Swinburne University of Technology School of Business and Law INF80028 – Business Process Management Summer 2018 Assignment 1 Analysing AS-IS Business Processes for Equipment, materials and service acquisition process at Somewhere
Assignments One, Two & Three Case Study Description
Case Study: Equipment, materials and service acquisition at Somewhere University
Somewhere University has been providing education for over 50 years, and currently provides for 20,000 students. Numbers of students and staff are increasing. In order to produce a high- level education service to their students and provide quality support to their staff, the university management team believe that increasing the emphasis on Business Process Management (BPM) is the most important requirement. This means that BPM initiatives have to be implemented on a university-wide level in an effort to establish a process infrastructure and a process improvement culture.
To best achieve their strategy ideas, they follow BPM life cycles which includes process identification, discovery, analysis, redesign, implementation and monitoring and controlling.
Presume that they have already completed process identification and process discovery, and designed a clear process map which includes all level of processes. Now they move on to process analysis and redesign stage. This case focuses on one of the support process’ (Equipment, materials and service acquisition at Somewhere University) analysis and redesign. Below are details of the current process description and current issues/problems. Please read the case and refer to the assignments 1, 2, & 3 for detailed tasks.
For the Somewhere university culture and structure, you can use Swinburne as an example. From Swinburne website, you should be able to get basic, relevant information.
Current process description
Employees, both academic and administrative, of Somewhere University require the University to purchase equipment, materials or services on their behalf.
An employee first fills in and signs a paper form that specifies a description of the goods or services required, the quality, the desired delivery date and the approximate cost. The employee can also nominate a specific supplier. Employees often request quotes from vendors to get the exact specifications of the product they require. If a quote is supplied, it is attached to the purchase requisition form when it is submitted.
The employee makes two photocopies, one for each of two managers, the Financial Manager and Procurement Manager to amend if appropriate. The Financial Manager attaches a budget line to cover the cost. The Procurement Manager locates the University’s policy that covers the proposed purchase. Both managers need to acknowledge the proposed purchase before the purchase requisition can proceed.
The Financial and Procurement Managers must return the purchase request to the employee. Once both are obtained, the employee forwards the request with amendments to the Purchasing Department. Employees usually make a copy of the request and approvals for their own record, in case the originals get lost. Please note that both the Financial Manager and the Procurement Manager must approve the employee’s purchase requisition. If either of them fails to approve the purchase requisition, the employee advises the other of the cancellation. The employee is then free to resubmit if required.
The Purchase clerk enters the purchase requisition into the University’s Enterprise System. If the employee has not nominated any vendors, the clerk will select one from the master vendor List in the Enterprise System (ES). If the employee has recommended an unknown vendor, an agreement has to be negotiated. This is done via a different process.
Sometimes the initial quote is absent or has expired in the meantime. In this case the clerk will have to get a new quote from the vendor. Once the vendor is registered in the ES, this can be done online, but it still may be some time before the quote comes through.
Once the quote is available, the clerk enters it and the ES generates a purchase order. Some vendors accept electronic purchase orders in a standard format, but others require a fax or hardcopy. Either way, the ES produces an electronic, fax or hardcopy form, which is sent to the vendor.
Material goods are always delivered to the Goods Receipt Department. When goods arrive, a clerk at this Department retrieves the corresponding purchase order from the ES. If a purchase order cannot be found, the shipment is returned to the vendor.
The clerk checks the quality and quantity. If there are any significant issues with the goods, the clerk cancels the purchase order in the ES, returns the goods to the vendor and advises both the employee, who made the original request and the Accounts Payable Office that the purchase is cancelled. Accounts Payable then know not to pay any invoice. Otherwise, the shipment is then delivered to the department of the employee through the internal mail and parcel service. The employee is notified they can collect the item from the mail drop in their department.
Once the employee acknowledges delivery, the Goods Receipt clerk generates a goods receipt form from the ES and forwards it to the Accounts Payable Office.
