Exam Feedback 2013

 

 Overall performance

Total number of students

Mean

mark

Highest mark

Lowest

mark

31

62.35

75

49

 

 

Q1. In “The Machine That Changed the World”, Womack, Jones and Roos explicitly linked their model of Lean Production to the Toyota Production System developed by Toyota in Japan.  Outline how Lean Production represented a break with the Taylorist model of operations management.

No. of students who answered the question

 

Mean mark

 

Highest mark

 

Lowest mark

18

64.83

80

38

Outline Answer:A pass answer will describe Lean and Taylorism. 

A good answer will highlight the similarities and differences.

 

An excellent answer will develop an argument explaining the evaluations, possibly mentioning role of Group Technology and autonomous group marking (i.e. Kalmar).

 

 Feedback on student exam performance: Some answers did not define Taylorism and/or Lean in enough detail: they have to be described clearly so that the following argument is supported. The best answer was very good indeed in its use of critical discussion. 

 

Q2. Outsourcing business processes overseas exposes companies to the risk that the outsourcing company may fail to provide the service expected.  Outline strategies used to manage the risks of outsourcing.

No. of students who answered the question

 

Mean mark

 

Highest mark

 

Lowest mark

21

64.24

80

47

Outline Answer:A pass answer will describe business process outsourcing. 

A good answer will develop a typology of risks (e.g. underperformance, opportunism).

 

An excellent answer will discuss possible solutions (SLAs, chunkification, local-based staff).

 

Feedback on student exam performance:This is a question about outsourcing and its risks, so you have to make sure that outsourcing and all the myriad things that can go awry are covered. The top answer was excellent in covering and critiquing the papers suggested and using examples. 

 

 

Q3. What is meant by the term “High Reliability Organisations” (HRO)?  To what extent do the lessons learnt from HROs provide companies with an alternative approach to the management of operational risk through auditable procedures?

No. of students who answered the question

 

Mean mark

 

Highest mark

 

Lowest mark

7

66.14

80

54

Outline Answer:A pass answer will describe HROs and contrast with audit approaches to risk. 

A good answer will relate the claims of HRO’s to the claimed weaknesses of procedural approaches (e.g. secondary risk management).

 

An excellent answer will refer to HRO and risk literature and consider how the two approaches can be combined.

 

Feedback on student exam performance:Though not a popular question to answer, this question was answered well.

 

 

 

Q4. Explain why it has become increasingly practicable to use experiments in service design?

No. of students who answered the question

 

Mean mark

 

Highest mark

 

Lowest mark

4

67

70

64

Outline Answer:A pass answer will describe “service design”. 

A good answer will discuss the use of either random control trials or living labs in evaluating service designs.

 

An excellent answer will describe both and identify how they are both facilitated by this affordance of being able to track individual users.

 

Feedback on student exam performance:This was an even less popular question, but all four answers were good, including clear definitions of service design as a concept and touched on how experimentation can be used in service design.

 

Q5. Describe how Hoshin Kanri and Balanced Scorecards may be combined to link operations to business policy, identifying the choices available in their use.

No. of students who answered the question

 

Mean mark

 

Highest mark

 

Lowest mark

3

51.67

54

50

Outline Answer:A pass answer will describe Hoshin Kanri and Balanced Scorecards. 

A good answer will describe and discuss how they can be used together.

 

An excellent answer will identify and discuss in relation to literature and theory the choices, notably between a hieratical considering of objectives by fact, and a more participative negotiation  of performance measures.

 

Feedback on student exam performance:This was an even less popular question, but all three answers were not good. A strong mark needs a clear description of HK and BSC, with one or the other or both missing from some answers.

 

Q6. Implementing large-scale enterprise-wide information technology systems, for example Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, is a significant strategic decision.  Consider how companies might evaluate the offerings of competing suppliers.

No. of students who answered the question

 

Mean mark

 

Highest mark

 

Lowest mark

7

66.14

73

51

Outline Answer:A pass answer will describe enterprise wide IS (ERP expected, but other types are acceptable). 

A good answer will identify the choices: adapt procedures to standard packages versus adapt packages to existing procedures, also explaining why choosing between offerings is difficult.

 

An excellent answer may relate the choice to bounded rationality, isomorphism and

the role of specialist market analysts.

 

Feedback on student exam performance:At the lower end answers need clearer descriptions of the systems and the choices, while at the top end answer were relating the discussion to more conceptual literature, sometimes taken from other courses.