Read the case study “Managing Growth at SportStuff.com” above. Develop an Excel model to use Solver (i.e., an add-in for optimisation) to help answer the case questions. Write a business report summarising the case, the issues identified, and your analysis of the different networks options under consideration. Answer each of the case questions separately in a separate section at the end of the report. Show the problem formulation and the Solver setups in the appendix. This assignment is due by 23:59 p.m. on Sunday, 5 August 2018. The following should be noted: An Excel workbook with multiple worksheets, one for each scenario in each year, is required. The model should be clear in structure and layout with proper title and labels. Colour scheme can be used to facilitate understanding. Model logic should be easily followed and the results can be repeated. Please note that some case questions may require multiple worksheets to analyse the various scenarios involved. A formal business report is also required. In addition to the Covering Page (a page that properly provides the course number and title, assignment number, title of the case, student number, student name, and submission date), the report should include the following: (a) Executive Summary (Summarise the case, the findings of analysis, and the recommendations in one page.) (b) Table of Contents (List the sections and subsections with corresponding page numbers on a separate page.) (c) List of Figures (List the figure numbers and captions, if any, with corresponding page numbers on a separate page.) (d) List of Tables (List the table numbers and captions, if any, with corresponding page numbers on a separate page.) (e) Summary of the Case (Use your own words to give a brief summary of the case in half a page.) (f) Objectives (State the purposes of the study and what needs to be investigated in half a page.) (g) Issues Identified (Analyse the information provided in the case to identify the issues faced by the company in half a page.) (h) Network Option Analysis (Analyse the network options under consideration using the information provided in the case. The optimal network configurations for 2017 to 2020 under the three scenarios need to be worked out using MS Solver where necessary. NOTE: Only summaries of the analyses, i.e., configuration and cost for each scenario in each year, are needed. Details of the analyses should be given in the Answers to the Case Questions section. Use summary tables to show the configurations and costs.) (i) Recommendations (Recommend the best option to adopt based on the outcome of the analysis.) (j) Conclusions (Summarise the study and give insight.) (k) Answers to the Case Questions (Answer the case questions one by one in separate subsection with the question number clearly stated. DO NOT MERGE EVERYTHING into a big paragraph or essay. Marks will be deducted if answers to the case questions are not provided separately as required. Make full use of the information in the case and the model as a tool to help answer the questions. Assessment is based on how thorough the case analysis, whether the model has been appropriately used, and how relevant the answers to the case questions are.) (l) References (List the references used in the report in strict Harvard style.) (m) Appendices (Show the problem formulation and the Solver setups of the model.) Use summary tables, charts, and figures where appropriate to aid your analysis and discussion. The figures and tables should be inserted in the sections and subsections immediately after they are mentioned instead of in the List of Figures and List of Tables. Use screen dumps of the spreadsheet to aid explanation where appropriate. All references must be provided in strict Harvard style. See http://mams.rmit.edu.au/zxwepdjik7ox.doc (Links to an external site.) for guidelines and examples in using Harvard style. Students can also refer to the document entitled “Written reports and essays: Guidelines for referencing and presentation in RMIT Business” (Version 3.0, available at http://mams.rmit.edu.au/s9sx559hurvc.rtf (Links to an external site.) ) for advice and tips on how to write proper reports and essays. For this case study, you are required to analyse and compare among three network options. As stated in the case, one option is to keep the existing small warehouse in St. Louis and rent additional facilities all in the same city. Another option is to keep the small warehouse in St. Louis but rent additional facilities in other cities only. The final option is not to keep any warehouse in St. Louis and rent new facilities in other cities only. There are pros and cons under each option and it is your job to find the best one for SportStuff.com. In doing so, you should make use of ALL the information provided (particularly the cost figures) and develop a Solver model for the network analysis. Once the model is verified and validated, you can use the model as a tool for scenario testing to help you answer the case questions. The suggested word length of the report is 3,000 to 3,500. The assessment of the assignment will be based mainly on the accuracy of the logic and the comprehensiveness of the analysis as presented in the report. The more effort students invested in analysing the case and writing the report the higher the marks will be. Only getting the correct answer in a spreadsheet will certainly not be good enough. Tips for Assignment 2 For the quantitative assignment, the optimisation model should be set up in such a way that once validated it can serve as a tool to help answer the case questions. To answer the case questions, you are required to create one model on a separate spreadsheet for each scenario to facilitate assessment. This can be easily done by copying the validated base model to a new spreadsheet and amend the input parameters and constraints where necessary to represent the conditions of the scenario prior to running Solver to get the