Meanwhile, the vendor sends an invoice for the goods to the University. Sometimes the invoice is included with the goods. Sometimes it is sent separately. Either way, it finds its way to the Accounts Payable Office. The invoice can arrive at any time after the purchase order has been sent, so in fact, it is possible that the Accounts Payable Office can receive the invoice before the goods receipt form. An Accounts Payable clerk attempts to find a matching purchase order in the ES. If not found, the clerk returns the invoice to the vendor unpaid.
Eventually, an Accounts Payable clerk compares the purchase order with the goods receipt form and the invoice. This is called “three-way matching”. When matched, the clerk is authorised to pay the vendor. Vendors often give a discount for early payment, so the amount payable may depend on time issues. Sometime this grace period expires.
Once payment is authorised, the clerk initiates a bank transfer to the vendor’s bank. A payment notice is also sent to the vendor. Payment is not confirmed finally until a receipt is received from the vendor.
Two weeks before the end of the financial year, if there are any purchase orders older than one month for which delivery has been received, but invoices have not yet been received, an Accounts Payable clerk sends out a request for invoice to the vendor. If an invoice is not received within two weeks, the PO is cancelled.
If the item requested is not material goods, but a digital artefact or service, it is delivered directly to the employee who requested the item. In this case, there is no goods receipt form. Once the Accounts Payable clerk receives an invoice and matches it to a purchase order, he asks the employee to confirm that the artefact or service has been satisfactorily received. If so, the clerk can go ahead with payment. However, the ES has not been updated. The Accounts Payable clerk advises the Goods Receipt Department that the item has been received so they can update the ES. A goods receipt form is automatically generated and discarded.
The employee can stipulate a time period, after which, if the item has not been received it would no longer be required. If the time period expires before the item has been ordered, the purchase requisition is cancelled and the employee is notified. If the time period expires after the item has been ordered but before it is received at the Goods Receipt Department, the purchase order is cancelled and both the vendor and the employee are notified. Otherwise, the goods are delivered as normal, even if the expiry time has elapsed before the employee receives the goods. Any invoice for which the PR has expired before goods have been received is just ignored.
Key issues and Problems
There are many issues and problems facing the current business process.
- Not always do both Financial Manager and Procurement Manager give approval. After one manager has rejected an application, the other one may still remain needlessly in the process until notice of the one’s rejection has arrived.
- For relatively inexpensive items, say under $100, the cost of managers administering the approvals tends to outweigh the cost of the items. However even for such items, the expense still needs to be independently authorised.
- Goods Receipt department has come under pressure to cut costs. Staff have now been cut to the bone. Most goods just pass through the department without change. Many defective goods are detected as unsatisfactory only after being received by the ordering employee. Except for very large items that cannot be sent through the internal mail, routing all deliveries through Goods Receipt department seems to add further delays to the process.
- Many vendors now offer Internet purchase with guaranteed Quality of Service. If purchased by electronic auction, prices are often better than in catalogues, however such purchases must be prepaid. All the employee needs is a credit card number from his Financial Manager. Can this option be implemented securely?
- When an employee calls in to query the status of their purchase order, the call is usually taken by one of the clerks in the Purchasing Department. Each purchase order has been logged in the ES, so he verifies the purchase order has been received from the employee. Once found he has to find whether or not the goods have arrived. Only after the Goods Receipt clerk has generated a goods receipt form is the arrival logged in the ES. In which case the employee has to call the Goods Receipt Department to find out if any clerk there has yet received the goods.
- After approval from both managers, the employee’s purchase requisition comes back to them to assemble the application. This is necessary in case the requisition application is lost. For example, Accounts Payable need the Financial Manager’s approval to make payments. This should arrive with the goods receipt form. If it is missing, the employee has to provide a copy. All this paper shuffling is confusing and unreliable.
