Assessment Component 1.1: Terms of Reference (ToR) Development (Group)
To complete Component 1.1 of your assessment, you will form a group of 4 to 6 members and work on a ToR development on a business problem selected from a list of business cases (Appendix A, see below). Your group will be assigned a supervisor, and you need to reach out to the supervisor for necessary advice. A template of a ToR is provided in Appendix B. Please read all the case problem carefully and discuss within team members before you choose one case. You are expected to use the knowledge and skills acquired during the face-to-face lectures and tutorials Upon selecting the case with the agreement of team members, you may read the ToR template and understand and identify the inputs required to complete your ToR document. ToR should be limited to 1500 word. See the assessment criteria in Appendix C.
To complete Component 1.2, your team will submit a Recorded Power Point Presentation explaining the elements in the submitted ToR in detail and demonstrate your business communication skills and the application of knowledge and skills to solve your chosen problem. All team members should present, and the recording must be done with the video turned on. The PPT voice embedded file should be uploaded to the Moodle submission box. See the assessment criteria in Appendix D.
To complete Component 2, using the knowledge and skills gained through ToR and Presentation stage, you will work individually under the supervisor to produce a business practice report on the chosen business problem during team stage. You will evaluate the processes and strategies to solve the problem chosen by applying theory (i.e., literature review and secondary data analysis) and compare with other case studies; and provide recommendations. The report should also include a reflection piece as annex on your team and individual learning. See the assessment criteria in Appendix D.
- 1. John Lewis – Business Sustainability Issue
John Lewis advisers have identified that the company is now facing a critical challenge in making a profit from its house building scheme, which involves converting the upper airspace of its stores into new homes. The scheme aims to result in 428 new flats built above a Waitrose in West Ealing and 353 in Bromley, offering 35% affordable housing on each scheme to the housing market. However, planners estimate that there would be a significant cost to build these houses and predict the risk of incurring a negative return of £57m.
Early analysis by property consultants predicts that John Lewis’ housing scheme is valued at £183m based on present-day values; however, the cost of construction will be around £240m. This strategic move by the company in the pursuit of diversifying its operations away from retail, as the business aims to generate two-fifths of its profits via non-retail areas by 2030.
1. Why do you think JL is entering this non-core business area in the UK where more specialized companies are already in business?
2. How do you think JL can manage this non-core business area and ensure they receive a return on its investment if the company board decided to go ahead with the investment??
3. What are the socio economic and sustainability issues around this business decision if the company board decided to go ahead with the investment?
At COP28 in Dubai, there was a highly contested debate about whether fossils fuels should be phased out or phased down. Those in favour of phasing out argue that the world must stop emitting GHG emissions from fossil fuels as soon as possible and that the world must immediately and significantly increase investments in renewable energy and electrification. In contrast, those in favouring of phasing down argue that less-developed countries should be allowed to exploit their own domestic fossil fuel resources to enable economic and social development and that richer, mostly western countries, should end their exploitation of these sources much sooner than they currently propose. Less-developed countries have argued that they could commit to a fossil fuel phase out if they were presented with a concrete plan that describes in detail what energy system will replace the current one and how this replacement would be achieved.
- How would a phase-out of fossil fuels differ to a phase-down of fossil fuels for BP, the oil and gas company?
- How could BP accelerate the less-developed world’s transition to a net-zero energy system in a socially just way?
- 1. OpenAI – Strategic and leadership challenges
Leadership issues can arise in any organization and can be influenced by various factors, such as strategic direction, decision-making processes, or internal dynamics. The recent Board decision of OpenAI to remove its CEO, now have made a very volatile situation for the company and its investors. As AI as a market is still developing, and its potential has been in question, while others are optimistic about its profitability, competitors try to capture a large share of the market from the beginning and as OpenAI grapples with its internal crisis, competitors seize the opportunity to recruit its talents.
- What are the possible impacts of this current leadership issue on the company?
- How can OpenAI strategize to settle the leadership issues?
"Investing in sustainable supply chains to decarbonize logistics is a key motive for every supply chain player, particularly those under the scrutiny of public policy. Maersk Shipping, as a global liner shipping company, aims to be carbon neutral by 2050. However, the EU has been prompted in preserving its ports and the environment and has now announced a special tax to discourage fossil fuel-run vessels from entering EU ports. This tax, termed emission surcharge under the EU Emissions Trading System, is now payable by every vessel entering any EU port.
There are various discussions in the supply chain and logistics community regarding the impact of such a charge on total logistics costs and on total voyage costs, which will be fully borne by the shipping company. In a competitive liner shipping industry, where freight rates are determined by demand and supply, shipping companies are not able to pass the tax on to the customers. It may not be true; critics argue that, in the end, the shipper is the victim of the new scheme. Yet, some maritime professionals argue that shipping companies with larger ships, such as Maersk, will reroute to other ports outside the EU where they can be accommodated and transship the cargo with smaller vessels.
Now, the questions prevail:
- How can the shipping line mitigate the impact of such a fuel surcharge on fossil fuel-run vessels?
- What will be the long-run impact of the emission surcharge on the shipping and port industry in and around the EU and Non-EU regions
Firms in the African markets have been facing many challenges; and most of them are requiring Africa-specific solutions: an underdeveloped infrastructure, a disorganized and fragmented retail landscape, a lack of reliable market research, unclear and ever-changing government regulations and a severely limited talent pipeline. Promasidor, an African dairy, beverage and food enhancement company, developed Cowbell, a milk powder packaged in small sachets, in which they replaced the animal fat with vegetable fat to give it a longer shelf life, thereby diminishing the dependency on a cold supply chain. African children put the powder directly on their tongues, to overcome obstacles about finding sanitary water. Promasidor now is a leader in Nigeria’s powdered milk market.
- How can Promasidor sustain this business model in the midst of new entrants, largely TNCs, entering the market with a newer product?
- What are the effective approaches for companies such as Promasidor to mitigate the stated challenges?
AFM/AGI is an innovative denim company group in Pakistan. With a strong textile industry due to its historical reasons and an abundance of cotton fibre grown in the country, with almost 350 million meters of denim fabric production p.a. Pakistan is home to many players in the denim industry, yet Artistic Fabric Mills/ Artistic Garment Industries stand out from the rest due to their innovative approach in recycling and its contribution to circular economy. Other countries such as India, China and Bangladesh with access to raw materials are also producing a larger share of world denim demand. The company has heavily invested on its recycling of old denim clothes and also plans to expand its production capacities. Reverse logistics of denim and old cotton-based clothing is a challenge, as these final consumption points are mainly based in USA, EU and the UK. The company needs to address the following questions to stay in competition.
- How is AFM/AGI dealing with environmental issues like wastewater disposal and residuals?
- How does AFM/AGI compete with local other players and with players in countries like India, Bangladesh and China for denim exports?
- How can AFM strategize to be a global denim brand?