Individual Assignment on Systems & Operations Management
Individual Assignment on Systems & Operations Management
Every module has a Module Definition Form (MDF) which is the officially validated record of the module. You can access the MDF for this module in three ways via:
? the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)
? the My.Anglia Module Catalogue at www.anglia.ac.uk/modulecatalogue
? Anglia Ruskin’s module search engine facility at www.anglia.ac.uk/modules
All modules delivered by Anglia Ruskin University at its main campuses in the UK and at Associate Colleges throughout the UK and overseas are governed by the Academic Regulations. You can view these at www.anglia.ac.uk/academicregs. An extract of the Academic Regulations, known as the Assessment Regulations, is available at this website too (all new students will have received a printed copy as part of their welcome pack).
In the unlikely event of any discrepancy between the Academic Regulations and any other publication, including this module guide, the Academic Regulations, as the definitive document, take precedence over all other publications and will be applied in all cases.
1.2 Introduction to the Module
The module will give students the opportunity to understand the strategic role of systems and operations management in businesses. There will be an exploration of how systems and operations are key enablers for improving customer experiences and for managing processes. The module will focus on how systems are essential for value chain and supply chain management. The operations process and information systems perspective of the input-process-output model will be applied. Using these theories and models, students will be able to critique organisations and develop proposals to improve systems and operations within an organisation.
The ability to analyse current situation is a key analytical skill for developing student’s ability to solve problems. Students will develop knowledge of information systems infrastructures and how to apply these ideas to an organisation. This will include communications networks and how to secure networks and the fundamentals of database design that lie at the heart of enterprise/ERP systems. The role and capability of enterprise applications will be explored, including CRM; SCM and KMS.
The links between these systems and operations excellence will be evaluated. Students will be expected to understand these systems which are common in the workplace; hence, knowledge of this key terminology is a practical outcome of the module. The technique of rich picture building/mind mapping will be used to evaluate the organisation. This will form the basis of exploring the people; management and technology issues in relation to systems and operations improvement. The strategic analysis; information systems design element and evaluation of the issues will enable the student to develop well-justified and logical improvement ideas for business excellence in systems and operations.
1.3 Learning Outcomes
This module, like all modules at Anglia Ruskin, is taught on the basis of achieving intended learning outcomes. On successful completion of the module, the student will be expected to be able to demonstrate the following:
Knowledge and understanding LO 1. Assess the strategic importance of information systems and operations processes
LO 2. Evaluate how to improve operations management processes using theories and information systems Intellectual, practical, affective and transferable skills
Intellectual, practical, affective and transferable skills LO 3. Design appropriate IT infrastructures to manage data and information for improved operations
LO 4. Analyse people; management and technology issues in relation to systems and operations improvement
The assessment is based on meeting these learning outcomes, shown explicitly in section 4, where the assessment task is linked to these learning outcomes.
2. Employability Skills in this Module
It is important that we help you develop employability skills throughout your course which will assist you in securing employment and supporting you in your future career. During your course you will acquire a wide range of key skills. In this module, you will develop those identified below:
Skill Skills acquired in this module
Communication (oral) X
Communication (written) X
Commercial Awareness X
Cultural sensitivity X
Customer focus X
Data Handling X
Decision making X
Interpersonal Skills X
Leadership/Management of others X
Organisational adaptability X
Project Management X
Problem Solving and analytical skills X
Team working X
Time Management X
3. Outline Delivery and Reading Lists @ Anglia
3.1 Outline Delivery
The table below indicates how the module will be delivered. However, this schedule is indicative and may be subject to change.