- Once a purchase order reaches its expiry date, the Goods Receipt clerk sends a cancellation notice to the vendor and at the same time cancels the invoice in the ES. However, the clerk his required to do periodic checks for expired POs, usually only once a week. Sometimes therefore, goods arrive long after they were needed.
- Some suppliers offer generous early-bird discounts, say 5% if the invoice is paid within 7 days of being issued, but in the case of services, verifying successful delivery with the employee is lengthy, the Accounts Payable department hardly ever meets the deadline.
- The Purchase Order department has found over time that that the bulk of purchase orders are for very common items such as ergonomic chairs, tablet computers or conference travel. Many vendors give generous discounts for bulk contracts. However, the standard SU Acquisition process only covers individual items. For such common items, staff time could perhaps be saved in decision-making and billing, for bulk deliveries.
- Sally, an experienced Purchase Order clerk has gained the trust of a number of major suppliers of Science and Engineering Lab equipment. This is valuable because they give her priority by providing prompt and reliable delivery. Other staff in the department do not have the knowledge and special relationship with such suppliers. If Sally is busy procuring other orders when orders for lab equipment come in, the job goes to other staff.
- Requests for small specialised stationery items are the most common and should be quick to process. Yet for employees requesting stationery items at short notice, these requests sometimes fail because they expire well before the goods arrive.
- It is very expensive and inconvenient to have bulky engineering equipment delivered only to find it was unacceptable to the employee and had to be returned. If the employee could vet the order for large items before it was sent, this might save time and money.
- It is not uncommon for a purchase requisition to come before a Purchase Order clerk for items so poorly described, it is not possible to find a match in the ES. In such cases, the clerk has to call the employee to for clarification. Many suppliers are now providing electronic RSS feeds to update their catalogues to which anybody can subscribe.
- There are now a number of Educational Supplies brokers in the marketplace that will source materials and equipment and make recommendations. Some other educational institutions are using these services, as their rates are very reasonable.
- Each faculty of the University tends to have different needs. For example, the needs of the Arts Faculty are quite different from Engineering. It takes time to train Purchase Order clerks in certain supply areas such as specialized laboratory glassware, hazardous chemicals, archeological tools or Antarctic exploration vessels. It is not possible to train everybody in every kind of supply.
- Somewhere University have acquired a new campus. The campus was previously owned by Degree Warehouse Institute. Somewhere University took over them largely to acquire their customer and supplier base. Eventually Somewhere University wants to integrate Degree Warehouse Institute’s processes with their own, but in the meantime they have to run separately, but allowing all customers access to products of both.
- A small but growing number of suppliers are providing web service interfaces for the receiving of orders and payment of invoices. They expect their customers to reciprocate by providing web-services for receiving invoices. Horst Heckelhumfp, the Somewhere University Business Manager believes the institution should take advantage of these kinds of services, but he is getting advice from his IT consultant that the cost of reprogramming their applications would be prohibitive.
- Some Goods Receipt clerks often just rubber-stamp the validity of goods delivered because they believe the employee will check the goods. On the other hand, employees, under time pressure sometimes delay checking goods in the belief any problems would have been picked up in the Goods Receipt department.
- Horst Heckelhumfp, is aware that there are problems with the Equipment, Materials and Service Acquisition processes at Somewhere University. He has sought the advice of a number of process improvement consultants. He has stipulated that any new solution must work in conjunction with the existing ES system. He is concerned that new software will not interoperate with the old ES.
- As new budgets commence at the beginning of the financial year, there is a need to get all invoices paid before the end of the financial year while funds still remain. Accounts payable are always in a rush at that time of year. On the other hand , Accounts Payable bill students early in the calendar year.
- Horst Heckelhumfp, is aware employees must receive items in a timely manner, but he suspects that bulk procurement might offset the cost of warehousing for a limited number of common items. However, with the current system it is hard to prove the case for warehousing.
- If an employee from the Purchasing department makes a purchase requisition, he should not be the clerk who makes out the purchase order. Auditors have found some cases of corruption in other organizations. However, policing this rule has been difficult.
