Graduate Diploma in Purchasing and Supply - CIPS and qualify/L6-03 SA Report... · Graduate Diploma in Purchasing and Supply Supply Chain Management in Practice L6-03 ... in the case

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  • Graduate Diploma in Purchasing and Supply

    Supply Chain Management in Practice


    Senior Assessors Report

    Nov 2008




    L6-03/SA report/Nov 2008 1

  • INFORMATION FOR CANDIDATES The senior assessors report is written in order to provide candidates with feedback relating to the examination. It is designed as a tool for candidates both those who have sat the examination and those who wish to use as part of their revision for future examinations. Candidates are advised to refer to the Examination Techniques Guide (see the following link as well as this senior assessors report. The senior assessors report aims to provide the following information:

    An indication of how to approach the examination question An indication of the points the answer should include An indication of candidate performance for the examination question

    The unit content reference for each question highlights the learning objectives of the unit content that each question is testing. The unit content guides are available to download at the following link: ADDITIONAL SOURCES OF INFORMATION The Supply Management magazine is a useful source of information and candidates are advised to include it in their reading during their study. Please see the following link to the Supply Management website

    L6-03/SA Report/Nov 2008 2

  • OVERVIEW OF THE SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT IN PRACTICE CASE STUDY EXAMINATION The L6-03 Supply Chain Management in Practice unit case study approach is designed to facilitate hands-on experience of complex supply chain issues by replicating a real-life situation in a controlled environment. It enables candidates to demonstrate a wider understanding of supply chain issues by examining how a range of concepts and principles can be applied to real-world problems and situations in order to improve best practice. The unit is designed to test candidates' ability to analyse supply chain situations and to write clearly and effectively about them. The examination draws upon material from the other two core units at Level 6 (L6-01 Leading and Influencing in Purchasing and L6-02 Strategic Supply Chain Management). Furthermore the content of the Level 5 core units is assumed to be underpinning knowledge. The case study was based on factual information available in the public domain and provided a good example of a number of complex supply chain issues for candidates to consider. Real-world problems and situations are often extremely wide ranging and generalised hence the case study provided an opportunity for candidates to explore the issues raised by the case. Candidates were given four weeks to research and explore such issues as they prepare for the three hour open book examination in Supply Chain Management in Practice.

    L6-03/SA Report/Nov 2008 3

  • Question 1 (25 marks) Evaluate the different leadership styles of Sir Richard Greenbury and Sir Stuart Rose. Candidates are required to evaluate the different leadership styles of Sir Richard Greenbury and Sir Stuart Rose. The question aims to test candidates ability to evaluate different leadership styles. Unit Content Reference(s): LO 1.2, 1.3 and 1.4 from L6-01

    Answers might include:

    Candidates need to restrict their responses to the facts and evidence provided within the case study, rather than using unsubstantiated sources of information from elsewhere.

    Rose and Greenbury have held similar roles, adopted similar strategies and achieved similar results within M&S, albeit operating at different eras in the companys development.

    Greenbury could be considered to be a solo leader with an increasingly autocratic leadership style in his tenure from 1991 to 1999. The style could be likened to that of Margaret Thatcher in that he gathered supporters around him and strongly opposed alternative views, thus ultimately creating an increasingly powerful and isolated position of leadership within the M&S Board.

    Other aspects of Greenburys leadership included the influence of his personal beliefs and values on product choice, strategy, international presence, store locations, choices of supplier and adoption of supply chain strategy. Such an approach restricts the headroom / freedom of other directors and senior managers and ultimately reduces the effectiveness with which they are able to operate.

    Greenburys leadership was also characterised by boardroom politics behind his back.

    Contrasting this style is Roses appearance of being more inclusive, engaging and open. Rose adopts a selling style of leadership he is certainly not laissez-faire, democratic or autocratic (such responses would be incorrect)

    Rose appears to be supportive of his staff (such as Bostock) and also willing to engage others for the skills and capabilities they bring to M&S (such as Bostock or Sharp) thus taking more of a team approach to support his leadership. Rose is also clearly compelled by CSR and M&S position in the environment.

    That said, in the case study Rose does not appear to have an immediate natural successor, possibly suggesting that, he too, takes a power-based approach to his leadership

    L6-03/SA Report/Nov 2008 4

  • Both leaders have come under scrutiny for their roles under the rules of the code of practice for corporate governance and better responses should draw on this as evidence to support their answers

    It should be noted that this question requires an evaluation. There is no requirement for candidates to regurgitate academic theory and so such responses can be seen to be complementary to the core requirement of the question. Similarly, in their evaluation, candidates should avoid lengthy descriptions or repetition of case study text.

