer. Farms on relatively flat land require a lesser functionality than farms in the rough steep hill country. The drone dog robots are essentially silent except for when they are required to bark.

A business opportunity has been identified by a New Zealand company called ‘Drone Dog’ to start a new business, import the component parts for dog drones from either China or Europe, assemble them in New Zealand and then supply the New Zealand and Australian market with robots for sale either through a few selected distributors or direct through the internet. The proposal is to import the main components of the robots from a mix of the three manufacturers that are located in Germany, Italy and China. This will mean there are significant transit times. Purchasing strategies and processes will need to be carefully thought through, as well as supply and storage strategies for raw materials, components and finished goods. The Drone Dog are manufacturers of the robots and also run a small leasing business primarily so that potential customers can experience the product before buying.

There is some maintenance required for the robots to ensure a high level of reliability. A regular testing programme is needed to ensure that the robots are in good condition at all times so that customers are not embarrassed by the robot failing at a critical time with the pressure of key farming operations needed urgently.

It is against the trend to initiate manufacturing in NZ (most manufacturing is being outsourced to Asia) but the owners of the business are confident that with excellent operation management skills and appropriate levels of automation requiring small numbers of employees it will be possible to have a competitive manufacturing facility in NZ. The facility will need to be well designed and well managed, operations management will be the key.

Each of the overseas manufacturers has several different quality levels available for the core components appropriate to meet the requirements of the various market segments in NZ and Australia. It is likely that several of the minor components, collectively representing a significant proportion of the total robot, will be available from New Zealand manufacturers at competitive prices.

The Managing Director is concerned that the product launched on the local market is of a consistent and high quality, but he is also concerned that the price points will position the product within the grasp of the market segments selected.

The models to be assembled locally will vary as mentioned above in features, speed, and capability. There will be a variety of models to suit different types of farms. Each market will require different key product features. The price of components is important, but there are other criteria that need careful assessment before entering into relationships with suppliers. The robots will have different price points with features designed to meet the requirements of the different customer groups.

The larger the quantities of parts ordered the better the discounts that can be negotiated. However since the technologies involved are changing quite rapidly there is a real risk of obsolescence. Also, if large quantities of parts are stored, storage costs and damage are a concern. There are other disadvantages of buying in bulk. Some of the components are both high value and easily damaged so special security and care will be needed in the handling of some components. Often it is not practical to repair the damage so much stock could be wasted if the appropriate management is not in place. Any damage and consequent disposal of components will be costly and will need to be minimised.

Some components used in the robots are a little bulky so it may not be cost effective to air freight them. The lead time from order to receipt is important allowing for manufacture and then shipping to New Zealand. This has been one reason Chinese rather than German or Italian manufacturers are preferred; the lead time on delivery is less from Asia than from Europe. Unfortunately the quality from some of the Asian suppliers has been quite variable during the product trials and this could lead to customer dissatisfaction. The components will be delivered to The Drone Dog factory in boxes within standard shipping containers.

It is expected that some models will be produced in low volume. Market research has indicated that there will be a reasonable volume required of the core products. There will need to be several different models. Wherever possible, a base model will be used and then variations added to meet the specific requirements. Because of the nature of the technology there will be some specialised processes that will be needed in the building of the robots.

The owners of The Drone Dog are determined to ensure that the factory is designed to be ergonomically friendly. They want to create a positive business culture to develop a good reputation that ‘Drone Dog’ is a great place to work. High quality and high quotas of output will be expected. The business is expected to be highly competitive, and there will be competitor products that are entirely made overseas with lower labour costs than is possible in NZ. It will be essential that a good reputation in the market is quickly established.

When designing the business processes it will be necessary to remember that there will be a significant transit time to ship parts to New Zealand. This will mean it is important to think through storage issues and purchasing arrangements to ensure that the NZ factory does not run out of components during manufacture nor have excessive stock to store. The Managing Director is very concerned that the storage costs are kept to a minimum at all points in the supply chain; the supply of finance is limited so the level of working capital is lower than the Managing Director would like.

It is expected that the largest New Zealand market will be in the back country, though there are significant market opportunities in other farming areas. Initially, it is intended to establish the market in New Zealand and then expand in about two years to Australia. It is hoped to have the first product into the New Zealand market within nine months. There are issues to be considered about where stocks of finished product should be held.

There is a need to make the product available for prospective customers to view and in some cases trial. A hiring option will be offered. This is because of the novel nature of the product at this stage in the product life-cycle; the new technology needs to be operated to build confidence.  There is
uncertainty about how a product that has been trialled should be stored and maintained when it is returned and held for subsequent customer trials.

It is important for Drone Dog to move quickly to ensure a first mover advantage in the market. Because the competitors have existing manufacturing capability it is expected that they will be able to achieve a very competitive cost base.

The Drone Dogs will be primarily distributed via direct internet sales. There will be some distribution through major farm supply distributors but this is not preferred because Drone Dog wants to ensure a close and strong relationship with its customers, minimise distribution costs and provide after sales service directly to its end customers. It is also realised that customers are likely to live in quite remote locations, this adds complexity to reliable and timely product distribution.

Damage to the imported parts may occur in transportation and also in the warehouses especially if warehouse space is not suitably designed for storage and handling of the robot components. Some warehouses being considered for initial use are available in the market at a low cost which is highly attractive. Because the low cost warehouses are old, the floor levels are uneven, the roofs leak in some places, and security is a concern. Good truck turning areas and docking space are important. The business must consider future expansion when making decisions related to locations. Finding stock in poorly designed warehouses is difficult and wastes time. Poor stock management systems will result in stock being frequently moved, this adds cost to the operation, and will probably result in damage.

It is expected that the robot components will be delivered to your factory in boxes from the various suppliers. The core processer will be provided in one piece. There will be about five mechanical subassemblies and ten separate electronic components from the overseas source plus components sourced from within NZ. It will be necessary to paint the robots, a limited range of colour schemes is planned. The internet is going to be important as an advertising medium and also as a means for prospective customers to view technical data, view pictures of the product, and place orders.

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