MIS713 Digital Transformation of Supply Chains

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Description

This is an individual assessment. For the assessment, you will take the role of a consultant working for ConsultantCo. ConsultantCo is a company that provides consulting services in the field of supply chain management and digital transformation. ConsultanceCo assists clients in harnessing the potential of digital solutions to optimize their supply chain processes, improve decision-making, and gain a competitive edge in the market. The assessment involves you (as a consultant in ConsultantCo) applying digital transformation and supply chain management (SCM) knowledge (GLO1 Discipline-specific knowledge) to a company(client):

  • reviewing a specified subset of the company’s supply chain practices (GLO5 Problem Solving);
  • evaluating a specified type of problem with the SCM practices and evaluating an associated digital transformation solution (GLO5 Problem Solving); and
  • evaluating the social and/or environmental responsibility with the SCM practices and the digital transformation solution (GLO8 Global Citizenship);
  • building capacity to seek, interpret accurately and act upon feedback to improve problem solving skills (GLO5 Problem Solving).

You will source a client for ConsultantCo – either a unique company from a specified list provided that you will research (option 1) or a real company you source and interview a manager/staff (option 2). You will then prepare a report to be evaluated by a senior consultant (i.e. a Deakin academic) of ConsultantCo. This is similar to real consultancies where consultants’ work is evaluated by senior consultants.

The report is therefore not for the client. The report instead must meet the requirements expected by ConsultantCo. After you submit the assignment for evaluation (marking) by a senior consultant (Deakin academic), you can create a version of the report that meets the client’s needs if desired (Option 2).

The two parts of this single individual assignment are as follows:

  • Part A – a Case Study Report comprising a text word limit of 2,500 addressing the requirements in Table 1 below, plus at least one (1) complex diagram but more likely multiple smaller diagrams to aid The report will detail the client’s current supply chain activities, and evaluate a digital transformation solution (GLO1 Discipline-specific knowledge, GLO5 Problem Solving) and related social/environmental responsibility aspects (GLO8 Global Citizenship). The limit of 2,500 words in total for Part A is very strict and cannot be exceeded by even one (1) word. You can decide how to split these words between the Part A sections outlined in Table 1, which gives an optional guide.
  • Part B – a Feedback Reflection Report (text word limit of 500, no diagrams) is a critique of the effectiveness of how you sought and utilised feedback in the seminars and CloudDeakin discussion folders regarding your understanding of the Part A requirements to produce Part A. Effective use of feedback, and reflecting on your use, is a critical part of being an effective problem solver (GLO5).

Specific Requirements

Part A – Recording a company choice (Option 1) / selecting a company (Option 2)

There are two options for selecting a company on which do write the Part A Case Study Report.

Option 1 involves selecting a unique company from a list of large (often multinational) companies not selected by another student, which must only be selected from the list found under the Content tab, Assessment Resources, then Assessment 1, then Option 1 Company Selection Tool in the MIS713 CloudDeakin unit site. Instructions/steps on how to record your choice can be found under there. Only students who record a unique company selection from the list using the Option 1 instructions can use that company. You will then research that company and its industry to meet the ConsultantCo requirements below. You can change the company (up to the end of Week 3), but from the list provided and only if the new company has not already been recorded by another student.

Option 2 is for students who want to use a real company from any country which they do not own/manage and which no other student is using. Students cannot own/manage the company, because GLO5 Problem Solving requires interviewing a client including the owner/manager. It cannot be the same company as another student. It can be a company in which you work. Option 1 will have comparatively less workload because Option 2 can be time-consuming (e.g. many owner/managers might say no, interviewing takes time, etc). Option 2 is therefore at the student’s own risk (e.g. no extensions). The owner/manager must sign a confirmation form (see Content tab, then Assessment Resources, then Assessment 1) before interviews can start. A franchise (e.g. pizza store) and a store/department/division run by a large company with different owners/managers will be considered different companies. Ask the owner/manager if they have already signed the confirmation form for another student. If yes, you must select another company. If you have not finished the interviews/confirmation by Week 3, you must change to Option 1 because you will be a high risk not completing. Work on Option 1 in parallel as a back-up.