Week Lecture Seminar/Workshop Student-managed Learning
02 Feb, 2015
Information systems and operations management and its relevance to your career
Ikea Case Study: Apply the input-process-output model; assess the role of the customer and information needs. Chapter 1: Business Information Systems in Your Career
Chapter 2: Global E-Business: and Collaboration
09 Feb, 2015 Strategic role of enterprise systems (ERP) and operations within a supply chain Value chain analysis and the role of systems Chapter 3: Achieving Competitive Advantage with Information Systems
16 Feb, 2015 Analysing organisations’ requirements and building solutions Analysing the people; organisational and technological issues in the organisation using rich pictures/mind-mapping. Chapter 11: Building Information Systems and Managing Projects
Chapter 4: IT Infrastructure: Hardware and Software
23 Feb, 2015 Supporting processes and the network infrastructure Process design; network infrastructure and security Chapter 6: Telecommunications, the Internet, and Wireless Technology
Chapter 7: Securing Information Systems
02 Mar, 2015 Assessment focus
Business Intelligence introduction: logical database structures Workshop in database design: tables and relationships in MS Access Chapter 5: Foundations of Business Intelligence: Databases and Information Management
09 Mar, 2015 Working with data in business: SQL and querying databases Workshop in database design: queries and SQL in MS Access No specific reading to allow time to prepare your assessed group presentations- Revision Chp1-11
16 Mar, 2015 User-friendliness and skills in designing user interfaces for business
Working with databases and enterprise systems Workshop in database design: forms and reports in MS Access No specific reading to allow time to prepare your assessed group presentations- Revision Chp1-11
23 Mar, 2015 Supply chain dynamics, supply chain management (SCM) and communication networks HP laptop case study: Mapping global supply networks and understanding the flow of inventory through processes Chapter 9: E-commerce: Digital Markets, Digital Goods
EASTER VACATION: Monday 30th March – Friday 10 April 2015
13 April, 2015 Operations improvement for the customer through customer relationship management (CRM) The impact of CRM on marketing and sales Chapter 8: Achieving Operations Excellence and Customer Intimacy: Enterprise Applications
20 April, 2015 Assessment Group Presentation Submitted: In class or electronically
27 April, 2015 Business intelligence and knowledge management systems (KMS) The use of business intelligence for decision making Chapter 10; Improving Decision Making and Managing Knowledge
04 May 2015 Consideration of the social and ethical dimensions Discussion on the dimensions Chapter 12; Ethical and social issues in Information Systems
Assignment due date:
Tuesday 12 May 2015 no later than 2pm
3.2 Reading List and Learning Resources
The reading list and learning resources for this module are available on Reading Lists at Anglia, you can access the reading list for this module, via this link: http://readinglists.anglia.ac.uk/lists/3BB0C5F2-A886-F4ED-DD47-BF1ED5CE15DC.html
4. Assessment on this Module
The assessment for this module consists of two elements. Final submission dates for elements of assessment vary.
Element Type of assessment Word or time limit % of Total Mark Submission method Final Submission Date
010 HAND-IN AS A VIDEO
Group Presentation focused on IT structure of one of the following:
1) network & security,
2) database design and relationships,
3) querying the data base,
4) database user interface 6-8 minutes
video 25% Inclass/CD-Rom /USB/email/VLE Week 10
W/C 20 April, 2015
011 Individual Assignment 2,000
words 75% Turnitin®UK GradeMark
or in hard copy (off main UK campus only) NO LATER THAN:
Tuesday 12 May 2015 2pm
All forms of assessment must be submitted by the published deadline which is detailed above. It is your responsibility to know when work is due to be submitted – ignorance of the deadline date will not be accepted as a reason for late or non-submission. Any late work will NOT be considered and a mark of zero will be awarded for the assessment task in question.
You are requested to keep a copy of your work (excluding exams).
You are entitled to feedback on your performance for all your assessed work. For all assessment tasks which are not examinations, this is accomplished by a member of academic staff providing your mark and associated comments which will relate to the achievement of the module’s intended learning outcomes and the assessment criteria you were given for the task when it was first issued. This feedback will be available on-line via Turnitin/Grademark® or may be sent directly to your Anglia Ruskin e-mail account.
The marker of your assignment will include feedback on written assignments that includes answers to these three key questions:
1. What is your overall feedback?
2. How does your assignment compare to the marking criteria?
3. How can you improve in the future?
Examination scripts are retained by Anglia Ruskin and are not returned to students. However, you are entitled to feedback on your performance in an examination and may request a meeting with the Module Leader or Tutor to see your examination script and to discuss your performance.
Anglia Ruskin is committed to providing you with feedback on all assessed work within 20 working days of the submission deadline or the date of an examination. This is extended to 30 days for feedback for a Major Project module (please note that working days excludes those days when Anglia Ruskin University is officially closed; e.g.: between Christmas and New Year). Personal tutors will offer to read feedback from several modules and help you to address any common themes that may be emerging.
