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Logistics and Operations Management

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Instructions: read the following information and write the report with the below features

The Logistics and Operations Management course primarily focuses on the theory that underlines the Operations Management process. The physical environment in which the Operations Manager works however does not constitute a one-dimensional static environment.

Each organisation is a dynamic organism that is directly affected by a wide variety of internal and external structures, practices and cultures. This picture is further complicated in that each department or function establishes its own sub-culture that functions within the greater culture of the entire organisation. This is the challenge of the Operations Manager.

The physical environment in which an organisation operates does not represent a business facet in a concise sentence in the format that you have become used to through the assignments. It requires a visual, verbal, intuitive assessment of all the different facets of a business relating to the interaction between different entities, i.e. clients vs. personnel, employee’s vs management, company policies vs. standard practice to name but a few.

The purpose of the Case Study is to provide you with the necessary exposure of the physical dynamics of an organisation. The theory gives you with the necessary steppingstones to start evaluating the dynamics of any company.

Use your newfound knowledge to identify and evaluate a business problem(s) that a specific organisation is experiencing. When identifying an organisation and business problem for the case study, it is important that the case study is sufficient in terms of scope and complexity of the business problem(s) identified and evaluated at a level of a honours degree.

The assignment must be in a report format, clearly stating the problem and objectives. The final part of your report, based on the identified and evaluated business problem(s), must entail a detailed summation of your conclusion(s) and recommendation(s) as a group.

Your report must include a signed letter from the senior management of the company, which states that they have reviewed your report and include any relevant comments regarding the report.

Case Study

Samuel has been the COO of WFL Weighing Scales for the last 12 years and is responsible for the manufacturing of approximately 64 different transportation and shipping industry weighing scales. The production areas are broken down into 13 set manufacturing areas. Five of these areas (Referred to as the Blue Floors or Blue 1, Blue 2, etc.) are dedicated for the manufacturing and assembling the large weighing scales earmarked for the shipping industry, which caters for weighing scale ranges AZ-01 to AZ-22.

The weighing scales for range KZ-01 to KZ-25 is located in a further 4 areas (Orange Floors), which is dedicated to smaller scales for the transportation industry. The remaining 17 weighing scales types, also broken down into 4 areas (Green Floors), are used in both the transportation and shipping industries.

The full production floor runs 5 days a week, for a 40-hour work week. Not all the floors are active for the full 40-hour work week. Blue 1 and Blue 3 operates Monday to Friday, while Blue 2, 4 and 5 operates Monday, Tuesday and Fridays.

Orange Floor has the same schedule while Green 1 and Green 2 operates Monday to Thursday, while Green 3 and 4 operates Wednesday to Friday.

The 13 production floors make up one huge rectangular building, covered with a single roof, with retractable steel doors that separates the Blue, Orange and Green floors. The building consists of a ground floor, where the production processes take place. On the one side, over the Blue floor, the first-floor acts as a catch-all for inventory, parts and stock. The other side is home to Hubert and his team.

The position of CFO is filled by Levy who joined WFL 15 years ago. He runs a very tight ship and expects everybody to be conscious of cost, how to contain it and to optimise returns. Levy believes in real-time control of his creditor and debtor age analysis, since WFL can do nothing if they do not have the necessary financial resources backing their objectives.

Jenifer is the Head of R&D, and is responsible for the design of all the WFL weighing scale products. Like Hubert, she joined WFL when it started, when she was headhunted from a competitor by Patrick Smith the creator of WFL.

Sifiso and his team are tasked with the marketing and sale of WFL’s various weighing scales. Their target market is focussed on local demand as well as international demand. Sifiso’s local team is headed by Melissa, with Aalen overseeing their international markets.

The installation of and the operator training of the WFL weighing scales is done by Mogerikwa and her team. Mogerikwa is the youngest member of the management team, having joined WFL 6 years ago. Hubert joined WFL 19 years ago, when the company just started out. He is responsible for having an in-depth understanding of each component that makes up a specific weighing scale. That is to say Hubert is able to look at a WFL weighing scale and break it down into its finite parts, every bolt, nut, circuit, load cell transducer, conductor or wire, etc., and knows what each part does and what happens when it fails.

Hubert has two divisions reporting back to him, the first is responsible for quality compliance during the design and manufacturing process and the second is responsible for doing the maintenance for all WFL clients and where necessary fix weighing scales that are damaged through the course of operations.

Over the last 12 months, Levy and Sifiso conducted their yearly performance measurement and has included an assessment of their performance within the weighing scales manufacturing and sales industry as a whole. The first of these options is their potential entry into other weighing scales markets. In this they specifically looked at designing and manufacturing weighing scales for nursing care facilities and veterinary clinics. The second growth consideration is the possibility of exporting the full or part of the current weighing scale ranges. A number of their large international clients have always indicated that they wish that WFL would export. In some instances, clients have purchased the weighing scales they needed and then exported them to their own sites.

Depending on the weighing scale type, the client would then take ownership of their own installation, training and maintenance, with remote support provided by WFL. This is, however, not an ideal situation. The pressure to export directly and provide hands-on installation, training and maintenance was getting stronger from their existing clients. Over the last 18 months their sales and marketing department has also seen a steady increase in the number of queries from potential international clients to export their WFL weighing scales. The requests from potential international clients are not in line with the current demand levels from their local clients. The number of requests, however indicate that they have the potential to grow their international client market

Before Jenifer could start developing their design processes for nursing home and veterinary care weighing scales, she had to form a clear understanding of the new ‘entity’ they had to weigh, the circumstances and the environment in which the weighing is to take place. Jenifer, Samuel, Mogerikwa, Hubert, Levy and Sifiso visited 31 nursing homes, both private institutions and government funded institutes and 31 veterinary practices specialising in small and big animal care. During these visits they looked at the basic facilities, had discussion with doctors (both for human and animal patients), care givers and support staff to assess the basic care that is given as well as the specific weighing needs that each facility has.

Excited about opening up new markets Sifiso held a meeting with Levy, Samuel, Hubert, Mogerikwa to discuss the potential of exporting their weighing scales directly or even setting up a manufacturing plant in Europe. Mogerikwa stated that they do not have the capacity to constantly deploy staff to conduct the international installation and training. It is fine on an ad hoc basis, which is currently being done for their blue-chip local clients, but as a standard it would not work. This would be way to costly and they would be faced with having to employ staff that might be idle when there are no international clients. Sifiso countered by recommending that they outsource the international installation and training functions. Mogerikwa and Hubert immediate expressed their unhappiness to accept this as an option stating “we can’t hand over our reputation for quality to outsiders”.

While Mogerikwa, Hubert and Sifiso was locked into the installation and training concern, Samuel and Levy looked over the projected sales, based on received queries, Sifiso had compiled. They knew that the next point-of-debate from Sifiso would be to push for a factory in Europe or at the very least a warehouse with the full range of weighing scales. The primary supporting factor would be the ability to supply clients demand immediately. Done reading the stats and motivations, Samuel looked at Levy and said “neither option of a factory or finished product warehouse is a viable option, we can however export directly to clients” at which stage Levy stated “I agree, maybe later but not now”.

Based on the information provided in the case study answer the following questions:

Carefully consider the information in the case study and discuss the reasons which would support Samuel and Levy’s opinion that setting up a factory is not a viable option, but the option to export directly to clients is. (5)

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