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The Overall Approach: The use of case studies as an instructional method, in general, aims to enhance the learners’ analytical skills and critical thinking capacity. The method involves the discussion, reflection upon, and analysis of, a text or video-based account/narrative (sometimes presented with supplementary information) that has been created based on a ‘real-life’ situation. Learners are expected to: first read and familiarise with the case individually; and then analyse the key issues brought out in the case in small groups, before presenting their findings.
Typically, during the group discussion time, learners draw on:
(i) facts or information provided in the case;
(ii) their previous experience (work or personal),
(iii) and conceptual understanding of the subject matter developed through own readings and participating in online lecture/tutorial sessions.
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Moreover, learner’s reflections on how the issues/material discussed make sense and how the insights gained through the analysis can be applied to a real-world situation in the context of their professional or personal life remain an important part of the overall learning experience. The Process: The process of analysing the case can vary somewhat depending on the discipline area it is used in; the subject learning objectives or the aim of its instructional use; and the audience to which it is targeted. In ENGG439 and ENGG939, we will follow the generic process outlined below, with room for variation depending on the learning outcomes in each topic and the extent to which the case study presents numerical data to be processed.1. Students to have read the case before attending the class and attempted solving any numerical problems involved (a copy of the case study will be made available through the subject Moodle site in advance.)2. Students will be allowed20-30minutes to discuss the case in break-out groups of 4students with the opportunity to clarify any doubts with the instructor. The instructor may enter the break-out ground randomly and either passively observe or actively participate in the discussions, as required. The instructor may also alert students to specific aspects of the case to focus on or stimulate discussion through appropriate means.3. One student from each group will make a brief (2-3 minutes) oral presentation of the summary findings/recommendations of the group’s analysis to the class when called upon by the instructor.4.The instructor will sum up the discussion session with his/her own observations, with the help of appropriate aid, while seeking input/comments from selected students. The Output: Summary Report [make sure you include, case title, your name/ student ID and word count]Each student is required to prepare an 800-word summary of their analysis of the case (excluding tables, figures and appendix) and upload a PDF file of the report via the Turnitin link provided on the subject Moodle site. The case report should identify: the central theme presented in the case (by way of introduction); key issues discussed in the class, as well as, any other issues deemed important; and the relevant theoretical concepts learnt/presented in the lectures. You may want to examine the issues presented in the case through the theoretical perspectives (lenses)presented in lectures or in relation to your own work/personal experiences. In cases where numerical data/information is presented appropriate computations and results, in suitable formats should also be included in the appendix. The analysis may largely be factual, but could also contain the views of the student backed by evidence. In their analysis, students are encouraged to look for the relationships and trade-offs between key issues presented and prioritise the points based on some sort of logic (for example, how useful or significant they are in terms of solving a problem or overcoming a challenge, as presented in the case, or in addressing a real-world problem) and then make informed judgements about how to resolve the given problem or in relation to making recommendations. The students are encouraged to pay particular attention to succinctly express their ideas within the word limit specified, and use a suitable report structure and presentation style to maintain the flow of arguments to convince the reader. Also, refer to the sample response to Practice Case for further guidance in relation to presentation style. Marked case reports will be made available to students, via the subject Moodle site, within three weeks of submission.
ENGG439/ENGG939 Case Study
The case study for ENGG439/ENGG939 is as below
Case 3: Cedar Valley Winery
Your current position is “Business Analyst” at Cedar Valley Winery (CVW) headquartered in Newcastle, New South Wales. Your job tasks range from assessing logistics and retail market dynamics to production efficiencies and corporate planning. But, what you’d really like is a chance to lead the expansion of CVW distribution and marketing efforts.
Australia is known for both its quality of wines and its quantity of vineyards. Over the past 30 years, various wine growing regions in the country have come to be home to hundreds of independent vintners. More recently, vineyards have been established further inland where conditions are more challenging. Conditions are cooler and the presence of microclimates yields unique combinations of sunshine (direct and indirect), rainfall, altitude and relative humidity.
