identify and define an OM (Operations Management) problem, analyze the problem, and present the results in a written form.
When you analyze the problem, use of any software such as Excel is strongly recommended.
A. Identification of an OM Problem
You should find an interesting OM problem from the real business world. The problem may involve either operational decision-making (e.g., determining inventory level) or process design/improvement (e.g., reducing delivery leadtime).
You can find a problem from your own work or from any business article or case. You are allowed to use a case provided in the textbook, but if you use a case from the textbook, you may have some disadvantage in grade.
The meaning of an OM problem will become clearer as you study in this course. But, an OM problem may involve process design and improvement, capacity planning, inventory management, quality management, forecasting, etc.
B. Analysis of the Problem
You should analyze the problem by applying some of the specific OM concepts or tools that you learned from this course. It is important to apply the concepts/tools correctly.
If your problem is a decision-making problem, analysis of the problem may involve analyzing the decision variables and the important parameters and facts that are related with the decision-making, and solving the problem using actual data. If actual data are not available, you should create realistic hypothetical data to show how the tools/concepts could be applied.
If your problem is a process improvement problem, analysis of the problem may involve describing the process in details using actual information, analyzing what to improve and how to improve, and suggesting recommendations. If actual information is not available, you should create realistic hypothetical information.
In both cases, you may analyze the expected results of implementing your solution. For example, you can discuss the expected cost/revenue impact or the expected improvement of performance. If you have alternative solutions, you can compare them by discussing the pros and cons of each solution.
In analyzing the problem, you are strongly recommended to use any software such as Excel. If you do so, you will have some extra credit.
C. Presentation of the Results in a Written Form
You should write and submit a report. The report should be 8 – 10 pages in length with 1” margins on all sides, double-spacing, and 12 point font, excluding the cover and any appendices. The cover of the report should include title, names of team leader and members with their seat numbers, and date of completion.
The report must follow the outline below:
1. Executive summary (no more than one page)
– Summarize what is the problem, what OM concepts/tools have been used in analysis of the problem, and what are the expected results of the proposed solution.
2. Background information (no more than one page)
– The first sentence of this section must state whether the problem is from your own work or from a business article or case. If it is from a business article or case, you must provide its source (title, author, name of the book/journal/ newspaper, date published, and page number).
– Briefly introduce the company background (e.g., name, products, business size, location, internal/external interesting facts, etc).
3. Problem Description
– Describe the problem clearly and specifically.
– You should focus on a single problem, although you can introduce several other issues for informational purposes.
– This section must include a problem statement starting with, e.g., “This paper considers the problem of determining …,” “This paper considers the problem of how to improve …,” etc, either in the beginning or at the end of the section.
– See “A. Identification of an OM Problem” for more information.
4. Analysis of the Problem