On occasion, you will receive feedback and marks for pieces of work that you completed in the earlier stages of the module. We provide you with this feedback as part of the learning experience and to help you prepare for other assessment tasks that you have still to complete. It is important to note that, in these cases, the marks for these pieces of work are unconfirmed. This means that, potentially, marks can change, in either direction!
Marks for modules and individual pieces of work become confirmed on the Dates for the Official Publication of Results which can be checked at www.anglia.ac.uk/results.
4.1 Assessment Information and Marking Criteria
Case Study: Turnround at the Huada Plant
“Before the crisis, production monitoring was done to please the client, not for problem solving. Data readouts were brought to Production meetings, we would all look at it, but none of us were looking behind it”. (Jack Li, Chief operating officer (COO), Huada Plant)
The Huada Plant was located in Fujian, China. Precision-coated papers for specialist printing uses accounted for the majority of the plant’s output. The plant used state-of-the-art coating machines that allowed very precise coatings to be applied to bought-in rolls of paper. After coating, the coated rolls were cut into standard sizes.
The curl problem
In the spring of 2011, Tongfa (the plant’s main customer) informed the plant of problems it had encountered with paper curling under conditions of low humidity. There had been no customer complaints. Tongfa’s own personnel had noticed the problem, but they took the problem seriously. Over the next eight months, the plant’s production staff worked to isolate the cause of the problem and improve systems that monitored processing metrics. By January 2012, the process was producing acceptable product, yet it had not been a good year for the plant. Although volumes were buoyant, the plant was making a loss of around ¥10 million (Chinese yuan) a year. In October 2011, Jack Li was appointed as COO.
Slipping out of control
Although the curl project was solved, productivity, scrap and re-work levels were poor. In response to this, operations managers increased the speed of the line in order to raise productivity. “Looking back, changes were made without any proper discipline, there was no real concept of control and the process was allowed to drift. Our culture said, “If it’s within specification then it’s OK”, and we were very diligent in making sure that the product which was shipped was in specification. However, Tongfa gets ‘process data’ which enables them to see exactly what is happening right inside your operation. We were also getting all the data but none of it was being internalised. By contrast, Tongfa has a ‘capability mentality’. They say, “You might be capable of making this product but we are thinking two or three product generations forward and asking ourselves, do we want to invest in this relationship for the future?” (Jack Li)
The spring of 2012 was eventful. First, Tongfa asked the plant to carry out preliminary work for a new paper to supply its next generation of printers, known as the Dragon project. Second, the plant was acquired by the GoldPaper Group, which was not impressed by what it found. The plant had been making a loss for two years and had incurred Tongfa’s disapproval over the curl issue. They made it clear that if the plant did not get the Dragon contract, its future looked bleak. Meanwhile, in the plant, the chief concern was plant productivity, but also Tongfa was starting to make complaints about quality levels. Yet Tongfa’s attitude caused bewilderment in the Production team. “When Tongfa asked questions about our process the operations guys would say, “Look we’re making roll after roll of paper, it’s within specification and we’ve got 97 per cent up-time. What’s the problem?” (COO, Huada Plant). But it was not until summer that the full extent of Tongfa’s disquiet was made clear. “I will never forget that day in June of 2012. I was with Tongfa in Shanghai, and during the meeting one of their engineers handed me some of the process data that we had to supply with every batch of product, and said “Here’s your latest data. We think you’re out of control and you don’t know that you’re out of control and we think that Tongfa is looking at this data more than you are.” He was absolutely right. (Jack Li)
Jack Li immediately set about the task of bringing the plant back under control. They first of all decided to go back to the conditions which the monitoring system indicated had prevailed in January, when the curl problem had been solved and before productivity pressures had caused the process to be adjusted. At the same time, Production worked on ways of implementing unambiguous ‘shut-down rules’ which would indicate to operators when a line should be halted if they were in doubt about operating quality. “At one point in May of 2012, we had to throw away 700 jumbo rolls of out-of-specification product. That’s over ¥2 million of product scrapped in one run. That was because operators had been afraid to shut the line down. Either that or they had tried to tweak the line while it was running to get rid of the defect. The shut-down system says, “We are not going to operate when we are not in a state of control”. Prior to that, our operators just couldn’t win. If they failed to keep the process running we would say, “You’ve got to keep