Explore BrainMass

Discuss: Business Analysis Topics

Hi, I need some assistance answering the following business analysis type questions.

1. What are the major differences between aggregate planning in manufacturing and aggregate planning in services?
2. How do facility location decisions differ for service facilities and manufacturing plants?
3. Distinguish between pure and mixed strategies in production planning.
4. What recent changes have caused supply chain management to gain importance?
5. Financial applications are divided into three areas. Describe each of these areas.
6. How would the needs of stakeholder groups be reflected in a performance measurement system?
7. In discussing characteristics of efficient plants, Goodson, developer of rapid plant assessments, suggests that numerous forklifts are a sign of poor space utilization. What do you think is behind this observation?
8. Which of the rules of re-engineering do you feel would be the most difficult to satisfy? Why?
9. Describe the differences between functional and innovative products.
10. What are the pros and cons of relocating a small or mid-sized manufacturing firm (that makes mature products) from the United States to Mexico in the post-NAFTA environment?
11. How is the seasonal index computed from a regression line analysis?
12. What is the logic in the least squares method of linear regression analysis?
13. What key technological features of SAP set it apart from conventional business accounting/planning/control software?
14. What are the main reasons why a large percentage of executives have negative feelings toward ERP software?
15. What strategies are used by supermarkets, airlines, hospitals, banks, and cereal manufacturers to influence demand?
16. Identify and discuss the most significant operations and supply management approach since 1960.
17. Discuss the basic differences between the mean absolute deviation and the standard deviation.
18. What motivations typically cause firms to initiate a facilities location or relation project?
19. Identify the typical processes in manufacturing firms. Discuss how the new product development process interacts with the traditional function in the firm.
20. Where do opportunities reside in improving supply chain operations and how has VSM helped to reveal these?

Solution Preview

To save time, I only put the answers based on the question numbers.

Question # 1
Aggregate planning in manufacturing is planning so that you allocate the right amount of resources for every process of the manufacturing so that time will be minimized when in IDLE mode.
For services, aggregate planning serves to schedule your employees and it varies as to what particular season you are in.
Moreover aggregate planning for services (as oppose to manufacturing) implies:
1. Most services cannot be inventoried.
2. Demand for services is difficult to predict.
3. Capacity is also difficult to predict.
4. Service capacity must be provided at the appropriate place and time.
5. Labor is usually the most constraining resource for services.

Question # 2
In many ways, the decisions are similar. However, since the customer is often involved in the production of the service, proximity to the customer is of greater importance. Services often utilize multiple sites to remain close to the customer. Market needs impact service location decisions. Alternatively, resource considerations have much more impact on manufacturing. In addition, the cost of establishing a service facility is relatively low when compared to manufacturing. Manufacturing decisions are often based on cost minimization while service decisions are based on profit maximization.

Question # 3
Pure strategies use only one variable to absorb demand fluctuations. Mixed strategies involve two or more pure strategies.

Question # 4
Outsourcing is one major turning point in the field of operational management. It is not something that is new in logistics. Business process outsourcing started even before it earned a name and became a business trend. Some companies choose to hire the services of trucking companies rather than having their own fleet. As time passed by, innovations gave rise to supply chain management importance. Major economies outsourced functions such as capital, people, technology and facilities.

Question # 5
Finance can be broken into three different sub-categories: public finance, corporate finance and personal finance.
Public Finance:
Public finance describes finance as related to sovereign states and sub-national entities (states/provinces, counties, municipalities, etc.) and related public entities (e.g. school districts) or agencies. It is concerned with:
- Identification of required expenditure of a public sector entity
- Source(s) of that entity's revenue
- The budgeting process
- Debt issuance (municipal bonds) for public works projects
Central banks, such as the Federal Reserve System banks in the United States and Bank of England in the United Kingdom, are strong players in public finance, acting as lenders of last resort as well as strong influences on monetary and credit conditions in the economy.

Personal Finance:
Questions in personal finance revolve around
- How can people protect themselves against unforeseen personal events, as well as those in the external economy?
- How can family assets best be transferred across generations (bequests and inheritance)?
- How does tax policy (tax subsidies and/or penalties) affect personal financial decisions?
- How does credit affect an individual's financial standing?
- How can one plan for a secure financial future in an environment of economic instability?
- Personal financial decisions may involve paying for education, financing durable goods such as real estate and cars, buying insurance, e.g. health and property insurance, investing and saving for retirement.

Corporate Finance:
Managerial or corporate finance is the task of providing the funds for a corporation's activities (for small business, this is referred to as SME finance). Corporate finance generally involves balancing risk and profitability, while attempting to maximize an entity's wealth and the value of its stock, and generically entails three interrelated decisions. In the first, "the investment decision", management must decide which "projects" (if any) to undertake.

Question # 6
Performance measurement involves determining what to measure, identifying data collection methods, and collecting the data. A model for measuring a company's performance helps all members, customers, suppliers, employees, and community to understand and evaluate their contributions and expectations. By focusing on the secondary processes for achieving primary objectives, such as profit, the system provides a tool for monitoring implicit and explicit contractual relationships with stakeholders.
Most companies use formal performance measurement systems that are extensions of their financial reporting systems. They justify this practice because the financial reporting system provides measures that:
- Are generally regarded as reliable and consistent, thereby giving a solid foundation for developing reward and accountability structures.
- Mesh with the primary objective of creating profits for owners, thereby giving a performance measurement focus consistent with organizational objectives.

Question # 7
Forklifts require wide aisles and are expensive to operate. They also increase pollution, and encourage unnecessary movement of materials. In the best plants, if materials need to be moved a short distance, employees use hand-propelled roll carts; if the materials are too heavy to move by hand, garden tractors pull the carts in linked trains.

Question # 8
"Re-engineering ...

Solution Summary

This solution for this problem is about two pages in length. The questions pertains to Business Analysis. Each question is answered using about a paragraph or two and includes references to support answers. All questions are answered and supported with in-text citations.