Case study: Cellfonie – Shaping the Future of Smartphones

This assignment requires that you write a 2,000-word individual report based on your analysis of the operations management issues raised in the case study Cellfonie – Shaping the future of Smartphones. You should consider how applying a lean management approach might be beneficial for this business. This will involve critically assessing the issues presented in the case alongside theory/literature and making recommendations for improvements to the management systems/approaches used by the case study organisation. You can also be critical of the challenges of adopting a lean approach.Recommendations should demonstrate your understanding of best practice concepts in the academic literature and should provide examples of how organisational policy and practices can be revised to improve efficiency and/or effectiveness of operations.

This brief provides guidance on completing this assessment as well as the case study, marking criteria, a sample front cover and example contents page.

Submit through Turnitin on GCU Learn

N.B. Failure to meet the submission date will result in a zero mark for the coursework element of the module at first diet.

 Case study: Cellfonie – Shaping the Future of Smartphones

Today’s consumers are feeling the wave of the widespread adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) technology which is facilitated by the use of smartphones, cheap bandwidth and availability of big data analytics.  Internet of Things (IoT) has been described as an ‘integrated part of Future Internet where physical and virtual ” things ” have identities and are seamlessly integrated into the information network’ (Ndubuaku and Okereafor, 2015, p23). IoT technology is being adopted to create smart homes, smart environment, connected automobiles, wearables and industrial internet. Thus, providing solutions to areas from energy efficiency and health to improving aspects of our daily life.

Due to the increased affordability of smartphones, there is wide penetration of smartphones across both developed and developing regions of the world. Smartphone applications are becoming more sophisticated and providing applications across many areas of including healthcare and entertainment. However, competition is strong in the smartphone market. One such company, striving to design and manufacture a new brand of elegantly designed smartphone is Cellfonie, with some users already switching to their new more affordable brand, with a novel patented fun light technology and which comes with a suite of novel applications designed by Cellfonie’s German partner WildFox. Their company founders, Martha and Nneka are female entrepreneurs, who established the company in January 2018 following the launch of their first smartphone the ZebraX. The successful business women are passionate about the potential for smartphones to provide future solutions to healthcare needs and have featured heavily in the media as their smartphone technology has received positive reviews from its users. However, this success may be short lived, as recent complications in the manufacturing processes are resulting in dissatisfied customers and their partner WildFox is voicing concern about their reputation. In today’s environment with the use of social media channels ‘word of mouse’ means communication spreads quickly.

Cellfonie have a production factory in East-Kilbride, Scotland. The ZebraX smartphone is made up of over 600 individual components, and offers flexibility in terms of the colour of the front and back screens with an array of 10 different colour options that customers can choose from. A sophisticated patented light technology lights up the screen border with a disco setting – a novel feature of the ZebraX smartphone, which is attracting customers. The company, currently have 130 staff across areas of production and strive to engage their staff in continuous improvements to deliver the smartphone product to a high level of customer satisfaction. 80 of the staff are trained on part assembly, 10 on warehousing, 30 can operate all of the production machinery with the exception of the microchip technology that requires specialist training and only 3 staff members can operate it.

Martha and Nneka first noticed problems when they received a high number of calls complaining about the time delay in receiving their orders and some ZebraX smartphones arrived not working. Customers of Cellfonie, purchased the phones predominantly due to their affordable price, as well as the variety of choice in colours but having a product they could trust and getting it quickly after placing the order was also high on their list of priorities.  Cellfonie take pride in being able to deliver the ZebraZ within 3 working days of the customer placing the order but orders were recently taking up to 10 days to deliver.

Cellfonie have an exclusive agreement with a small company Lightronics, in China, who produce the components for their patented light technology. However, due to illness, their current supply to Cellfonie has been delayed. Similarly, the smartphone screens were being produced by a company in London who had been sending cracked screens, which had to be returned and replaced, causing yet further delays. The rest of the parts were modular and fitted into all of their ZebraX model.

Customer complaints have also included; late delivery of their orders, incorrect orders being shipped and defects in the products received. Some defects are caused by damage during transportation and others occurred during the production process.

The layout of the production facility is two separate areas of production to cater for the basic components’ assembly and the more sophisticated parts assembly areas but with a centralised sales department. Some staff in parts assembly, have voiced stress in relation to waiting for parts to arrive and then undergo further adaptions, before being available to them in, adding further time to the production process. Staff are also constantly slowed down as the tools they need to complete the assembly keep going missing and their workspace is constantly messy from the previous workers who were on night shift.

