SCMA 305 2013
CASE STUDY GUIDE
ANSWERING CASE STUDIES
The following problems that have prevented companies to be successful are as follows:
1. The inability to recognize important problems; 2. Difficulty in formulating the main problem; 3. The inability to actually visualize or understand the situation; 4. The inability to communicate with other managers and decision makers; 5. A lack of experience of working with "messy" data; and 6. A lack of experience in working with complex organizational environments.
The Case Approach
The case study approach offers an excellent opportunity for students to think about supply chain management decisions in realistic situations. It also provides a number of advantages that are either impossible or difficult to grasp using standard lectures alone. A few of the advantages of the case studies are:
1. The opportunity to identify and separate real problems from symptoms and trivial problems; 2. Experience in developing one or more examples that embody the essential elements of a particular situation or problem; 3. Increased awareness of a business and how it really functions; 4. The ability to understand the impact of various environmental concerns, such as political, social, and legal systems, on the organization and the application of appropriate supply chain management techniques; 5. The opportunity to ask the appropriate questions when formulating the problem and gathering relevant information; 6. The opportunity to identify and isolate qualitative factors that will have a significant impact on the application of quantitative analysis methods; 7. The ability to think clearly in ambiguous and complex situations; 8. The chance to develop recommendations and action plans that are consistent with the business' goals and problem-solving strategy; 9. The opportunity to determine what information is required in applying one or more supply chain management techniques in an actual setting;
10. Practice making verbal presentations and participating in supply chain management discussion groups; and 11. Practice in writing formal reports.
How To Analyze A Case
There is no one best approach to analyse a case. There are however, a number of general steps and guidelines can be followed to ensure better case analysis
1. A quick look at the case. The purpose of the first step is to give you an overview of the case and the existing situation. You may wish to read rapidly or to skim through the case, taking notes and jotting down important ideas, key problems, and critical factors. You may even wish to write down ideas relating the main problems or issues in the case at this point.
2. Read the Case. Once you have glanced at the case read it in detail, taking careful notes on important facts, problems, and issues found within the case. While you are reading the case in detail, you should be looking for major problems, sub-problems, controllable and uncontrollable variables, constraints and limitations, alternatives available to the organizations, and possible quantitative techniques that might be used in solving the problems facing the organization. To formulate the problem, it may be necessary to reread certain parts of the case. After the problem has been formulated, it should be summarized and recorded in writing.
3. Formulate the Problem. If you have done a good job with the first two steps, problem formulation will be greatly simplified. The purpose of this step is to specify the major problem or issues at hand. At this point, you should not be concerned with what techniques may be used to solve the problem. Instead, you should strive to isolate the major issues and the central problems facing the organization. To formulate the problem, it may be necessary to reread certain parts of the case. After the problem has been formulated, it should be summarized and recorded in writing.