Case study

Weighting: 50%
1 Length: 3500 words ± 10% (excluding title page and reference list)
This assessment item relates to the course learning outcomes numbers 1 to 3 as stated in the course profile.
The primary purpose of this assessment item is to help students develop skills in the use of OM principles,
theories and models in the analysis of the current operations of a manufacturing organisation. The
assignment requires you to analyse the current situation. The objective is to identify and specify the
problems that exist – DO NOT TRY TO ‘SOLVE’ THE CASE.
The secondary purpose of this assignment is to give students the opportunity to enhance their analysis,
critical thinking and written communication skills; particularly in the areas of argument development and
essay writing.
Assessment task 1 requires the writing of an academic essay. This essay should be an ‘argumentative essay’,
and must therefore contain an argument that is used as the structuring element of the paper. The assignment
is based on a short case study that describes a manufacturing organisation that is going through a process of
growth and change. The purpose of the essay is to identify the operational issues within the case, and to
identify root causes of the problems that are evident. Students are expected to engage in extensive research
within the academic literature relating to operations management.
Beforestarting this assessment read the marking criteria(at the end of this course profile) and the
Assignment Writing Guidelines on the course website.
Read the following short case study and respond to the task requirements at the end of the case within the
context of an academic essay. This assignment should be presented in essay format with no headings. In this
course, an essay is regarded as a ‘sustained argument in prose’. You are required to support your argument
with appropriate theoretical discussion and references.
The assessment task is based on the case study titled Craft Shop or Factory. The case itself, and assignment
requirements should be accessed through the course website. You should read, and carefully analyse, the
case and respond to the issues presented at the end of the case study within the context of an academic essay.
Case study: Craft shop or factory?
Klassy Kitchens Pty Ltd designs and manufactures custom-built kitchen cabinetry. The company was
founded in Cabramatta, Sydney in 2008 by husband and wife, Chinh and Anh Chu. Chinh is a master
cabinetmaker and Anh is a qualified interior designer.The company had originally set out to service the
needs of the growing Vietnamese community in the western suburbs of Sydney. As the reputation of the
company grew however, Chinh and Anh found that their client base became more and more diverse. Chinh’s
duties had evolved over time, and he now fulfilled the role of production and operations manager. Anh, on
the other hand, had found an interest in the financial and overall management of the enterprise and so she
had become the de facto general manager. So while there was no formal identification of roles for the two
owners, there was a fairly comfortable and effective distribution of managerial responsibilities.
Traditionally, Klassy Kitchens had focused entirely on custom-made kitchens, with the customer consulting
with Anh to develop a unique kitchen designed specifically for the client’s needs. As the company’s
reputation grew and sales increased however, several low volume contracts had been signed to supply small
‘spec’ builders
with a range of high quality, but standardised kitchen cabinetry. These contracts required
Klassy Kitchens to manufacture a limited range of kitchen cabinets in small batches. Batch sizes ranged from
a single kitchen up to five similarly designed kitchens. The client builders imposed more stringent delivery
requirements and were far more price sensitive thancustom-made kitchen buyers. Whilst the customdesigned cabinetry continued to account for the majority of the company’s sales, the builders’ kitchens were
becoming increasingly important. Currently, custom designed kitchens accounted for 60 percent of factory
volume and 75 percent of revenue.
Klassy Kitchens operates a single manufacturing facilityin Cabramatta, where both custom and standard
kitchen cabinets are manufactured. The cabinet-making equipment consists mainly of general purpose
machines in order to provide the flexibility needed for producing a wide variety of custom designed cabinets.
The factory layout has various types of equipment grouped together. Saws and cutting tables are in one
section, routers and shapers in another, whilst lathes and other less frequently used machines are kept away
from the work area in their own section. There are also several assembly areas located strategically
throughout the factory. The quality of Klassy Kitchens’ finished products is held in high esteem, and reflects
the quality of the materials chosen and the craftsmanship of the individual cabinetmakers. Both the custom
and the standard cabinets had to compete for processing time on the same equipment by the same
During the past few months, sales of the builders’ line of kitchens had steadily increased, leading to more
regular scheduling of this work. However, when scheduling trade-offs had to be made, the custom kitchens
were always given priority because of the higher sales and profit margins. Thus scheduled lots of standard
cabinet components were left sitting around the plant invarious stages of completion. This increase in the
volume of work in process had changed the previously spacious manufacturing area into a factory clogged
up with partially completed work.