    The majority of candidates tackled this question quite well. However, there tended to be a focus on Greenbury rather than Rose. Further, a significant number of candidates portrayed both leaders in the context of either good guy, bad guy. In terms of the content of the answer, many candidates covered most of the issues stated above with particular reference to an evaluation of the different leadership styles. High marks were gained by those who recognised that the leadership styles of both men changed over time for various reasons, not least with regard to the issues they were presented with at different times during their careers. Although many candidates referred to most of the key issues detailed above, very few made reference to the important points relating to the code of practice for corporate governance and the lack of adequate succession planning, for example, Rose did not appear to have an immediate natural successor, this issue being worthy of debate in the context of his approach to leadership. The question was looking for practical examples of the different leadership styles from the many factors presented in the case. However, many candidates devoted large parts of their answers to producing lots of theory on leadership. It was helpful to briefly mention relevant theory but then to get on to the main part of the answer as clearly specified in the question. Few candidates identified the adaptability of both leaders when it came to styles. The styles of leadership for both individuals did not remain the same during their tenures. It changed for different reasons, sometimes depending on circumstances sometimes on the length of tenure. Candidates earned high marks for recognising this facet. It was noticeable that some candidates continued to repeat extracts from the case study; this does not gain marks. Question 2(a) (15 Marks) In the context of Marks & Spencers supply chain, appraise the merits of lean versus agile supply. Candidates are required to appraise the merits of lean versus agile supply in the context of M&S supply chain. The question aims to test candidates knowledge and application of lean and agile supply chains.

    L6-03/SA Report/Nov 2008 5

  • Unit Content Reference(s): LO 4.0, 5.0 and 6.0 from L6-02 Answers might include:

    The question requires an appraisal of the merits of lean and agile supply in the context of M&S supply chain, rather than a description of lean, agile or M&S supply chain management approach.

    The merits of lean supply are associated with customer value and efficiency, where a company can operate in a stable long-term predictable context to deliver added-value and efficiency for the benefit of their customers.

    Arguably M&S supply chain in the 1980s and 1990s attempted to achieve this with its long-term stable supply relationships [like a marriage], highly predictable demand, high volumes and long-term orientation.

    By contrast, the merits of agile are associated with customer responsiveness and the speed at which it can rapidly supply changes in demand.

    Arguably, Rose and Bostock have initiated an agile approach to managing the M&S supply chain in recent years (for example by substantially reducing the lead time etc).

    Lean and agile operate effectively in different contexts (as suggested by Christopher, 2002) and thus it is not necessarily possible for an organisation like M&S to satisfy both supply chain goals.

    Candidates are required to provide an appraisal of these merits, rather than a blanket description of the theories or repetition of case study text.

    Although some candidates produced a lot of general information on lean and agile supply, the majority referred to some of the key issues detailed above. Similarly, most candidates did examine the merits of both types of supply directly in the context of M&S rather than providing irrelevant general explanations. Additionally, it was recognised that the business had developed and changed over time and consequently the supply chain had also to adapt and change. High marks were achieved by those candidates who recognised that M&S operated in various market segments and that customer expectations also varied. Consequently, the type of supply had to be flexible dependant upon these circumstances and that these had to be kept under constant review. A significant number of candidates concentrated on this part of the question and did not devote enough time and effort to part (b). Indeed, some relatively high performing candidates did not answer part (b). There were some candidates who did not either read or understand the question. The merits of lean and/or agile supply needed to be examined in the context of M&S, not from a general point of view; in some answers, M&S was not referred. As with question 1, there was too much referral to theory.

    L6-03/SA Report/Nov 2008 6

  • Question 2 (b) (10 marks) Recommend and justify which supply chain management model best suits Marks & Spencer.

    Candidates are required to recommend and justify which supply chain management model best suits M&S in the current business climate. The question aims to test candidates application of supply chain management theory. Unit Content Reference(s): LO 6.0 from L6-02 Answers might include:

    Candidates should recognise that both supply chain management models have merits and both models can deliver benefit to M&S.

    Given the current business climate of consumer fickleness and changing demand, a responsive agile supply chain management model would seem to be more appropriate.

    Candidates need to support their recommendation with justification and the justification should comprise at least half the marks available in this question.

    Agile supply works best where there is high variety and little predictability in demand, such as that currently found in high street fashion retail. M&S needs to respond rapidly to changes in design and consumer taste and have its supply chain deliver new modern products to the stores in a competitively quick response time. On this basis, an agile supply chain management model is best justified.

