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Operation management

Order Description
1) Think of a business or voluntary sector goal with some international element that you would like to achieve that:
• makes a profit, or
• breaks even, or
• stays within a budget?(5 marks)

• Getting humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees
• Selling ice-creams to foreign tourists at seaside resorts
• Organising events (with food, drink, music, etc.) abroad for at least 50 people in hired accommodation
• Importing rugs from Turkey to UK for sale to retailers
• Manufacturing a new product with some processes abroad
• etc.)

This task requires you to come up with an idea. The number of marks awarded out of 5 will depend on the quality of the idea – originality, repeatability, profitability, consumer benefit.

As long as you succeed in communicating your idea, marks can be awarded.
a) Express your goal in less than 100 words??(5 marks)

In order to make any business idea work, it will be necessary to persuade others to cooperate in some way, whether by enterprise partnership, product purchase, or anything in between. Communicating your business idea requires thought to determine exactly what the idea is, so that others will want to cooperate.

So often, I have seen ideas fail because the person with the idea has not succeeded in communicating it to those who needed to be persuaded. I reckon that the average listener can take around 100 words before switching off to what is being said. Imagine yourself explaining to a potential investor exactly what your business idea is, in such as way that they will want to invest.
3) Create a diagram or diagrams that fit on a maximum of two A4 sheets to show:

a) the sequence of operations necessary to achieve your goal (stated above) and in particular whether they will be carried out in series or in parallel, and? (15 marks)

Communicating an idea is the first hurdle to overcome. Once you manage to convince another person that your idea is worth taking seriously, then your next challenge is to convince that person that you have taken into account all the costs involved in importing or manufacturing the product or delivering the service.

If you have calculated all the costs (and therefore possible profit margins), then you will have gone through every step of your business’s processes and noted any costs associated with it.

Here, you are not asked to estimate any costs, but you are asked to show all the steps you will have to go through.

Furthermore, it is important to do this in some detail. A diagram such as the one below will not score many marks. It lacks detail.

Buy and install machinery
Buy premises
Hire staff

Distribute to market
Take money
Start production

It would also make a lot more sense for the first three operations above to be carried out at the same time. The diagram should show this.

In all likelihood, a good diagram will be difficult to fit on one A4.
b) when and where they will be carried out.?(5 marks)

You need to give some indication of the timescales involved in your plans. If it will take a long time for materials to be procured (e.g. for artworks to be purchased), then the low volume of business might make its profitability over time less attractive and not easily repeatable.

For assessment of the practicality of your idea as illustrated, you need to show where operations will be carried out. Which country will each operation be performed in? In one place or more than one place? How far apart?

If you are in doubt about whether to include an operation, ask yourself if any costs are associated with it. If they are it needs to be included. If not, then you should be asking yourself, “Is it really necessary to show this operation?”
c) Include any necessary explanation in no more than 150 words ? (10 marks)
(Note: You will get better marks if your diagram has been drawn using computer software, such as Microsoft Office Word or Visio.

If you are unable to do this, an acceptable alternative (which would score lower marks than a computer diagram) would be to draw the diagram, take a photo of it using a digital camera, and upload the photo to your Word file.)
It is probable that your diagram cannot communicate the whole idea. You will therefore need some words to clarify.

In particular, while your idea might be a good one-off, explanation may be needed to communicate how it can be profitably repeated.
4) Organisational structures (e.g. wheel, functional hierarchical structure, business unit structure or, matrix structure) determine how the business functions (Marketing, Production, Human Resourcing, etc.) will be managed.

a) Explain what organisational structure you would adopt for your venture? ?(4 marks)
b) Explain your reasons for your choice of structure?(6 marks)

This task requires you to think how your authority would reach everyone in the organisation. How will you organise people? Who will have authority over whom? Your diagram is unlikely to match the standard types exactly.

It is of course possible that you will have a partner, who will be able to take any decision that you can, or that you are the type of boss that prefers to delegate decision-making power to others. This is fine and should be made clear in your explanation.

See the Week 2 lecture on Business Functions for organisational structures, their advantages and disadvantages. (Organisational structure is about how the business functions are arranged and carried out.)


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