Operations Management Assessment

Operations Management Assessment: 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 completion.

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 solution.

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 clearly.

– 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.

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