The sole item of assessment for this module is a 4,000 word written piece, for 100% of the module mark. The assignment casts you as a consultant and you have been approached by Guardvark Ltd., a company that manufactures and sells security equipment. They are currently experiencing a number of problems, as detailed in the case study that follows.
Your submission will be a report that Guardvark have commissioned from you. In the report, you should aim to do two things:
- Make recommendations that will solve the company’s procurement and supply management problems, identifying policies that you think the company should adopt, and
- Outline a training programme for Guardvark staff, to improve their capabilities in procurement and supply management.
Note: the case study company is fictional. Thus, you can state reasonable assumptions as long as they don’t contradict any of the facts presented here in the case study.
Case Study: Guardvark Ltd.
Guardvark Ltd. was founded by brothers Paul and Hugh Bowman in 2002, to manufacture and sell specialist security equipment such as key boxes and secure cabinets of the kind installed in elevator control rooms, in factories and at the payment terminals in car parks. “If it absolutely has to have a key nobody can copy, and resist attack with a crowbar,” Paul says, “then people buy Guardvark, for peace of mind.”
Business has been good, and Guardvark have expanded steadily. Their aim was to offer “the gold standard in access control” and they have succeeded in this – but their British-made secure cabinets are very expensive. Since 2010, they have offered a second line in imported, more generic security equipment such as strong padlocks, secure office furniture, fireproof safes and CCTV systems. These less expensive items are marketed under the ‘Smartvark’ brand.
The business is based on Hedon Road, Hull, but by 2018 they had outgrown the original location. Additional manufacturing is now performed in a rented unit on the Swann Street unit factory estate and there is a small retail store on the Sutton Fields Industrial Estate where items in the Smartvark range can be viewed and bought.
Hugh Bowman had sole responsibility for procurement when the business was founded, but as it grew the job became more complex. With the addition of lower cost, faster-moving items under the Smartvark brand, Hugh took on two assistants, Janet Childs and Dave Shepard. Dave wasn’t directly involved in negotiations, but once agreements were in place with suppliers, Dave processed reorders very efficiently – with particular attention on the retail (Smartvark) side of the business. Janet was put in charge of supply management for the manufacturing side of the business, where she ensured that factory staff had all the materials they needed for production operations.
Hugh has recently had some serious health issues and has been forced to step away from the business – for at least six months and perhaps indefinitely. Paul Bowman, who has always concentrated on marketing and sales, considers this a crisis.
“We’ve let things run on an informal basis for far too long,” he says. “Hugh took care of almost everything related to purchasing and supply. He’s a workaholic and I’m sure he’s made himself ill. Now he has to leave this work to others and I don’t think he’s prepared Janet and Dave for this at all.”
Janet miscalculated the size of a recent order for heavy-duty hinges and the business is now drastically overstocked. She got free delivery and a discount by buying in bulk, but there is now a 3+ year stockpile of these parts. If she keeps ordering items in huge quantities it could affect the liquidity of the business. Dave recently went into a negotiation for a new keypad locking mechanism, got flustered and agreed to a very poor deal.
Additionally, a reorder for padlocks from an overseas supplier was received recently and they are all counterfeit: significantly inferior to anything that could be sold under the Smartvark brand. Dave speculates that this might be because Hugh wasn’t around to ensure that the supplier stayed honest. This is a concern since there will be a lot more items to buy in the months ahead.
Paul has a number of concerns:
- It’s clear that there is a need to set up a larger procurement team, but what would be appropriate, in terms of roles and responsibilities?
- How should the expanded procurement team interface with the rest of the business?
- What complexities have been introduced now that the company is operating across three sites, and can anything be done to minimise anticipated problems?
- How can the costs associated with inventory for both Guardvark and Smartvark products be minimised?
- What principles should be established as company policy and included in the training of new staff?
- How can the company ensure that opportunities for fraud in this area of the business are minimised, without oversight from Hugh?
In addition to the case study itself there will be an opportunity for Q&A with your lecturer when the assignment is formally set. At that time, you can ask questions that you feel will help you in the preparation of your report. You can ask additional questions via the discussion board in the Virtual Learning Environment.
Advice on the preparation of a satisfactory assignment
A good report will be well-structured and suitably formatted, conveying the professionalism that the client would be looking for from a consultant. It is recommended that your report will include sections addressing the following:
• A brief introduction outlining the purpose of the report
• Review of the main problems
• Discussions, bringing in additional information such as relevant theory
• Detailed recommendations on
o Procurement, and
o Supply management
• A set of references in the Harvard style, including sources such as peer-reviewed academic articles, academic texts, news articles, industry case studies, and reputable web resources.
