Management Essay Assignment on Lean philosophy

Operations Management

 Individual Coursework Assignment


The assignment will provide you with an opportunity to apply some of the knowledge you will have gained across the module thus far and also to develop your management thinking through a discourse based on a topical Operations Management dilemma.

Coursework Brief

 A ‘Lean’ approach to managing an operation is typified for example, by features such as maintaining minimal product/component inventories and reliance on single-source suppliers.

Under normal circumstances such a strategy has proved successful in increasing efficiency, reducing capital tied up in stock holdings, developing supplier relationships, etc.

However, sudden, sustained, and unforeseen shocks to the pattern of demand or supply (or both) in a ‘Lean’ oriented system, can lead to catastrophic and immediate issues which are not easily resolved.

Using both the examples of the ‘triple disaster (tsunami, earthquake, and nuclear accident) which affected Japanese firms in March 2011 and supply/demand problems experienced globally by companies during the COVID-19 pandemic, discuss whether (and how) aspects of the ‘Lean’ philosophy now need to be revised in light of proven shortcomings.

Your discussion must draw on a wide variety of credible, academic, and industry sources.

Key marking criteria will include:

  • Assignment Structure: clarity and professionalism of structure and presentation
  • Quality of Writing: Readability and the ability to convey the key message(s) concisely.
  • Understanding: your ability to identify and link together, all of the key issues present/identified.
  • The insightfulness of Analysis: Interest and usefulness of findings, conclusions drawn and the validity of recommendations posited.
  • Credibility: your ability to research and utilize valid and credible sources.
  • Overall: the general quality of the assignment

Notes on Style and Word Count

 Practice will pay dividends when it comes to honing your skills in report and essay writing. Students are therefore encouraged to submit the highest quality work they can to reach their maximum potential. Students with concerns about how to present their work can consult with the Module Co-ordinator for guidance in addition to the notes listed below:

The maximum word limit for the main assignment (excluding tables, contents page, footnotes, charts, graphs, figures, reference lists but including in-text references) is 2500 words. The word count must be stated in the assignment cover sheet.

Markers will stop marking once the word count [or time limit] limit has been reached, likely leading to a reduced overall mark as key arguments or conclusions will not be included in the marked work.

Students who submit work that is below the word limit will not be penalized. This is because students will not have taken full advantage of the word limit available to them, which in itself may constitute a penalty.

The assignment should be in extended essay format (i.e. use headings/sub-headings). Full academic referencing using the Harvard APA (7th Edition) referencing style should be used throughout the assignment. Guidance on how to reference using the APA style can be found at:

APA Referencing Guide:

To gain higher marks students are required to show analysis and reflection rather than simple description. They should use multiple sources of academic literature to frame and justify their analysis. All sources should be correctly identified – students are reminded the University enforces strict penalties for plagiarism (up to and including withdrawal from the University).

Correct English spelling and grammar should be used at all times. Students who have been formally diagnosed with specific learning difficulties (SpLD) and assessed by the Disability Office should indicate ‘SpLD’ on the Student Declaration form included with their coursework submission.