The company have recruited 10 new staff members who are on part-time contracts to cope with the increase in production as sales have increased and they forecast a 10% increase in the next 6 months. The company use enterprise resource planning (ERP) business process management software which contains information about the business’ sales and distribution, materials management, production planning, logistics execution and quality management.  However, there have been problems with the information on the system being inaccurate. Only the management staff have access to the system and due to high workloads, managers are not always kept up to date and so the production staff are unable to trust the system. The ERP system creates work orders for each part number in the bill of materials. Department supervisors determine the order in which to process the jobs, since the system does not prioritise the work orders.   They are building a large number of partly build ZebraX smartphones, with 50 open work orders, that are taking up a lot of space in the assembly area. In addition, 50% of the floor space is being used to hold inventory of the over 600 component parts, except the patented light technology and screens which are currently on backorder but due any day now.

The Operations Manager has commented;

The suppliers are constantly letting us down, they say that materials are on their way and we find out later they have not left their factory and when they do arrive some parts are broken. We just cannot trust them and communication is breaking down’

The work centres are located at the back of the warehouse, with sales offices in between and the inventory located at the other end of the warehouse. Employees are complaining that they have to walk a distance to pick up some of the core parts needed for production. The parts are picked up and set down numerous times during the manufacturing process. New large automated machines are sitting idle, waiting for smaller machines to finish processing jobs.  The plant manager has commented;

‘my staff are under increased pressure and we realise that we are not being efficient with our machining. My staff are not planning the order to use the machines and so are sitting waiting a lot of the time, wasting crucial time. The orders are being delayed and customers are complaining’

The Operations Manager is notably concerned about letting down their customers and their reputation being affected. Assessment Criteria: marks will be awarded to your report for the following areas, a rubric will be provided to give a clearer idea of the marking criteria for each section:

Section Mark
Title Page
Your name and student number; Programme/degree title; module title and code, year, name of assessment; word count
 
1.       Executive Summary (not included in the word count)

An Executive summary is a short section of a document, produced for business purposes, that summarises the report in such a way that readers can rapidly become acquainted with the body of material without having to read it all. It should be written in past tense and be insightful, you could reflect on the content at the end for more merit.

A concise but well-rounded summary of the key points from each section of the report. It should appear before the contents page. ½ to a full page in length.

NOTE: This should not be an outline of contents

5%
Contents Page
List of content together with page numbers (aligned)
 
2.       Introduction to the Report

An introduction covering the background to the report (e.g. key concepts such as Operations management focus/Lean management), introduce the company and the intent of the report.

Leading to the scope of your report (i.e. the key areas/themes that you will cover – remember you cannot cover everything in the word limit, so suggest areas of focus) and how you are going to tackle it.

 

10%

3.       Operations Performance Objectives

Operations are judged by the way they perform; consider what Cellfonie needs to do to satisfy their customers by making reference to the Operations Performance Objectives; Quality, Speed, Dependability, Flexibility and Cost (Support with relevant theory/research).

10%
4.                   Operations Management Issues affecting the Organisation
Critically discuss the problems which are affecting operations within Malek Safety First in relation to planning and control of their operations. There are a lot of factors to consider e.g. inventory, warehouse layout, supplier relations, ERP system etc. and different sources of waste – you cannot cover them all, it is better to choose a few and integrate your discussion with literature.  (Support with relevant theory/research). More merit is gained by engaging in a critical discussion.

 

Your report should demonstrate the depth and breadth of your understanding by applying relevant theory and to critically evaluate where the problems lie. Provide examples to link theory and practice.

25%
5.       Application of Lean Management principles

Using examples from the case study explain how the principles and tools of Lean Management could address operational problems (e.g. voice of the customer, mapping the value stream, create flow, establish pull, Strive for Perfection).  Could a JIT (just-in-time) system simplify business processes for Cellfonie? (Support with relevant theory/research). Again, you do not need to cover all areas, state in your introduction where your focus will be and engage in critical discussion.

Your report should demonstrate the depth and breadth of your understanding by applying relevant theory and you must demonstrate that you can critically analyse by bringing in examples provided in the case study. This will demonstrate your ability to link theory and practice and your analytical skills.

25%
6.       Conclusion and Recommendations (15%)

Conclude by summarising the key points from the report bringing cyclical closure to your discussion.

Provide recommendations on how the company can improve their current operations to ensure that the organisation can satisfy customer expectations.   You may wish to reflect if the organisation is ready to implement a JIT system, try to provide some critical reflection here.

 

15%
References

As well as providing citations within the text you must produce an alphabetical list of all sources cited within the body of the report. References must use Harvard conventions and should demonstrate breadth and depth of reading.

For guidance, students tend to use between 10 and 30 references, the quality and relevance of the reference is as important as the quantity. Academic sources are essential at this level.

You can consult the GCU Library Harvard referencing guide: http://www.gcu.ac.uk/library/subjecthelp/referencing/harvardreferencing/

10%
Appendices (if any)  
Total 100%