In the assignment requirements below, the selected company (either Option 1 or Option 2) will be referred to as “the client” and will be considered as the company you have sourced for ConsultantCo.

Part A – ConsultantCo requirements for the Case Study Report

Case setting Introduction:

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected supply chain management in unprecedented ways. With lockdowns and social distancing norms, consumer behaviour dramatically shifted to online purchasing, triggering a tremendous surge in e-commerce. This sudden rise put immense pressure on logistics and delivery networks, compelling companies to rethink, upscale, and often overhaul their delivery capabilities.

Additionally, supply chain disruptions became commonplace due to restrictions on movement and temporary closures of businesses. This led to irregular and unpredictable delivery timelines, pushing companies to build more robust and resilient delivery systems. Operational changes were needed to ensure the safety of workers and customers, leading to the adaptation of contactless deliveries and enhanced hygiene protocols.

The pandemic, in many ways, has served as a wake-up call, prompting businesses to reconsider their delivery methods. They are now seeking strategies that limit carbon emissions, reduce waste, and promote energy efficiency while ensuring resilient operations, thereby aiming for a balance between meeting increased demand and fostering environmental stewardship. Companies are therefore being compelled to design their delivery strategies with a focus on carbon neutrality, waste reduction, and

energy efficiency. The aim is to create supply chains that are not only resilient and efficient but also responsible and sustainable.

Technological advancements, particularly in AI, have been pivotal in addressing these pandemic- induced sustainability challenges within delivery operations. AI-enhanced analytics have been instrumental in optimizing delivery routes for lower fuel consumption, thus reducing carbon footprint, a need highlighted due to the e-commerce boom during the pandemic. Likewise, AI-driven demand forecasting has helped tackle the issue of overproduction and waste accentuated by fluctuating demand during COVID-19. The pandemic has also accelerated the development and adoption of autonomous electric delivery solutions, such as drones and vehicles, which can lead to zero-emission deliveries. Thus, amid the profound changes brought on by the pandemic, technology, especially AI, has emerged as a key enabler in aligning the deliver tasks of supply chains with sustainability goals while effectively managing the increased demand.

Part A – Case Study Report Instructions: 

Overview

Your case study report should address the requirements outlined in Table 1. The word limit is strictly 2,500 words – please note this cannot be exceeded by even a single word.

Client’s Current Supply Chain Activities

Begin by detailing the client's current supply chain activities, focusing on the deliver tasks. Discuss how these activities have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Make sure you address changes in consumer behaviour, supply chain disruptions, and modifications in delivery practices. Refer to your readings and class discussions for examples and further insights.

Digital Transformation Solution Evaluation

Evaluate a digital transformation solution that the client has adopted to adapt to these changes and include information about potential future changes to further mitigate the changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. You may wish to focus on advanced technologies such as AI, considering its potential in route optimization, demand forecasting, and other relevant areas. Explain how this solution could improve the client's delivery capabilities in the face of ongoing challenges.

Social/Environmental Responsibility Aspects

Discuss how the client's supply chain activities and the proposed digital transformation solution align with social and environmental responsibilities. Consider elements such as carbon emissions, waste reduction, and energy efficiency in your analysis. However, also focus on societal changes and challenges related to sustainable practices, minorities, inclusion, and diversity. Explain how the client could balance increased demand with sustainable practices.

Diagrams

Include at least one complex diagram or multiple smaller diagrams to aid readability. These should effectively illustrate concepts or processes discussed in the text. Diagrams are not included in the word count but make sure they are clear, relevant, and properly labelled.

Remember, your case study report should not only display your understanding of the discipline-specific knowledge (GLO1) but also your problem-solving skills (GLO5) and your awareness of global citizenship (GLO8).

Table 1 below summarises the structure and requirements for the Case Study Report. We provide this structure because the assignment is complex, and past students requested a structure that balances broad guidance (i.e., high-level headings) with flexibility (e.g., content adaptable for specific chosen organisations). This is similar to industry/consultancy practices that provide a “house-style” for reports (e.g., ConsultantCo’s).