- Since Somewhere University acquired Degree Warehouse Institute, they run separate Purchasing and Accounting departments. Purchase requisitions and Invoices still go to the respective campus departments. However, the two campuses have slightly different semesters, so sometimes one campus department is overworked while the other campus is idle.
This assignment requires you to demonstrate your understanding of the basic concepts and context of Business Processes and Business Process Management from both a theoretical and practical level. This is to be done in three stages. Stage 1 (this assignment) simply models the current process of the case you selected, highlights the current problems and suggests areas for potential improvement. If management concur with your report they intend to hire you to complete stage 2 (assignment 2 Part 1) which is to make detailed recommendations for improvement by adopt best practices and methodologies. Final stage, stage 3 (assignment 2 Part 2) which makes detailed recommendation(s) for long term improvement on Design & Execute a Process Automation Solution
Your assignment should be written in the form of a review aimed at the management and staff of the organisation with the current process and the current issues that have been identified. You may agree or disagree with those issues identified in the case study and suggest other issues not identified. There are many issues/problems in the current process. For assignment 1, individual effort, you should provide an overview of all major issues/problems listed in the case file, but only select THREE which you consider to be the most essential to resolve. Discuss this in detail, providing your reasoning. Do not make any specific recommendations at this stage.
The description of the case study processes has been provided to you. However, it may need more information in some sections. At the postgraduate level, you are required to do some research to add detail as necessary to the case we provided. You are allowed to make reasonable assumptions based on your experience and research. All assumptions have to be clearly explained in your report.
You should firstly understand the current process and construct a process model using BPMN level 1 Notation. To make it readable, your model should have a main process and a set of subprocesses. You can also have sub-processes inside sub-processes resulting in a multi-layered design. The number of sub-processes you have depends on your own model design. Each diagram should occupy no more than one page.
Your model of the case study using Level 1 BPM notation must be an AS-IS diagram. Note that some details may not be able to be represented precisely using the level 1 palette. You can list these limitations in the report.
It is always a good idea to use a table(s) to summarize activities for each model (main and sub-process models) – what are the key steps required to complete the activity?
work should include two parts:
Part 1 Business Process Modelling:
- Model the process(es) in BPMN using the BizAgi Modeler. BizAgi Modeler has a report generator that can output in PDF format. However, this utility outputs much more than diagrams. Furthermore, the diagrams are shrunk to fit the report format. It is therefore unsuitable to use the BizAgi Modeler report generator as is. Instead, simply highlight each diagram in BizAgi, copy and paste it into the report, crop and resize.
- Each diagram should occupy no more than one page.
- All diagrams in the file must be printable as is, within margins and all diagram elements legible. Layout your diagrams to ensure all contents are readable when your submission is printed on A4 paper. Check the final result is readable. Indecipherable content cannot be assessed and will attract a mark of zero.
- It is up to you how you structure and layout the process diagram. The diagrams must be formatted in a logical and elegant way. The diagrams should adhere to the qualities mentioned in lectures and must be legal BPMN.
- You must provide the main process and reasonable number (at least 3) of sub-processes.
- The process modelled should match what you have described in your analysis report.
- The views of models must be consistent with each other, enabling the whole analysis to make sense.
Part 2 Report
Your report should be no more than 1500 words +/-10%, and it should:
- describe the organisation, its structure and culture and how these impact on their processes and process re-design projects;
- explain the business process layers (for process layers, we suggest you use a diagram);
- analyse the case current business process(es) by consider all the key issues/problems listed, and select THREE which you consider to be the most essential to resolve and discuss why these issues/problems need to be addressed. What are some of the opportunities if the problem/issue is addressed? Any assumptions? Any limitations? No implementation of recommendation details is required in this stage. The detailed suggested changes will be addressed specifically in the assignment 2.
Please note that you may need research to get further information.
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