• An appendix containing set of slides (minimum 10) to be used to demonstrate that your consultancy firm is ideally suited to train the client’s procurement staff.
Your submission should be 4,000 words in length, double-spaced and in Arial 12 point font or similar. In addition to the recommended sections outlined above, your document should begin with a title page and table of contents.
Please note that the title page, table of contents, list of references and appendix with presentation slides do not count towards the word count for the document.
Illustrations and tables should be placed within the main paper, suitably labelled and numbered.
Addressing Module Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3 & 4:
This assignment tests whether you have achieved the following, from the learning outcomes of the module:
LO1 Demonstrate an understanding of the coordinated and collaborative procurement and supply management processes and to discuss the current related challenges.
LO2 Compare, contrast and criticise different approaches to the solution of practical real-life procurement and supply planning problems, relying on the established theory in the discipline and on exemplary industrial case studies.
LO3 Select and apply appropriate methods and tools to set-up and develop efficient and effective procurement processes in the supply chain and to plan optimal supply management.
LO4 Construct and deliver effective reporting through effective reporting and reflection to demonstrate an understanding of current procurement and supply chain operations challenges.
Grading Descriptors guidance
MLOs 1, 2, 3 & 4 Weighting
Opening section establishing the purpose of the report. Also the standard of the document in terms of appearance and professionalism. 10/100
Discussion of problem(s) affecting procurement and supply management at the case study organisation. 15/100
Evaluation of the problems identified in the context of contemporary supply chain and operations management theories. Appropriate development of arguments in an academic style. Evidence of additional sources researched and incorporated, and use of appropriate referencing style. 30/100
Discussion of solutions attempted within the selected organisation, including justification, implementation and outcome. Also conclusions to the case study. 20/100
Use of supporting evidence including Harvard style. 10/100
Presentation slides (minimum 10) setting out the training plan for procurement staff in the case study organisation. 15/100
Total 100 marks available
eSubmission is the approved method for your HUBS programme of study. You must hand in your assessed Assignment(s), for all modules that you are taking during the Academic Year using the Canvas system. Submission of a printed copy is NOT allowed. You should submit via the Assignments menu item on the relevant module Canvas site.
Assignments must be submitted by the date and time stipulated. Deadlines will be strictly adhered to. Students submitting late, and who do not have mitigating circumstances approved by the Mitigating Circumstances Panel, will be subject to penalties for late submission as specified by the University.
Learning Outcomes, assessment criteria and grading descriptors
90+ A+ First Outstanding in all respects Indicative
Mark subject to Module Board Agreement & before any penalty applied.
This assignment gives you 40% of your overall module grade.
80-90 A First Outstanding in most respects
70-79 A- First Outstanding in some/one major respect
60-69 B 2:i Many very good features
50-59 C 2:ii Average; satisfactory evidence of overall grasp
40-49 D Third Adequate evidence of understanding
35-39 E Com Fail Weak in some/one major area
0-34 F Fail Weak in many/most areas
A+ A A- B C D E F
LO1: Demonstrate an understanding of the coordinated and collaborative procurement and supply management processes and to discuss the current related challenges.
Analysis of present-day procurement problems in the case study organisation.
Analysis of present-day supply management problems in the case study organisation.
LO2: Compare, contrast and criticise different approaches to the solution of practical real-life procurement and supply planning problems, relying on the established theory in the discipline and on exemplary industrial case studies.
Use made of theory as introduced during the module.
Evidence of wider reading on related topics
LO3: Select and apply appropriate methods and tools to set-up and develop efficient and effective procurement processes in the supply chain and to plan optimal supply management.
Use made of methods and tools introduced during the module.
Ability to reconcile the competing requirements of procurement and supply management issues.
LO4: Construct and deliver effective reporting and reflection to demonstrate an understanding of current procurement and supply chain operations challenges.
Report structure, style and tone – a consultants’ report made to the management of the case study organisation.
Clarity with regard to the changes that are recommended.
Appropriate recommendations made.
Technical and academic writing standards
Organisation, structure and standard of presentation of the work.
Use of correct and appropriate referencing standards.
Quality and range of relevant literature sources for the issues and arguments presented.
Standard of formal written communication and use of disciplinary terminology.
(When appropriate) tables, figures and latest data correctly presented, including appropriate use of appendices.