Analyse the Business Case of Apple Inc: Operations Management Assignment, NU, UK

University Newcastle University (NU)
Subject Operations Management

Purpose of this assessment: This assignment is designed to assess the learner’s knowledge of the principles of management and operations, enabling them to identify and use fundamental tools and concepts that incentives leadership, managerial and operational improvements within organizations, in order to reap business benefits.

You are a student and as a part of course requirements, you have to produce a report. The report will be in two sections:

Part A: This part requires you to analyze the business case of Apple Inc. The purpose of this part of the report is to differentiate between the role of a leader and the function of a manager and to apply the role of a leader in different management contexts.

Part B: This part requires you to suggest and justify improvements in order to address some operational challenges at Apple. Recent media reports have suggested that the company is experiencing issues with fulfilling customer orders for its iPhone 12 on time. The same reports indicate that there are some quality issues with the phone (short battery life and slow performance).

Apple is generally regarded as one of the so-called ‘Big Tech’ companies (other examples being Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Facebook). Incorporated in 1977, it now has annual revenues of over US$260 billion (2019). The growth of Apple Inc. has been meteoric by traditional standards. During its thirty-three-year history, it has gone through the significant market, competitive and structural changes; it could also be argued that the company has been a significant contributor to the digital revolution that has radically changed how billions of people live their lives over the last three decades. Steve Jobs was arguably the most famous CEO in Apple’s history, not least because of his personality, management style, and approach to leadership. The current CEO is Tim Cook, a co-founder of the company, who has been in the role since 2011.

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Task 1, Part A

Write Part A of your report, which must include the following sections:

1(a): Examine specific situations in the history of Apple, where various managerial skills and leadership qualities (or lack of them) were demonstrated by the company’s top managers.

1(b): Your analysis should focus on the actions and achievements of Steve Jobs, and his successor (the current CEO), Tim Cook.

2(a): You should identify and analyze specific strengths and weaknesses of the respective leaders in various situations, which should include examples of managing complexity and leading change.

2(b): Link specific managers’/leaders’ actions to different theories and models of approach. These should include situational leadership, systems leadership, and contingency.

2(c): You should include critical analysis of at least two of these stated theories

Task 1, Part B

Write Part B of your report, to fulfill the following requirements:

1(a): You must identify two theoretical approaches which could help address the customer order fulfillment issues AND quality issues at Apple. You should choose from Six Sigma, LEAN/Kaizen, Just-In-Time/Just-In-Case, Sales & Operations Planning, and TQM.

1(b): You should clearly identify how each of your two stated theoretical approaches would address each issue; and the strengths and weaknesses of using those approaches in this context.

1(c): You should explain the role of management/leadership in your recommended approaches, and explain the business value of addressing these problems.

2(a): Identify potential factors in the business environment at Apple that may impact the realistic possibility of carrying out your recommended approaches. Those factors should cover, leadership /stakeholder relationships, competing interests, and sources of conflict.

2(b): Analyse how those factors might impact the decisions managers/leaders will need to make with regard to carrying out your recommended approaches.

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