(Solution) - Operations and supply management

OSM Coursework Assessment


Hand in opens: 13 November 2018, closes at 2pm promptly 14 days later. 


Report format for the assignment brief is required.


Your report should be no more than 2000 words in length and no less than 1800 words.


Assignment task:


1 Present a review of academic literature to that considers the various approaches operations may take for managing materials. This review needs to focus specifically on methods presented in this module. 




2 Undertake primary field research on a named operation to identify the various methods of sourcing and managing materials that they use. Be aware that different approaches may be used for different classes of materials.




3  From your findings does the operation benefit from efficiency, effectiveness and economy in their operational approaches identified above?




The primary research should be collected from the operation not customers, the focus for this assignment is internal.


All assignments are automatically subjected to a plagiarism program check; this includes all previously submitted assignments throughout UWE.


Part 1.


For the first element, literature review to address the various approaches operations may take when managing materials/inventory. Please note this is not a critical review, the intent is for students to consider the various approaches/operational methods covered in this module and offer up the benefits and drawbacks in their assessment. This element needs to be fully referenced from academic source.


For this element we are concerned with students being able to locate the topic from an applied perspective that is; what choices do operations have when they decide how to manage their materials, including purchasing and supply chain issues. 


The literature reviewed should consider material management in the first instance from an academic perspective, what is it, what form, supplier selection, frequency needs, etc. Then students should consider how the above applies to their chosen research operation sector, e.g. retail; leisure; manufacturing etc. It is therefore essential that alongside academic material you do not ignore trade journals, newspapers and magazines these can be a valuable resource in identifying trends and regulatory requirements In the UK consideration may be needed of the potential consequences of the Brexit deal which could have a profound impact on the existing supply policy for some operations. Adopting this position will assist in two ways: 


1 limiting the literature search and 


2 enable your primary research to link to specific theory – make connections.


If your literature review is too broad and general it could make your task of linking theory to your ‘real world’ example more challenging, for example if you concentrate on just in time, what insight is added if you research a hairdressing salon? 


References required for all cited sources use UWE referencing style.


Part 2.


Once the above has been fully explored, conduct your field research. How does the focus operation manage its materials?


From your primary research, present your findings through the lens of theory and models from this module. The analysis should be supported by evidence. This requires you to provide substantial and substantiated references from both academic sources AND your primary research to inform the reader how the focus operation engage in the activity of materials management. 


For example you need to enquire about:


1 What are the primary materials sourcing methods? 


2 Why have they adopted the above methods? 


3 Does the present method/s ensure consistency of supply? 


4 Do they ever suffer from stock shortages?


5 Do they have a stock of obsolete items? 


Owner’s, manager’s opinion is required please note this is not a template for your research, but directional advice.


Part 3.


From your findings this section gives the opportunity to assess whether the focus operation is benefiting from efficiency, effectiveness and economy - do the methods adopted best fit the desired outcomes, performance objectives and strategy?


Present your findings in report format, applying appropriate sub-headings (divisions) within your analysis.




Reports require a particular format, sub-headed sections that lead the reader through the salient elements presented with a concise written style. It is preferable that students adopt the third person as this reads in a more professional manner (a key transferable skill which would be expected in the work place) than first person. Remember you are writing a factual document intended to inform the reader of your findings; structure and readability are essential. 


The assignment task is in three parts but linked by the fundamental activity of materials management/inventory the aim is for you link the theory to the reality of your research operation and from these findings assess the materials management methods in place, are the objectives of effectiveness, efficiency and economy being met to deliver the desired performance./strategic objectives? 


Your report should follow traditional format – go to the library web pages for guidance including what a report should contain, from sub heading to referencing style. Please ensure you know how to prepare a report (look at and read existing reports for tips) this is a primary skill and transferable to the work place.


You must gain access to an operation, primary research requires actual contact with the organisation, you must not use material prepared for other purposes, e.g. web pages, case studies and articles etc., these are examples of secondary research and will not be acceptable to pass this assignment.


Select your operation based on the following:


1 Access – will they talk to you?


2 Access – will they talk to you?


3 Access – will they talk to you?


You need to construct a research instrument, this will be using your judgement to select the most appropriate tool to gather the information required. There are many texts available on research methods; it is advisable to read about methods to assist in your decision.


A conclusion is required. 


Appendices may be provided, but these should be supporting information only, e.g. raw data from your primary research.




Word Limit: Your report should be no more than 2000 words in length, no less than 1800. State a word count on the title page of your report. If you vary from the required word length, you may be penalized by a loss of marks as the word limit will be strictly adhered too, markers will stop reading and therefore awarding marks at exactly 2000 words. You are advised to not go over this upper limit as your efforts will not be rewarded.


You may wish to make use of diagrammatic representation as this can save a lot of words.


Appendices are accepted where the additional information offered is produced by you or is of direct relevance. Please do NOT include items such as company reports, booklets etc. These will be ignored. The Contents Page, the reference list at the end of the report and appendices should not be included in the final word count. However tables, diagrams, figures and references mentioned in the body of the report ARE included in the final word count. E.g. “Barnes (2018) stated that….” counts as 4 words.


Please note also that correct referencing of source material which you use in assessments is not just good practice, but also is a protection against allegations of the unfair practice or plagiarism. Students are often expected to read widely in texts or journals in preparation for assessments, but not to create a piece of work which is composed significantly of others’ words (even if referenced). 


Your ability to think, reflect, analyse, and synthesise is being assessed, not just your ability to select sources. The approved way of referencing is the ‘UWE Harvard Referencing System.’ Information about referencing is available from the Faculty Librarian, see useful web pages above.


Plagiarism, collusion, and non-compliance with assessment regulations are offences under University regulations and where suspected, will be investigated under official procedures. Penalties vary depending on the severity of the offence but can include expulsion from the University.


University regulations permit for a Viva to be requested with a specific student. A Viva is a meeting with an academic or academics where the student is given the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the topic being assessed. 


Internal policy on permitted timeframe for returning marked assignments - extract from the 15/16 regulations and procedures:


F5.3 The period for providing feedback will not normally exceed 20 working days (excluding University closure days) following the deadline for submission of the assessment concerned. This period may be shorter or longer for some forms of assessment. Where the period is greater than 20 working days, students will be informed of the deadline and the rationale for the extension.


Most of you will not have undertaken primary (field) research in the past, it can therefore be a daunting prospect and at the end of seminar 2 you should have more clarity of thought as to how to gain the information required to address the assignment brief.


Report writing may be new to you, this is a transferable skill; it is important that you embrace the conventions of report writing, structure, clarity and supported factual analysis.


Some Handy Tips:


· Think carefully about the organization you are going to write about. Can you actually get the information you need? 


· How will you do it? Plan your reading strategy and primary research collection method.


· When completing your report, justify your answers using appropriate references – use journal papers as well as text books. 


· There are two equally weighted parts to the assignment, give them equal consideration.


· Use the Harvard referencing system. 


· Remember the reader needs to know how you know – cite all sources.


· Write clearly; try not to use ‘jargon’. 


· Take care, grammar and spelling – proof read your report, do not rely on spell check!


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