The Case Study Report will present an analysis of the client’s deliver practices associated for a single product/service type (not a specific brand) of your choice that the client sells to its customers, and a related negative environmental impact (of your choice) that is relevant to and occurs in the client’s deliver practices.

Table 1 specifies the Case Study Report requirements, including scope. This means, for instance, some types of supply chain problems (e.g., source, make) cannot be explored. The scoping is necessary because in the past, where students selected their own businesses, experience has shown that most students prefer scoped requirements. It means feedback and answers to one student on the assignment can help all students. It is open in other areas to balance students wanting structure versus wanting flexibility.

The skills and knowledge that you (and the real client in the case of Option 2) gain from the doing the scoped assignment are applicable in other areas. For example, the solution evaluation relating to a specific problem type within a specified supply chain process can be applied to other client practices.

YError! Reference source not found.ou have full flexibility to decide how much to write for each section – the table only offers suggestions. The only word limit requirement for the assignment is that the text in Part A cannot exceed the total text word count by even one (1) word, including section headings. This is explained further in the Word count calculation section below and summarised in the rubric (see the end of this document).

The aim of the Case Study Report is to present an evaluation of the implications or viability of the client introducing the AI solution. The report will focus on potential negative implications of the AI solution so that ConsultantCo can determine early in the consultancy lifecycle whether to “qualify out” before developing a full-scale proposal for client. This approach is typically used, for example, by ERP consultants in industry who compete for a client’s business and develop ERP proposals for free for client consideration. A report that only presents benefits of the AI solution for the client will therefore not achieve ConsultantCo’s goal of determine whether it is worth devoting resources on a full-scale proposal.

You will write the report about the client for the senior consultant of ConsultantCo. For Option 2, if the owner/manager of the client is interested in your report ideas, they can get independent advice to make a

decision themselves and should not decide using the information in your report. This is to protect you and the client. Please provide the owner/manager with a copy of the report as a “thank you” for their time and help. You can tailor the report for the owner/manager as needed (e.g., removing parts only relevant for assessment). For Option 2, do not criticise the owner, company, etc in the version of the report you give them! Owners of small companies in particular often feel their company is part of their identity, so criticising the company is criticising them personally. Instead, write in a positive manner such as “An opportunity to enhance…”, especially for problems in the company which the owner has not told you about.

Part A – Text word count penalty and calculation

The “Part A text word count penalty” rubric criterion states that the text word count of the Part A Case Study Report must be less than or equal to the text word limit (not a single word more), as stated in the Assessment Requirements section. The 10% leeway on the word count in some units DOES NOT apply in this unit. Following the rubric, a penalty mark will be deducted from your final mark.

This strict requirement by ConsultantCo reflects industry requirements that, when you are asked to write a problem solving (or evaluation) report of ‘X’ words or ‘X’ pages, exceeding this requirement is typically not acceptable. An important GLO5 problem analysis skill, therefore, is convincing managers (and in this assignment, the senior consultants) your evaluation is thorough and complete within such restrictions. Further, a strict word limit ensures that you do not do more work than is required for the assessment.

The word count is determined by selecting everything from the Part A Introduction section heading through to the end of the Conclusion section in Table 1 above (e.g., excluding only the cover page and reference lists), and using MS Word’s word count feature (unchecking the “footnote” and “endnote” option). The text word limit includes everything (e.g., headings, text in tables, citations). Nothing can be scanned, and no images can be used, to reduce the word count, except Diagrams 1 in the requirements table. Note that the rubric specifies a word count penalty if anything other than Diagram 1 is scanned or is an image in Part A.