    A significant number of candidates adequately debated the merits of either or both supply chain models in the context of contemporary M&S operations. Part (a) of this question would have given candidates a clue as to what the assessor was seeking in terms of recommending a suitable supply chain model although some candidates did not identify this. Many candidates recognised that M&S was increasingly having to meet different and changing demands from its customers and competition and as such had to adapt its supply chain to meet these challenges. The company operated in different markets that resulted in supply chains having to produce goods and services that were responsive, competitive and represented value for money. This dynamism was recognised by those candidates who promoted a hybrid supply chain model by providing specific and relevant examples ranging from clothing to foodstuffs. As stated previously, many candidates did not devote enough time and effort to this part of the question. Some candidates did not seem to understand the distinction between lean and agile supply, for example, some recommended lean supply, sometimes for the wrong reasons, and then provided a description of agile supply. Further, although the first part of the question would have provided the candidate with a strong clue as to the types of supply

    L6-03/SA Report/Nov 2008 7

  • chain model that the assessor was seeking, some produced models that were unsuitable to the business and were neither lean nor agile. A significant number of candidates did not cross out their rough workings/notes, do so or it will be regarded as part of the answer. Some questions were either incorrectly numbered or not numbered at all; this can cause confusion during the assessment process. Question No. 3 (a) (15 marks) Analyse the forces for and against change at the start of Roses tenure as Chief Executive. Candidates are required to analyse the forces for and against change at the start of Roses tenure as chief executive of M&S. The question aims to test candidates application of forcefield analysis Unit Content Reference(s): LO 4.2 from L6-01. Answers might include:

    Candidates might refer to Lewins forcefield analysis (1947) but they are not required to draw the model or to explain it in any detail. Similarly, Lewins model of behavioural modification (unfreezing, modifying and refreezing, etc) is irrelevant to the demands of this question.

    Driving forces in support of change included: Greens take-over bid, fear of job losses, Roses previous success of turnaround, the falling share price, pressure from the City analysts to improve company performance, shareholder support for Rose and the appeal of traditional M&S heritage.

    Forces against change at the start of Roses tenure were very few and this is a point that candidates should develop when presenting their analysis thus making the situation almost overwhelmingly in favour of change.

    Arguably, the faltering share price, over-stocking and inert supply chain made M&S harder to change but these forces were not opposing change; they simply restrained the speed at which Rose could implement change.

    The majority of candidates referred to Lewin to enable their answers to be structured whilst not going into great theoretical detail on Forcefield Analysis. For those who attempted this question, part (a) was answered quite well with a significant number of forces for and against change being identified. In addition to the above, some candidates identified a number of further forces for change such as pressure from staff, customers and shareholders as well as the need to turn round M&S due to diminishing prestige and image. In terms of forces against change, some responses identified such issues as tradition, staff resistance and city analysts (as well as those that would for change).

    L6-03/SA Report/Nov 2008 8

  • Some answers provided details of the corporate changes that M&S were experiencing rather than the forces for and against change; this suggested that the question had not been understood. Another feature that was noticed for this question was the use of bullet points. This provided a brief outline of the forces for and against change but no depth of understanding in terms of an analysis. Bullet points alone are not sufficient for an examination at this level; answers are too brief and do not fully address the question. Question 3 (b) (10 Marks) Assess the extent to which the turnaround by Rose could be considered transactional or transformational change. Candidates are required to assess the extent to which the turnaround by Rose could be considered transactional or transformational change. The question aims to test candidates understanding of different forms of change management Unit Content Reference(s): LO 4.1 from L6-01 and LO 2.3 from L6-02. Answers might include:

    M&S change under Rose has had a broad scope across the whole organisation and yet has been undertaken by Rose in a series of multiple incremental steps. This would be classed as evolutionary change by Balogun and Hope Hailey (1998).

    There are arguments to suggest this change is transformational in that it has affected every single aspect of M&S operations. It has also been conducted in a relatively short timescale.

    However, there is no single event that has caused the change it is not big bang as such, rather it appears to have a large number of incremental steps performed under control and at pace within a relatively short timeframe; arguably this is transactional change too.

    Candidates are required to assess the extent to which the turnaround is one or the other but in their responses they could also argue that it is both. Better responses will take on board all these factors in their assessment.

    Some candidates were severely challenged by this question, however for the minority of candidates who did tackle it reference was made to Balogun and to the distinct features of both types of change. Some achieved reasonably high marks where it was identified and debated that both types of change were applicable to M&S over time depending on circumstances and the urgency or otherwise of effecting change for the business. Many candidates struggled with this part of the question and some did not attempt it.

