Operations Management—Design of goods and services

TOPIC : Operations ManagementDesign of goods and services

Guideline for MGMT 306 Case Study General requirement

  1. Case study is an important approach to better understand operations management (OM). The purpose of this case study is to polish the students’ capability to analyze business phenomenon from the perspectives of OM.
  2. The students are encouraged to apply what they have learned in class (e.g., forecasting, international strategy, quality, location, production planning, and inventory) to the OM issues of the case company. The case company could be any company that the students know through their work, study, reading, or observation.
  3. The case study should be real, original, and informative.

Structure The case study report is expected to be three to five pages (single space) with at least following sections:

  1. Introduction: introduce the case company, especially when the case company is not a wellknown company.
  2. Problem analysis: discuss the major OM issue(s) you are interested in; connect them to the course materials; analyze the business phenomenon; present and validate your explanation/suggestion/solution.
  3. Conclusion: conclude the case study and summarize your findings.
  4. Reference: if you have any literature, citation or quotation.


The format of the case study report is subject to the students’ own discretion. The students are encouraged to include necessary graphics, tables, and figures in their reports.


Basic Requirements

  • Operations-relevant
  • Data sources are not restricted
    • Daily work
    • Observations
    • Newspaper and business magazines
  • 3-5 pages, single spaced, 1” margin
  • A hard- copy is due on March 10, 2016
  • In-depth and longitudinal investigation of a single individual, group, or event.
    • Descriptive: early investigation without full knowledge about its variables and outcomes
    • Explanatory: explore causation in order to find underlying principles

A Systematic Approach

  • Look at events
  • Collect data
  • Analyze information
  • Report the results
  • Sharpen understanding
  • Extend to more general business theories

Analyzing A Case Study

  • Snapshot of the company
  • External environment
  • Evaluate the SWOT analysis.
  • Analyze corporate-level strategy.
  • Make recommendations.

Snapshot of the company

  • History
  • Development
  • Growth

External Environment

  • Industry
  • Macro environments
  • Porter’s Five Forces Model: focuses on five forces that shape competition within an industry.
  1. The risk of new entry by potential competitors
  2. The degree of rivalry among established companies within an industry
  3. The bargaining power of buyers
  4. The bargaining power of suppliers
  5. The threat of substitute products

SWOT Analysis

Strengths                                              Weaknesses

Many product lines?                                          Obsolete, narrow product lines?

Broad market coverage?                 Rising manufacturing costs?

Manufacturing competence?                         Decline in R&D innovations?

Good marketing skills?                     Poor marketing skills?

Good materials management systems?      Poor materials management systems?

R&D skills and leadership?                              Loss of customer good will?

Information system competencies                Inadequate information systems?

Human resource competencies?   Inadequate human resources?

Brand name reputation?                  Loss of brand name capital?

Portfolio management skills?                         Growth without direction?

Cost of differentiation advantage?               Bad portfolio management?

New-venture management expertise?        Loss of corporate direction?

Appropriate management style?   Infighting among divisions?

Appropriate organizational structure?        Loss of corporate control?

Appropriate control systems?                        Inappropriate organizational structure and control                                                 systems?

Ability to manage strategic change?            High conflict and politics?

Well-developed corporate strategy?            Poor financial management?

Good financial management?                         Others?

SWOT Analysis

Opportunities                                    Threats

Expand core business(es)?                              Attacks on core business(es)?

Exploit new market segments?      Increases in domestic competition?

Widen new market segments?      Increases in foreign competition?

Extend cost or differentiation

advantage?                                          Change in consumer taste?

Diversify into new growth business?            Fall in barriers to entry?

Expand into foreign markets?         Rise in new or substitute products?

Apply R&D skills in new areas?      Increase in industry rivalry?

Enter new related businesses?      New forms of industry competition?

Vertically integrate forward?                          Potential for takeover?

Vertically integrate backward?      Existence for corporate raiders?

Enlarge corporate portfolio?                           Increase in regional competition?

Overcome barriers to entry?                          Changes in demographic factors?

Reduce rivalry among competitors?             Changes in economic factors?

Make profitable new acquisitions?               Downturn in economy?

Apply brand name in new areas?   Rising labor costs?

Seek fast market growth?                               Slower market growth?

Others?                                                 Others?


  • Introduction: introduce the case company, especially when the case company is not a well-known company.
  • Problem analysis:
    • Discuss the major OM issue(s) you are interested in;
    • Connect them to the course materials;
    • Analyze the business phenomenon;
    • Present and validate your explanation/suggestion/solution.
  • Conclusion: conclude the case study and summarize your findings.
  • Reference: if you have any literature, citation or quotation, use any reference style you are familiar with.

Make Recommendations

  • Logic
  • Specific
  • Mutually consistent
  • Realistic


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