Diagram 1 (i.e. 1a, 1b, etc) can be image files (e.g. GIF, JPEG) so they are not included in the text word count. Software used to create diagrams (e.g. Powerpoint) typically have options to save each diagram (e.g. Powerpoint slide) as an image, then the image file can be copied into the report. Diagrams 1a, 1b, etc must have captions (e.g. “Figure 1a: title of the diagram”), which can be inside the image file so that it does not increase the word count.You can use a numbered citation approach so that citations do not contribute to the text word limit (see example), because there are no spaces between citation numbers and punctuation/words. The reference list is still formatted using the Harvard referencing style. This example is not relevant to assignment, but it shows how to use numbered citations, and synthesise (or combine evidence from) multiple sources.

Part A – No copying of any content, including client sources.

All aspects of the Part A Case Study Report should be written in your own words (e.g., sections, tables, Diagram 1, etc). This means that no content of any kind from any source can be copied into the report, including no copying from client sources (e.g., websites, reports, etc), no copying of diagrams and no quoting. The report asks for your evaluation of client background, tasks in Diagram 1, CSR problem, and new AI solution and its implications. This means that everything you write and draw for Part A must be entirely your own work, because the evaluation must be your work only. Copying from any sources therefore will not meet ConsultantCo requirements.

Part B – Feedback Reflection Report

Business professionals (e.g., Business Analysts, Consultants) must obtain feedback from clients to verify that the professional’s work addresses client needs (meets their requirements) and will not be rejected (or ‘failed’) by the client (e.g. refuses to pay the professional). Professionals cannot say it was the client’s fault if a report is rejected by the client. Instead, this indicates the failure of a business professional to engage in quality problem solving. In this unit, you will be treated as professionals. You must take active steps to ensure that you understand the Case Study Report requirements so that it is not rejected/failed by ConsultantCo or the senior consultants. In the case of Option 2, following the interviewee’s advice about how to write the report may not satisfy ConsultantCo’s requirements.

You are expected to seek actively, interpret accurately and respond effectively to feedback/clarifications on your understanding of the Part A requirements above before submission. You are required to write a 500 word Feedback Reflection Report summarising how you sought, interpreted and utilised the feedback, including providing evidence that your interpretation of feedback is accurate. That is, how do you know you interpreted the feedback correctly? What actions did you take to check your interpretation? For Part B, you only critique the effectiveness of your active seeking and accurate interpreting/implementing of feedback. Do not comment on feedback quality from consultants, nor why you could not attend seminars. (The former can be done by contacting the Unit Chair directly and/or by completing unit evaluation surveys.)

The weekly seminars are your main opportunity to get feedback on your understanding of the assignment requirements. There is a Burwood seminar requiring face-to-face attendance, and a Cloud Seminar requiring real-time online attendance. The latter will be recorded for those who cannot attend.

The seminars involve interactive activities which will help you determine how well you understand the Part A and Part B requirements. Staff facilitators will give feedback on your attempts of the activities. You will then apply that feedback and understanding when working on Part A sections and the Part B reflection.

All students can ask assignment related questions during the seminars, and via the CloudDeakin discussion folders, which also constitutes feedback. Questions can relate to interpreting the assignment requirements and assessment rubric. The CloudDeakin folders can also be used to ask follow-up questions arising when you start to apply the seminar feedback when drafting the Part A sections.

Please see the Week 1 seminar slides for a weekly timetable of which Part A sections will be the focus each week. These slides can be found via the Content tab in CloudDeakin, then the Learning resources option, then see the bottom of the Week 1 topic resources).

There are various points to note about the seminars and the Part B Reflection Report:

  • The Introduction (Section 1), Conclusion (Section 6) and source/references sections do not require feedback because these are short and simple sections compared to Sections 2 to 5. For this reason, there are no seminars covering these sections of Part A, but you are welcome to ask questions in CloudDeakin.
  • Any aspect of selecting the client, product/service type, CSR problem etc (covered in Section 2) is outside the scope of Part
  • The previous two points mean that the only seminars and Part A sections that are within the scope of the Part B Reflect Report will be the Weeks 3 to 6 seminars about Sections 3 to 5.
  • Part B should reflect on a minimum of two seminars out of the 4 within the scope of Part B, which means that students can miss two seminars without affecting Part B.

Solution

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