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March 29, 2024

Operations and Information Management

Operations and Information Management

Assessment task details and instructions

AlphaCo is a medium-sized company that produces high-quality handmade furniture for customers in their own country. Most of these customers are small boutique furniture retailers who have used AlphaCo for a number of years, normally placing orders by telephone and paying by cash on delivery. There is little visibility of future orders, which means that the lead time for delivery can be over four weeks, and this means that some orders are cancelled at short notice due to changes in customer demand. Although AlphaCo has a strong brand image, it has seen the market for its products reduced by nearly 30% over the last year, as consumers react to the increasing rate of inflation and the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. Currently, AlphaCo relies on a small number of local suppliers for their raw materials (woods, plastics, etc) and struggles to maintain effective relationships due to their difficulty in managing the supply and demand of their own products.

AlphaCo has recently appointed a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) who can see future opportunities in competing in global, more price-sensitive markets. This will require a change in strategy to one that focuses on the efficiency of production and the development of stronger and more professional customer and supplier relationships. A new focus will be needed to improve AlphaCo’s manufacturing, marketing, and supply chain capabilities and capacity. The CEO is prepared to invest significantly in making these changes, particularly through digital transformation, as its initial market research shows that there is a sizeable market for quality products, but costs need to be managed effectively and efficiently.

Operations and Information Management

Operations and Information Management

Your task

You are a technical consultant and have been appointed by the CEO to review AlphaCo’s operations and information management processes and ways of working. This review takes the form of a report that includes the different tasks shown below with mark weightings against each one.

  1. Develop a SWOT analysis of the current situation at AlphaCo (10 marks).
  2. Based on your SWOT analysis, discuss how a more effective and efficient management of capacity, quality and both suppliers and customers could help AlphaCo meet its new performance objectives (40 marks).
  3. Select one of the process areas from part 2 (e.g. capacity, quality, supplier or customer management) and, using Business Process Model (BPM) techniques, develop and present two BPM models that show how these could be improved by capturing the existing and the proposed business processes (20 marks).
  4. Conduct research into a suitable Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software solution and develop an evaluation table, which shows a set of evaluation characteristics and the analysis of two commercial/off-the-shelf products and two Open Source Software alternatives (20 marks).
  5. Select one Industry 4.0 technology and discuss the benefits of implementing this into AlphaCo (10 marks).

Additional instructions

  1. Follow a report format, with a title and contents page, Executive Summary (that gives a brief and complete summary of your paper for an executive to read), brief introduction, individual sections and sub-sections that address the assignment brief tasks, page numbers, brief conclusions and appendix section (if used). If you are uncertain about how to present and structure a report then visit the university library and ask for assistance.
  2. Use diagrams, illustrations, tables, graphics etc. wherever these are helpful. If you do use these, please do not put them in the appendices if they are part of your discussion. Appendices are the appropriate places to put supporting material, however, remember if the reader is satisfied with the main points of your discussion; the supporting information within the appendices may not even be reviewed.
  3. Try to use theory explicitly at all stages, but do not spend too much time describing a theory. While you must be explicit about the theories, models, techniques etc. that you use, you can assume that the reader is familiar with them. What the reader requires is evidence of your ability to understand and apply the theory and learn from it in order to support the development of your findings and/or ideas.
  4. You must cite all sources on which you have relied, for example textbooks, journal articles, web pages etc. using the Harvard Bibliographic referencing system. If you do not cite all sources, then you may be accused of plagiarism, and that may endanger your success in passing the module. If you are in any doubt about how to reference your work, please obtain guidance from the library and/or your academic librarian(s) for this module.
  5. All submissions should be word-processed (letter size 12, times new roman, 1.5 space) and fully referenced.
  6. The word count for each task of the assignment brief should be based on the mark weightings for each one.

Operations and Information Management

Assessed intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this assessment, you will be able to:

  1. Critically analyse the theory, concepts and models of operations and information management.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of operations and information management in international operations.
  3. Analyse and critically evaluate the ways in which operations and information management are adapted in view of specific market culture and customer requirements.
  4. Analyse and critically evaluate the role and importance of operational excellence in various aspects of competitive advantage.
  5. Evaluate critically the fundamental principles of quality and environmental management systems.

Transferable Skills and other Attributes

  1. Identify and utilise appropriate methods for collecting and analysing data related to operations and information management issues.
  2. Locate, summarise and synthesise a range of information from published literature and electronic sources on operations and information management.
  3. Use and evaluate a variety of tools for improving organisational performance.
  4. Improve research skills, and data analysis and presentation. Manage time to meet deadlines in both group discussions and in preparation of in-class activities.

Word count

The maximum word count is 3000 words (+/- 10%). Your word count is from the introduction to conclusion sections. Therefore, it does not include title page, contents page, Executive Summary, reference section, tables and appendices etc. Please note that tables should be used to present succinct data and information and not for discussions that relate to the assignment brief tasks. If the assignment exceeds these limits; the work in excess of 3000 is not marked. Use APA referencing style.