    L6-03/SA Report/Nov 2008 9

  • A few answers tended to be quite brief and consisted of mainly theory with little relevance to the case. It was clear that quite a few candidates did not understand the meaning of these types of change and therefore struggled. Most went for transformational change but then described a range of changes, some of which could be regarded as transactional. This part of the paper presented candidates with the most challenges although credit was given to those attempting to identify the timescale and impact of the various changes to the business. Question 4 (25 Marks) Evaluate the strategies of Marks & Spencer under both Greenbury and Rose. Candidates are required to evaluate the strategies of M&S under both Greenbury and Rose. The question aims to test candidates ability to evaluate different types of growth strategy. Unit Content Reference(s): LO 1.0 from L6-02 Answers might include:

    Candidates should note that both Greenbury and Rose adopted strategies for growth. Both leaders were home grown talent from within M&S and therefore were very familiar with M&S traditions, culture and historical successes and this may have had a positive influence on their strategies.

    Ansoffs model of strategic directions could be used by candidates to support their responses to this question although this is not essential and alternative strategic models, with the appropriate justification, should be equally considered.

    Using Ansoffs quadrants, M&S pursued activity in all four quadrants: Market penetration under both Greenbury and Rose, M&S opened new stores within its domestic markets and aimed to increase its market share. Under Greenbury, M&S pursued larger out-of-town stores to attract more customers in keeping with the trend to move to edge of town locations at the time. He also encouraged the selectors to buy product narrow and deep (i.e. within the existing product range and brand image). Similarly, Rose pursued a strategy of growth in home markets by opening an increasing number of stores particularly the Your M&S food stores. He has also opened up new sales channels, such as the integrated on-line shopping site. Market development Greenbury pursued a vigorous campaign to open up new stores in various international locations and thus develop new markets for the same product range. Rose has pursued a similar strategy but less vigorously (at the time of writing the case) he has maintained the existing portfolio without substantial expansion.

    L6-03/SA Report/Nov 2008 10

  • (Although shortly after preparing this paper, Rose announced a joint venture expansion plan in India.)

    Product development Greenbury was arguably more cautious in this area, although he took a strong personal (often over-bearing) interest in new product. Rose has been more aggressive in opening up new product to M&S customers and offering them wider choice. However, Rose has also been keen to maintain a degree of focus among the product variety maintaining brand identity and association, rather than allowing individual business divisions to do their own thing. Diversification Greenbury maintained the M&S Financial Services business (related diversification), whereas Rose was quick to divest these activities.

    Arguably, both leaders have pursued similar strategies, although there are some principal differences. Greenbury seemed to be focused on driving for short-term profit maximisation and therefore allowed many activities to develop in order to return revenue by any means. However Rose has taken a far more focused approach to developing the existing product ranges and markets. In divesting the related products from Financial Services, Rose has demonstrated his intentions to maintain a strong brand identity and a concentration on core business. Candidates are required to produce an evaluation of the strategies of Greenbury and Rose, rather than a description or repetition of theory / the case study text. Marks should therefore be achieved for well reasoned arguments and a link to strategic understanding. Although few answers were structured around Ansoffs quadrants, a significant number did identify and evaluate the strategies pursued by both leaders. There was generally a good understanding of these strategies and their impacts on the various market segments. Responses included a number of good examples from the case to support their evaluations with reasons for pursuing the strategies over time. Although both leaders pursued different strategies, answers also identified similarities. Candidates generally understood basic marketing theories and applied these directly with relevance to the case. This question was attempted quite thoroughly and well. As a consequence of not formulating their answers around Ansoffs quadrants, some candidates provided unstructured responses that did not make it clear which strategies were being pursued by M&S. Some of these unstructured answers also consisted of extracts from the case. The main issue with this question is the structure of the answer. Candidates had two key points to consider in formulating the structure, the leaders and then the strategies. Thorough preparation of the answer, clearly identified in the question, provides the candidate with the framework for the answer from which the strategies can then be evaluated.

    L6-03/SA Report/Nov 2008 11

  • General Comments Those candidates who did not achieve a pass grade tended to write very brief answers or answers that did not deal with the question set, either in whole or significant part; the challenges presented might be due to a lack of preparation prior to the examination. There were a few candidates who, on the basis of their answers, did not appear to have studied all the core subjects. It is strongly recommended that these be studied prior to attempting the case study examination. Time management was an issue with what appeared to be too much time being spent on question one, to the detriment of the final question attempted. There were many signposts in the case study as to where the questions would be asked. A thorough reading would indicate the sort of problems that the company and the market faced: they would solve these problems by effective management skills allied to good systems, not by theoretical models out of textbooks. To assist those who now wish to re-sit the examination, the following is recommended:

    look for the signpost have a structured answer plan develop the principles of time management always relate the answer to the case study and do not answer from a purely

    theoretical point of view.

    L6-03/SA Report/Nov 2008 12

    Question 2(a)Question 2 (b)Question No. 3 (a)Question 3 (b)Question 4