Also, more common are wild fires. It was an uncle of yours who pioneered the possibility of inducing a “smoky” taste to merlot and chardonnay, via soil conditions (rather than from aging the wine in oak barrels). His experiments were the basis for Cedar Valley’s first successful label, “Deep Burn”. Those wines were cultivated in formerly wooded areas where the wild fire had spread through layers of grass and bush, rather than the more traditional forest-fire ‘crowning’ where flames leapt from tree to tree on brisk winds. Deep-burning bush fires were hard to extinguish because traditional suppressants like water and chemical retardants do not penetrate deeply enough to slow or extinguish the fire burning almost underground.
Building on the success of their initial brand, Cedar Valley had added an ice-like wine, called “Cold Burn”. Such wines are premium-priced and, since freezing temperatures may arrive earlier than elsewhere, CVW is able to bring to market an annual vintage almost a month before other wineries.
You have been asked to prepare analyses and recommendations for expanding the distribution of CVW brands to eastern-Canadian province of Ontario. That expansion could be projected to precede entry into the much-larger US market. You would admit, though, that research and presentation to the family-dominated board of directors was not really “neutral”: you’d very much like to be put in charge of the Canadian expansion. That would have pleased your uncle very much and would position you well for a hoped-for career in discretionary and luxury goods management.
Having grown up with the family business, you know the CVW “product story” intimately. Your work as an analyst has provided an in-depth knowledge of wholesale distribution. Regular visits to liquor retailers has sharpened your eye for the power of display and sampling as generators of sales.
Upon graduation from university, you will have gained the membership of Engineers Australia and MEA professional designation. As a MEA, you are committed to the organization’s code of conduct. All your reports state clearly your status as a CPM and a member of CVW’s “founding family”, holding the paid position of a “business analyst” for that organization.
Eastern Canada has established alcohol distribution systems and multiple demographics (e.g., age, income, education, and ethnicity) that favour wine sales. The greater Toronto statistical area has well-developed alcohol retail channels, Chamber of Commerce, and media networks.
©Murray Young, 2013
As few parts of Canada (such as the province of Alberta) have passed legislation establishing “0.05 blood alcohol level” as the lower bound for impaired driving citation by law enforcement. This level is below the general Canadian standard of 0.08.
A review of wine “trade press” articles, consultations with industry personnel at wine competitions and discussions with key retailers carrying the CVW brands show two successful ways to gain market presence when expanding geographically.
Option One: Use “Wine Representatives”
These organizations, like “manufacturers reps” in other merchandise categories, serve a defined set of outlets within their designated territory and work on a commission basis. CVW’s costs for the reps would be proportionate to the volume of product sold. The commission would be 20% of gross sales.
Option Two: Open their own sales office.
Office set up and ongoing upkeep is $450,000; per-employee costs would be $60,000 as base salary plus 5% commission as sales incentive. Each employee is expected to generate $1,000,000 in sales.
From experience, you know CVW’s Board of Directors respects reports that are well-reasoned, well- calculated, well-written and well-illustrated. You’ll have to develop the necessary calculations, prepare visual materials, raise relevant ethical issues and make a set of recommendations. You’re pretty sure you can use accounting information to determine when the cost of the two “options” would be equal and in that way show the Board the “indifference point” between the two options (along with the relevant mathematics and a supporting graph). You plan to identify steps that will limit reputational, fiscal and operating risk(s) and address the matter of how sensitive the recommendations are to changes in the data (e.g. if the commission rate changes a few percentage points or the $1,000,000 sales per sales person is off by 10%.
You are to create an evidence-based recommendation for CVW. You may start your analysis with what, on the surface, seems to be a “two unknown variables” equation. One key challenge then would be to use information to solve the equation:
Cost of Option 1 (using sales reps) = Cost of Option 2 (setting up own sales office)
You may make a logical assumption regarding the expected sales volume and develop a graph that shows the “no-difference” point for the two alternatives. You would like to briefly describe how “sensitivity analysis” might inform or shape your recommendation. You may address the concern that cultural and competitive issues might influence or even outweigh the expected cost or revenue, and consider the ethical dilemmas you face in choosing between recommendations.’
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State and assess key risks. Include the identification of measurements and milestones to be applied in the execution of your recommendation. In essence, prepare a persuasive business case that demonstrates your understanding and application of relevant theoretical concepts in relation to the evaluation of both the short- and long-term expansion of CVW brands in Canada, while appreciating the factors applicable to the broader context in which the recommendations are made.
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