Operations Management

Re: Individual Case Assignment Instructions
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 problem
 Apply an appropriate OM concept/tool or a set of appropriate OM concepts/tools
to propose a solution to the problem
 Analyze the expected results that may be obtained when the solution is
implemented. This section should also include a comparison between best and
worst 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 should
include title, class code and name, section number, your full name, and date of
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 have
been applied to the problem, and what are the expected results of the proposed
2. Background information
– Clearly state whether the operational problem is from your own work or from
business 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 you
can introduce several other issues for informational purposes. General
management problems are not acceptable.
– The problem may involve either operational decision-making or process
improvement.- This section must include a problem statement starting with, e.g., “This paper
considers the problem of determining …”, “The main problem of the firm is how
to …”, 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 and
why they are appropriate to the problem. This section should make it clear that
you 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 ones
provided 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 must
use real or estimated/simulated data in solving the problem or analyzing the
process. It is NOT acceptable to provide only general descriptions of how the
concepts/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 the
implementation of the proposed solution and justify the proposed solution
– The expected results may include cost/revenue impact and/or improvement of
operational performance such as throughput time, throughput rate, and
inventory. You must be specific to receive full credit.
7. Conclusion
The meaning of an operational problem will become clearer as you study this course
(see the textbook contents). An operational problem may involve process design and
improvement, 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 may
apply to your work the concepts/tools that you learned from this course. If you choose to
find a problem from business articles/cases, you can find one from any
journals/newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek,
Forbes, Harvard Business Review, and so on. Or you can surf the Internet to find an
interesting article/case.
The OM concepts/tools that can be applied to your problem may include process
flowchart, theory of constraints, decisions trees, inventory models, six-sigma tools,
critical path method, MRP, scheduling, lean manufacturing, Kanban production control
method, 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.CHECK LIST OF STUDENT UNDERSTANDING OF THE INSTRUCTION
In order to ensure students understand the requirements of this individual case
assignment, please complete the following check list after you have perused the
instructions above.
( ) I understand section 1
( ) I understand section 2
( ) I understand section 3
( ) I understand section 4
( ) I understand section 5
( ) I understand section 6
( ) I understand section 7
If you fail to understand the expectations of each section, please contact your instructor
for explanations.
Best regards,
Jie YangAppendix. Expectations for the individual case assignment
Below Expectations Meets Expectations Exceeds Expectations
1. Identification of
Lack of understanding
about what problems are
faced by operations
managers. Problem
description may be vague.
Accurately identifies an
operational problem that
is faced by operations
managers but may omit
issues of minor
Accurately identifies an
operational problem that
is faced by operations
managers and describes
the problems clearly and
2. Identification of
appropriate OM
Fails to identify
appropriate OM
concepts/tools that can be
applied to the identified
problem or selects
inappropriate OM
Identifies appropriate OM
concepts/tools that can
be applied to the
identified problem.
Identifies a novel
approach that combines
multiple OM
concepts/tools that can
be applied to the
identified problem.
3. Application of
OM concepts/tools
Inappropriately applies the
selected OM
concepts/tools to the
identified problem.
Appropriately applies the
selected OM
concept/tools to the
identified problem
although the application
may lack some depth.
Applies the selected OM
concepts/tools expertly in
detail and in depth to the
identified problem.
4. Analysis of
expected results
Superficial or absence of
analysis. May analyze
results that are not directly
related to the solution.
Provides some analysis
of results related to the
solution. May omit
discussion of some
Provides in-dept analysis
of all significant results
related to the solution.