optimal solution. Basically, the workbook should comprise 12 worksheets, three for each year from 2017 to 2020 representing the three scenarios under consideration. NOTE: DO NOT use only one single spreadsheet or a summary report in the Excel workbook for everything and expect the assessor to create the models for the different scenarios from scratch to check your answers. Marks will be significantly deducted if the required models are not provided. Here are some suggestions for you to set up the model: The SportStuff.com case is quite similar to the SunOil example in Chapter 5 of the recommended textbook in terms of problem formulation, model logic, and Solver setup. Therefore, a good understanding of the SunOil example will be of vital importance. This type of problems is called capacitated facility location problem (CFLP). It deals with locating an undetermined number of facilities in order to serve customers, at minimum cost. The potential facility locations, hence the available capacity, and the customer zones are considered fixed points in a network. In CFLP, the objective is to minimise the total cost in terms of fixed cost (e.g., construction, renting, maintenance or overheads) which is independent of usage and variable cost (e.g., shipment, inventory processing and inventory holding) which is dependent of usage. The goal is to locate and build (or rent) the facilities in the network in such a way that the total cost – fixed and variable together – is the lowest possible. The constraints are usually related to demand and capacity usage. Demand constraint refers to the fact that no matter how we serve our markets (from one or many facilities), the total individual market demand must be met. In other words, Unmet Demand = Demand from that market – Total supply (from one or more facilities) to a market = 0. Capacity constraint refers to the fact that no matter how we use our facilities (serving only one or multiple markets), the total available capacity at the individual facility cannot be exceeded. In other words, Excess Capacity = Available capacity at a facility – Total supply from that facility (serving one or more markets) ? 0. Apart from demand and capacity constraints, there are integer and non-negativity constraint as well. Integer constraint refers to the fact that the number of facilities to be set up at a location must be in whole number. It cannot be in half or third or quarter, etc. Non-negativity constraint refers to the fact that shipments from the facilities to the markets cannot be less than zero. To answer case Q1, you need to run the model for 2017 to 2020 three times, each with slightly different constraints to represent the three scenarios (a), (b) and (c). Based on the findings of Q1, your can answer Q2 by recommending to the management of SportStuff.com the appropriate configuration to adopt in 2017 to 2020 based on cost consideration only. Q3 is a qualitative one. You may wish to do some research and cite from other sources to help answer the question. References to support arguments must be given in the report where they are cited and listed at the end of the report in Harvard or APA style. Consistency and accuracy in referencing are important. Marks will be deducted for careless omissions or mistakes in the references. Depending on the outcome of Q3, you may wish to recommend to SportStuff.com an alternative configuration arrangement for 2017 to 2020 that not based on cost consideration totally. Then, you would need to provide justification for your recommendation. Finally, you may wish to note that the assessment of this assignment is not based entirely on the Excel model or the correctness of the total cost figures. I will also look at the model logic, the model structure, the layout design (e.g., use of colour to clearly demarcate the various sections of the model for easy tracking), the depth of the analysis, and the organisation and presentation of the report, among other things, to give the final marks. The weight of the model and the report is 50%-50%, i.e., submitting a report without the model or vice versa will have a maximum of 12.5 marks only. Therefore, both the report – a Word file (no PDF file) – and the model – an Excel file (no PDF file) – must be submitted. For the model component, as long as your model logic (basically the way to work out the answer including the formula set up) is correct and the model is well structured and designed which is easy to understand and follow, there should not be a big penalty even though your figures are not exactly the same as the optimal ones. Even if the model logic is not correct and basically your model is wrong and useless as a tool for analysis, you can still get some marks if you really put in effort to churn out a very good report. Just make sure you complete all the required tasks. Effort and sincerity can be easily witnessed if you do have invested in your work. That is to say, you can still prepare a good report and try to answer the case questions from a qualitative perspective through analysis using the information provided in the case and from other sources. You will probably fail this assignment without the modelling part. But if you get enough marks from the other assessment tasks and good result in the final examination, you will still pass the course. NOTE: It is not acceptable to submit a model or solution downloaded from the publisher or the Internet without adequate understanding of the model logic and appropriate modifications to the model design to incorporate the scenarios of the case questions. While these solutions or models can be used as references to help you understand the approach to solving the problem, you must put in adequate effort to create a base model of your own with variations for scenario analyses. Otherwise, there will be significant deduction in marks and possible hearing for suspected plagiarism in severe cases.
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