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The shadowing exercise requires you to shadow/follow the individual for approximately one-half day, and record all the activities that the person was involved in. You should be briefed in advance of the day’s plans so you would be able to track the day and get the most out of the exercise. The selection of the day is also important. You must do this on a day that is scheduled to be filled with activities and responsibilities. You would have to ask the person questions about the day. In your write-up you must emphasize the challenges facing the person that day, his/her decisions, and the rationale for them. The titles of the people he/she interacts with or meets with and the nature of the meeting and reason for it should also be covered to let the reader know what a typical day for such a person is like. Other questions could attempt to address the individual’s assessment of the job, his or her likes and dislikes of it and the reasons for it, the role it plays within the big picture of the organization, etc.
As a first step in the process and regardless of the form of exercise you plan to do, you must generate a list of at least 30 questions that you plan to ask. These questions are to be turned in by the week five of our class. You must also state which company and/or which individual you have selected for your project.
Your final report must include at a minimum the following information:
a. An introduction providing background information on your visit, your company and your host if relevant,
b. Your report should relate your observations and findings to the material we are discussing this semester. For example, you might want to discuss their forecasting methods and relate them to the methods we have discussed and learned. If a treatment of the facility location strategy is appropriate, you can relate their location strategy to those we have discussed and learned,
c. Part of your report should also address the Ten Critical Decisions of operations management and how your company addresses these. This discussion may be in a variety of forms. You can develop your report around these Ten Critical Decisions, you could simply have a separate section discussing them, etc.,
d. As part of your report, you must demonstrate the application of at least one of the analytical techniques that we have or will study this semester. This could be a forecasting model, scheduling model, etc.
e. You should also comment on and critique the present practices, and suggest what else could be done to improve the operation. Remember that even a farm in a rural area is an operation and can be evaluated as such.
f. You should include a conclusion summarizing the key points of your paper.
g. You can include your set of questions as an appendix if you would like.
h. An Executive Summary is optional, feel free to include one if you would like.
You are to submit this in electronic form. Part of the intent in developing the list of questions is to help you prepare for the actual field exercise. In addition, if properly developed the answers to the questions should help write the final report. In developing the questions, I would suggest focusing on a few key topics and develop a set of questions for each topic. The class is expected to give feedback to you to complete your list and/or modify it. Another reason for sharing questions is so that students get some ideas from each other to incorporate in their own projects.
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