As she reviewed the progress of Klassy Kitchens, Anh Chu was pleased to note that the company has grown.
Sales of custom kitchens remained strong, and sales ofthe builders’ line were steadily increasing. However,
the company accountant argued that profits were not whatthey should be. Costs associated with the standard
builders’ line were rising. An increasing amount of working capital was being tied up in raw materials
inventory, work in process and finished product, and both the debtors and creditors ledgers were growing. To
accommodate the increased volume of raw material and finished goods inventory, expensive public
warehouse space was now being rented. Anh Chu was also concerned with increasing lead times for both
custom and standard orders. This was resulting in longer promised delivery times. The current operations
systems were pushing manufacturing capacity to the limit, and with the current layout, no space was left in
the plant for expansion. Anh Chu decided that the time had come for her and her husband to take a careful
look at the overall impact that the new line of standard builders’ kitchens was having on their operations.
The NSW Department of Fair Trading defines a ‘spec’ builder thus: “A ‘spec’ builder is the general term for an individual, company or
partnership who carries out residential building work on land thatthey own. The ‘spec’ builder is a licensed builder and therefore does
not need to contract out the work, but can do their own residential building work. The building work is speculative, meaning the property
is generally intended to be sold at completion.” (Source:
After you have carefully read and analysed the case study, write an essay discussing the operational and
strategic issues facing Klassy Kitchens. The essay should identify and discuss the operational aspects that are
affecting the organisation, paying attention to both strategic and day-to-day implications. Your argument
should address the following four issues withresponses integrated within the essay.
1. The current production systems and processes used by Klassy Kitchens (a technical analysis).
2. The effect of the new builders’ kitchen line on Klassy Kitchens’ operations (problem definition).
3. The daily operational decisions that Chinh Chu has to make under the current operating
conditions to maintain effective production (day-to-day operational issues).
4. The effect the move to producing builders’ kitchens is having on the company’s financial
(broader organisational issues caused by operational problems).
Use the above issues as a framework for your discussion,but make sure you create an integrating argument
that brings the four issues together.
Your essay should be a properly constructed academic essay. It should contain an effective introduction,
body and conclusion. The introduction should introduce the essay and include your argument. The body
should present the evidence you have collected to support your argument, and the conclusion should restate
your argument, summarise the evidence and make a conclusion regarding your argument.
The essay should contain a coherent, but necessarily restricted review of the academic literature on the
Operations Management topics in question. The literature review should be integrated into the essay, not a
separate section. Do not use headings or include an abstract. A reference list formatted in the prescribed
Harvard style is compulsory. Do not include a bibliography. Further information regarding formatting of
assignments is available on the course website.
This assessment item involves researching your assigned topic to enhance your understanding of Operations
Management concepts and utilisation of academic literature. Whilst you should AVOID using only
textbooks, the prescribed textbook for the course should be cited in regard to broad operations management
principles. You will be expected to present information and evidence from, and cite, at LEAST twelve (12)
relevant peer-reviewed, academic journal articles (minimum requirement). Refer to your recommended
readings for examples of academic journals. The quality and number of citations will demonstrate the
breadth and depth of the literature used to formulate your argument.
AVOID presenting a descriptive account ONLYof your readings. What is required in this assessment is a
critical evaluationof the academic literature as it relates to the specific details of the case study. Your
marker is interested in the conclusions that YOUarrive at from YOURevaluation of the literature and of the
case study.
“Financial Structure” is a specific term relating mainly tobalance sheet items in a company’s finances. If you do not understand this
term, you will need to research its meaning.
Each paper will be assessed on the extent to which it meets each of the following criteria:
CONTENT: Does your essay demonstrate: Weighting
 a thorough knowledge and critical analysisof the Operations Management topic
expressed in a coherent format with a clear beginning, body and conclusion?
 knowledge and application of relevant Operations Management theories and/or
models in response to the topic questions expressed in a clear argument?
 appropriateness of responses to the topic questions? 20%
 relevant and accurate literature use? (minimum to pass this criterion is twelve
(12) academic journal articles)
PRESENTATION: Does your essay demonstrate:
 clarity of expression, grammar and spelling? 5%
 strict conformity to referencing style of the Author-date system of referencing as
set out in the Australian Government Publishing Service 2002, Style Manual for
Authors, Editors and Printers, 6thedn, AGPS, Canberra? (Refer to the Harvard
Referencing Guide)?
 appropriate presentation format as required by the Assignment Writing
Guidelines and presented within the word limit of 3500 words( ± 10%)?

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