The purpose of this assignment is to identify and apply OM (Operations Management) concepts/tools to solve operational problems and improve operational performance.
To this purpose, you should find an interesting operational problem from the real business world and think about how you can apply the OM concepts/tools that you learned in this course to solve the problem.More specifically, each individual should: Find an operational problem from the real business world (from his/her own work or from any company) Identify specific OM concepts/tools that can be applied to the problemApply an appropriate OM concept/tool or a set of appropriate OM concepts/toolsto propose a solution to the problemAnalyze the expected results that may be obtained when the solution isimplemented. This section should also include a comparison between best andworst scenarios of the potential outcomes.The table in the appendix below will serve as the grading rubric for this assignment.The report should be 8 – 10 pages in length including the cover and appendices, with 1”margins on all sides, double-spacing, and 12 point font. The cover of the report shouldinclude title, class code and name, section number, your full name, and date ofcompletion.The report must follow the outline below:
1. Executive summary (no more than one page)- Summarize what is the operational problem, what OM concepts/tools havebeen applied to the problem, and what are the expected results of the proposedsolution.
2. Background information- Clearly state whether the operational problem is from your own work or frombusiness articles/cases. If it is from business articles/cases, provide its source(title, author, name of the journal, date published).- Briefly introduce the company background (e.g., name, products, business size,location, internal/external interesting facts, etc).
3. Problem Description- Describe the operational problem clearly and specifically.- You should focus on a single OPERATIONAL problem, although youcan introduce several other issues for informational purposes. Generalmanagement problems are not acceptable.- The problem may involve either operational decision-making or processimprovement.- This section must include a problem statement starting with, e.g., “This paperconsiders the problem of determining …”, “The main problem of the firm is howto …”, etc, either in the beginning or at the end of the section.
4. OM concepts/tools that can be applied- Describe what specific OM concepts/tools can be applied to the problem andwhy they are appropriate to the problem. This section should make it clear thatyou understand the concepts/tools you are about to use.
5. Application of OM concepts/tools- Choose an OM concept/tool or a set of OM concepts/tools among the onesprovided in section 4 and apply it to propose a solution to the problem.- In this section you “must show your calculations”, which means that you mustuse real or estimated/simulated data in solving the problem or analyzing theprocess. It is NOT acceptable to provide only general descriptions of how theconcepts/tools can be applied.
6. Analysis of expected results- Analyze the expected results of the proposed solution.- You should compare between best and worst scenarios after theimplementation of the proposed solution and justify the proposed solutionclearly.- The expected results may include cost/revenue impact and/or improvement ofoperational performance such as throughput time, throughput rate, andinventory. You must be specific to receive full credit.
7. ConclusionThe meaning of an operational problem will become clearer as you study this course. An operational problem may involve process design andimprovement, supply chain management, capacity planning, inventory management,quality management, project management, production planning and control, forecasting,facility location and layout, supplier management, purchasing, distribution, etc.You are strongly encouraged to find a problem from your own work, so that you mayapply to your work the concepts/tools that you learned from this course. If you choose tofind a problem from business articles/cases, you can find one from anyjournals/newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek,Forbes, Harvard Business Review, and so on. Or you can surf the Internet to find aninteresting article/case.The OM concepts/tools that can be applied to your problem may include processflowchart, theory of constraints, decisions trees, inventory models, six-sigma tools,critical path method, MRP, scheduling, lean manufacturing, Kanban production controlmethod, forecasting methods, systematic layout planning, assembly line balancing,factor rating system, centroid method, learning curves, simulation, waiting line models,work measurement techniques, group technology, mass customization, etc.
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