Individual Problem essay

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Question:
Select a supply chain problem faced by a specific company that has been well publicised.
Identify and critically evaluate the key supply chain issue(s) relating to this problem.
The purpose of this assignment is to encourage students to link what has been covered in class to
real life, practical examples. Students are expected to identify a real current or past supply chain
problem faced by a specific company. It is important that students can access information on this
issue. For example, newspaper articles are usually a good source to use for information on the
problem itself.
Examples of supply chain problems:
Examples of supply chain problems:
­Running out of toilet roll and other things (handwash/sanitiser/pasta/ etc.) during pandemic crisis
­Problems matching supply and demand (e.g. KFC running out of chicken/Lego having too many
bricks)
­Problems associated with monitoring complex global supply chains (e.g. child labour concerns
faced by companies such as Nike, Gap and Primark)
­ Problems monitoring quality/safety along supply chains (e.g. product defects/recalls (horsemeat
scandal)
There are a lot of potential examples that might be used for this assignment. Students are free to
choose their own topic. Some of the earlier tutorial sessions will be used to provide formative
feedback on assignment preparation and students will have the chance to ask questions to help
them identify an appropriate problem to analyse.
Guidance
See below for a suggested structure and guidelines on how the word count should be used. The
main thing to note is that the emphasis should be on the theory/topics identified as relevant and
these should be discussed at length as opposed to merely describing the problem.
­Define the problem (roughly 2­300 words) ­ background information on the problem (e.g. what is
the problem? What company was affected? What have the implications been? Where in the supply
chain did it occur?). Non­academic sources such as newspaper articles and online articles would
provide the majority of information on the problem itself.
­What supply chain issues are highlighted in this problem? (around 1400 words)­ consider in depth
1 or 2 supply chain issues that relate to the problem. These may or may not have been covered in
class at this stage, but that will not affect your ability to read about them in the literature and apply
them to the problem. Academic journal articles should inform most of the discussion on the key
topics.
For example, if you are looking at the problem of Nike being exposed for using child labour, the
main supply chain topic to consider is Social Responsibility in supply chains. In this section you
would discuss this topic in detail (e.g. what it is, why it has become important, the responsibility of
companies, what happens when things go wrong). Thus, you are essentially using the ‘problem’ as
a platform to discuss the supply chain area that it relates to.
­Conclusions and recommendations (2­300 words)­ Has the problem been sufficiently rectified?
How? Can steps be taken to prevent any future problems of a similar nature?
Word Limit
The word limit for this assignment is 2,000 words. Clarity and succinctness in your discussion is
encouraged. References and quotations are included in the word limit but bibliography
is not included. Please note that any appendices containing additional material beyond the word
limit will not be considered. Be wary of using too many direct quotes. One or two is ok but each
quote uses up the word limit and takes away from your own contribution in the essay. A few words
(max 50) over or under the 2000 word limit is ok but students are strongly advised to stick to the
2000 word count as closely as possible.

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