productivity up”. If they kept the machines running but had quality problems as a result, we criticised them for making garbage. Now you get into far more trouble for violating process procedures than for not meeting productivity targets”. “We did two further things. First, each production team started holding daily reviews of processing data and some ‘first pass’ analysis of the data. Second, one day a month we brought all three shifts together, looked at the processing data and debated the implications of production data. Some people got nervous because we were not producing anything. But for the first time you got operators from the three shifts, together with the Production team, talking about operating issues. We also invited Tongfa up to attend these meetings. Remember, these weren’t staged meetings; it was the first time these guys had met together and there was plenty of heated discussion, all of which the Tongfa representatives witnessed”. (Engineer, Huada Plant)
In spite of the changes, morale on the shop floor was good. At last something positive was happening. By September 2012, the process was coming under control and the efficiency of the plant was improving, as was its outgoing quality level, its on-time delivery, its responsiveness to customer orders and its inventory levels (Table 1). Yet the Huada team did not have time to enjoy their emerging success. In September of 2012, Tongfa announced that the plant would not get the Dragon project because of their discomfort about quality levels, and GoldPaper formally made their decision on the future of the plant. “We lost ten million dollars in 2012. We had also lost the Dragon project. It was no surprise when they made the decision to shut the plant down. I told the senior management team that we would announce it in April of 2013. The irony was that we knew that we had already turned the corner. It would take perhaps three or four months, but we were convinced that we would become profitable”. (Jack Li)
Table 1: Huada Plant demand and production (2012)
Month Demand (rolls) Cumulative Demand (rolls) Production (rolls) Cumulative Production
(rolls) Inventory (rolls)
January 5500 5500 7500 7500 2000
February 3230 8730 7300 14800 6070
March 3670 12400 3900 18700 6300
April 5300 17700 3500 22200 4500
May 4130 21830 3500 25700 3170*
June 3890 25720 3750 29450 3730
July 4380 30100 3950 33400 3300
August 6370 36470 4300 37700 1230
September 4130 40600 4830 42530 1930
October 3080 43680 5280 47810 4130
November 2950 46630 5600 53410 6780
December 3300 49930 6300 59710 9780
Demand 4160 Average
*700 rolls of out-of-specification product dumped
Convincing the rest of the world
Notwithstanding the closure decision, the management team in Huada set about the task of convincing both Tongfa and GoldPaper that the plant could be viable. They figured that it would take three things. First, it was vital that they continue to improve quality. Second, costs had to be brought down further. Third, the plant had to create a portfolio of new product ideas.
Improving quality further involved establishing full statistical process analysis into the process monitoring system. It also meant establishing quality consciousness and problem-solving tools throughout the plant. “We had people out there, technologists and managers, who saw themselves as concerned with investment projects rather than the processes that were affected. But taking time out and discussing process performance and improvement, we got used to discussing the basic capabilities that we needed to improve”. (Jack Li)
Working on cost reduction was inevitably going to be painful. The first task was to get an understanding of what should be an appropriate level of operating costs. “We went through a zero-based assessment to decide what an ideal process would look like. By the way, in hindsight, cutting numbers had a greater impact on cost than the payroll saving figures seems to suggest. If you really understand your process, when you cut people it cuts complexity and makes things clearer to understand. Although most staff had not been told about the closure decision, they were left in no doubt that the plant had its back to the wall. We were careful to be very transparent. We made sure that everyone knew whether they would be affected or not. I did lots of walking around explaining the company’s position. There were tensions and some negative reactions from the people who had to leave. Yet most accepted the business logic of what we were doing.” (Jack Li)
By December of 2012, there were 40 per cent fewer people in the plant than two months earlier. All departments were affected. Surprisingly, the quality department shrank more than most, moving from 22 people down to nine. “When the plant was considering down-sizing, they asked me, “How can we run a lab with six technicians?” Remember that at this time we had 22 technicians. I said, “Easy. We get production to make good product in the first place, and then we don’t have to control all the garbage”. (Quality Manager, Huada Plant)
Several new product ideas were investigated, including some that were only possible because of the plant’s enhanced capability. The most important of these became known as “Ecowrap”, a recyclable protective wrap, aimed at the Japanese market. It was technically difficult, but the plant’s new capabilities allowed it to develop appropriate coatings at a cost that made the product attractive.
