Team Term Paper
The project report should be written in a formal business format. You should send a copy to the manager you interviewed.
General guidelines for the report
1. Use several headings and subheadings; leave two lines between sections
2. Write short sentences and paragraphs
3. Include diagrams, tables, and photographs, and place them next to the paragraph where
they are first mentioned
4. Caption all tables and figures
5. Include company documentation and other materials in one or more appendices
Structure of the report (should be followed)
1. Title page, dated, with group members
3. Table of contents
4. Introduction (no more than 2 pages)
Describe the purpose of the report.
Analyze the company, the industry, and the operations observed
Provide brief information about the company visited (size, number of locations,
product lines, number of employees and customers, critical processes, etc.).
A conceptual flow chart of the main operations of the firm is recommended.
5. Critical competitive capabilities and priorities of the operations function (no more than 1 page).
6. Analysis of a specific process or function of your choice (4-7 pages).
This section is the main part of the paper. Analyze one or more operations management tasks such as quality, inventory, planning and scheduling, lean systems or sustainability. Describe data gathered from the process, reports produced for decision- making, and policies and procedures that the company uses. Use the tools you learned in the topics covered in class to document the process, analyze processes, examine the inventory models, scheduling methods. Are they following sustainability and lean systems principles? Identify problems in the areas you study.
7. Recommendations (2-4 pages).
This section of the paper is critical. It should include recommendations for the firm to correct any problems, increase productivity, improve quality, add capabilities or any combination of the above. Recommend specific solutions or propose clear paths for improvement. These must relate to operations management NOT marketing or any other discipline.
Provide a summary and highlight what you have learned from the company visit and the people you interviewed.
Any appendices must be referenced in the body of the report
Note that you may have to cover the name of the company in some of the reports or forms, or disguise some of the figures
Team Term Paper Points: 125 points Final Paper Due: Unit 8
Students will form project research teams and conduct a group research project on a company. Your team will interview the operations manager of your selected company to find out what that firm does, how it does it, and how it could do it even better. A small to medium-sized firm is preferable, especially if one of you works there. You will observe a segment or a particular function of the company’s operations (for instance, how they manage quality or inventory or employee scheduling or sustainability) and carry out in-depth study and analysis. A group report will then be prepared and finished and a PowerPoint presentation (with video or audio of team members speaking) on your project will be presented to all of us in class.
The main purpose of your project is to identify ways the firm has used to improve its competitive capabilities (cost, flexibility, time and quality) and to recommend specific courses of action that will lead to further productivity and quality improvements.
The project aims to assist students to apply learned operations concepts, skills, and strategies to real-life situations by studying the operational practice of a real-world company. By focusing on an interesting company and business process, students are expected add to educational experience and your learning will be more effective and meaningful.
This project will take much time and effort and will require careful coordination. To assure that all group members work smoothly and avoid the “free-rider” problem, I suggest that you divide the project into tasks, assign direct responsibility to individual members, and establish deadlines for each part of the project (e.g., contacting firm, visit and interview, report ‘writing, preparing the presentation slides, etc.). You should use a Gantt chart to do this.
Suggestions for your project
Clear agenda: First, you must have a very clear agenda of when your group members will be able to work and meet. You should prepare a calendar of activities as soon as possible. A project calendar starts from the end, that is, from the date of the group’s presentation, back to the preparation of slides, back to report writing, and back to all the preceding necessary activities.
Project topic selection: Second, a group does generally best when the topic or area selected is interesting to its members. Any operations management topic covered in the textbook is appropriate. You should invest some time finding an interesting and appropriate topic.
You should focus on a particular issue for which you can gather sufficient information, stay with it, and make it an interesting case for the rest of the class. Some aspects to analyze include:
process strategy and analysis
quality control and quality assurance programs
sustainability and reverse logistics
operations planning and scheduling
Company selection: Third, you must be practical in selecting a firm. A small to medium-sized firm is preferable. Generally, it is more interesting when the group chooses a firm about which the class knows very little (i. e., stay away from McDonald’s or the bagel stores). However, an important criterion is to have quick access to the company and its managers.