Out of the crisis
In spite of their trauma in the autumn, the plant’s management team faced Christmas of 2012 with increasing satisfaction, if not optimism, for the plant’s future. In December, they made an operational profit for the first time for over two years. By spring of 2013, even Tongfa, at a corporate level, was starting to look more favourably on the Huada plant. More significantly, Tongfa had asked the plant to start work on trials for a new product – ‘heavyweight’ paper. April 2013 was a good month for the plant. It had chalked up three months of profitability, and Tongfa formally gave the heavyweight ink-jet paper contract to Huada, and were generally more up-beat about the future. At the end of April, GoldPaper reversed their decision to close the plant.
2013 was a profitable year for the plant – by the end, they had captured 75 per cent of Tongfa’s China printing paper business and were being asked to work on several other large projects. “Tongfa now seems very keen to work with us. It has helped us with our own suppliers also. We have already given considerable assistance to our main paper supplier to improve their own internal process control procedures. Recently we were in a meeting with people from all different parts of Tongfa. There was all kinds of confidential information going around. But you could never tell that there was an outsider (us) in the room. They were having arguments amongst themselves about certain issues and no one could have been there without feeling that basically we were a part of that company. In the past they’ve always been very close with some information. Basically the change is all down to their new-found trust in our capabilities”. (Jack Li)
4.1.1 Element 011 – Assignment
Mark Learning Outcome
1. Specialism Topic (600 words)
Select one from the following 3 options and write 600 word summary topic
Option 1: Describe the role of information systems in careers in one of the following areas: accounting/finance, human resources, marketing, and operations management, and explain how careers in information systems have been affected by new technologies and outsourcing.
Option 2: For an organisation of your choice, write a 600 word short case that summarises how they have strategically harnessed the use of operations and/or information systems. You could consider using Gartner research as a starting point. Gartner are an Anglia Ruskin partner, you can connect to their site from the http://my.anglia.ac.uk- click on “auto-login to Gartner website” from the “Links to Partner Sites” section. You do not have to get your case from there; any suitable source will be fine.
Option 3: How much can business intelligence and business analytics help SME’s refine their business strategy? A good starting point is Chapter 10 Improving Decision Making and Managing Knowledge. 30% LO1
2. Apply relevant models to the Huada Plant to analyse the current challenges they have in their operations processes and satisfying the customer. This could include: the input-process-output model; the value chain model and business process mapping. Evaluate how they could improve the operations processes; this should promote the database system and other ideas for operations improvement (700 words) 30% LO1, LO2, LO3
3. Complete a mind map/rich picture to identify and explore the people; management and technology issues at the Huada Plant. Analyse how to improve the operations and the Huada Plant considering these issues. (600 words) 30% LO4
4. Academic Rigour
Your assignment should be written in good business English and be well structured and presented. Your assignment should clearly include the academic insight, i.e. the concepts and the supporting references involved, indicated in the assignment and listed in the references and bibliography 10% N/A
TOTAL MARKS 100%
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Marking Criteria for Element 011 – Assignment
Information systems; e-business and successful operations are increasingly recognised as being strategically important to the success of businesses and economies A
= 21-30 Sample comments
The topic chosen has been researched in depth which has led to a clear exploration of the area. Supporting references demonstrate that the area has been researched very comprehensively.
Some indicators of an A grade:
• The area is explained expertly and this is well-referenced with supporting literature.
• The discussion is eloquent and well-argued.
=18-20 Sample comments
There is good evidence of research into the topic chosen using relevant literature. The topic is understood and has been researched well.
Some indicators of a B grade:
• The topic is understood and defined, however, in places could be more in detail.
• There is good use of references.
=15-17 Sample comments
The discussion of the topic is clear, but it is more descriptive than exploratory. There is an acceptable level of understanding of the topic.
Some indicators of a C grade:
• The area is described and understood – but there needed to be more depth.
• There are some linkages to the theory, however, the reflection needed more references
=12-14 Sample comments
The explanation of the topic is largely descriptive, it is somewhat understood. There are very few references to literature
Some indicators of a D grade:
• The topic has been explained, but this is basic
• There is minimal evidence of reading.
= 11 and below. Sample comments
No real explanation of the topic, the explanation is not adequate and lacks references.
Some indicators of an unsuccessful attempt:
• Brief description of the area chosen.
• Lacks references to theory.