Business Case Studies by Topic - Operations

Below is a list of case studies taken from the Operations section of The Times 100. Choose your sub topic from the list of arrowed links below the Operations heading.

Operations case studies

    • Business organisation

      • Legal Services Commission Logo

        The advantages of centralisation

        Edition 15: This case study looks at why and how a number of HR activities have recently been centralised at the Legal Services Commission and the benefits these changes have brought to staff, the public and the organisation.

      • Lucent Technologies Logo

        Making the things that make communications work

        Edition 4: This case study focuses on the challenges facing Lucent Technologies following its demerger in 1995 from AT&T.

    • Continuous improvement in business

      • Corus Logo

        Product development through continuous improvement

        Edition 14: This case study focuses on how Corus used its knowledge and experience of continuous improvement (CI) to win new business.

      • Corus Logo

        Continuous improvement as a business strategy

        Edition 13: This case study focuses on the process of Continuous Improvement (CI) at the CCI steel plate manufacturing mill at Scunthorpe. It will show how Corus is finding new ways of achieving its objectives from existing resources.

      • Leyland Trucks Logo

        Continuous improvement within an organisation

        Edition 12: This case study looks at how use of Kaizen can achieve improved productivity and a culture of continuous improvement.

      • Corus Logo

        Continuous Improvement - The Corus Way

        Edition 11: This case study helps students understand how companies train, develop and communicate with staff to delivery continuous improvement.

      • Dr Martens Logo

        Re-engineering a business process

        Edition 3: This case study focuses on the major re-structuring of R Griggs Group Ltd's shoe making business. Its aim was to improve control over its operational and selling activities across the world. It shows that planning is an ongoing process of continuous improvement.

    • Customer service in business

      • TNT Logo

        Delivering a superior customer experience

        Edition 17: This case study examines how TNT’s Customer Promise reflects its core strategy of customer focus and aligns with its corporate values to influence the organisation’s culture.

      • Morrisons Logo

        Developing competitive advantage through customer service

        Edition 16: This case study shows how Morrisons uses customer service to differentiate itself from its competitors, motivate its colleagues and help the business to grow.

      • first direct Logo

        Using customer service to position a business

        Edition 14: This case study shows how the online bank first direct positions itself in the retail banking sector.

      • Parcelforce Worldwide Logo

        Customer service as a strategy

        Edition 13: This case study examines how a strategy focused on customer service can contribute to longterm business development.

      • Enterprise Rent-A-Car Logo

        The importance of customer service at Enterprise Rent-A-Car

        Edition 12: This case study demonstrates the importance that Enterprise Rent-A-Car places on the role of excellent customer service in growing the business.

      • Portakabin Logo

        The importance of excellent customer service

        Edition 11: This case study helps students understand the importance of understanding what customers want to improve customer service.

      • Homebase Logo

        The importance of customer service

        Edition 10: As a result of carefully reading the Case Study, students should be able to: explain what is meant by organisational ‘culture’ and illustrate what is meant by a customer focused culture through using examples of how Homebase employees operate, understand and explain the term ‘strategy’ and show how the review cycle of ‘review’, ‘plan’ and ‘do’ enables Homebase to put its strategic plan into practice, know why customer research is important in helping an organisation to understand the wants and needs of its customers.

      • Gala Group Logo

        An integrated approach to Customer Service

        Edition 8: This case study examines the development of the Gala Group’s Customer Service Strategy as a total business concept. It illustrates how developing and integrating a Customer Service Strategy across the business is helping Gala to position itself for further growth.

      • Royal & Sunalliance Logo

        Making life easier

        Edition 6: This case study shows how Royal & SunAlliance has applied the principles of customer focus to provide business-related (‘commercial’) insurance to small businesses.

      • BUPA Logo

        Using call centres to deliver customer solutions

        Edition 5: This case study focuses on how BUPA, the independent health and care company uses call centres to help provide customer satisfaction which helps it to maintain its market position.

      • Equitable Life Assurance Society Logo

        Client servicing in a customer-focused organisation

        Edition 4: This case study focuses on how one of this country’s major service organisations, The Equitable Life Assurance Society, has harnessed modern technology in order to focus better on providing an excellent service to clients.

      • Virgin Atlantic Logo

        Building an airline through brand values

        Edition 3: This case study focuses on how Virgin Atlantic, a comparatively young international airline, has, over a relatively short period, developed a series of brand values which have enabled it to reflect these improvements in service provision.

      • MFI Furniture Group Logo

        Developing a customer focused sales strategy

        Edition 2: This case study focuses on MFI's Sales Division Strategy launched in 1993. This strategy is based on the simple realisation that the future success of MFI's business depended on MFI's ability to meet and exceed customer expectations profitably.

      • Britannia Logo

        Managing and rewarding customer loyalty

        Edition 2: This case study focuses on the way in which Britannia Building Society has continued to place its customers at the centre of all its activities in order to produce the benefits that guarantee a successful future.

      • MFI Furniture Group Logo
    • Efficiency in business

      • Jaguar Logo

        Creating world class performance in a Jaguar assembly plant

        Edition 7: This case study examines ways in which Jaguar has transformed its new assembly plant at Halewood to guarantee World Class Performance in its production systems.

      • Singapore Airlines Logo

        People in organisations

        Edition 7: This case study shows how one large company, Singapore Airlines, organises itself to make the most effective use of its resources, particularly its human and fiscal resources to achieve its organisational goals.

      • Burton Group Logo

        Fastflow to fashion

        Edition 3: This case study focuses on the Burton Group’s strategic project to reconfigure its supply chain. The initiative was launched in 1994 and is called Fastflow.

    • Innovation in business

      • 3M United Kingdom Logo

        Growth through ingenuity and enterprise

        Edition 8: This case study examines how 3M UK has turned ideas throughcreative thinking into realistic, affordable solutions that peoplewant. This process in known as innovation, a mix of ingenuityand enterprise marking every stage of 3M’s 100 year history.

      • McDonald's Restaurants Logo

        Staying ahead in a competitive environment

        Edition 7: This case study examines the positive way in which McDonald’s is responding to changing customer habits and increased levels of competition. Keeping ahead involves continuous hard work to enhance the reputation of the brand, coupled with product innovation based on detailed market research that indicates how to please customers.

      • Procter & Gamble Logo

        Creating innovation for competitive advantage

        Edition 6: This case study focuses on how building an innovative culture has enabled Procter & Gamble to meet wider business objectives and maintain its competitive advantage in a rapidly changing market place.

      • Sony Logo

        Leading the digital revolution through innovation

        Edition 5: This case study looks at the ways in which Sony has been able to stay at the leading edge of the new technologies.

      • Dyson Logo

        Innovation, research and development

        Edition 4: This case study looks at how Dyson developed and launched its innovative vacuum cleaner.

      • GEC Alsthom Logo

        Taking flight into the future

        Edition 3: This case study focuses upon a pan-European project which involves GEC ALSTHOM and Lödige who are currently developing a Materials Handling System for British Airways at its New World Cargocentre at London Heathrow Airport.

      • Heinz Logo

        Innovation at Heinz

        Edition 3: This case study examines the way in which one successful company has planned to surf the wave of change.

      • Department of Trade and Industry Logo

        Innovation - the route to winning

        Edition 2: This case study looks at how innovation is the cornerstone on which organisations who wish to attain and retain success are built.

    • Lean production in business

      • Nestlé Logo

        Achieving sustainability through lean production

        Edition 18: This case study examines this commitment to society, with the sustainability and environment focus that was implemented at Nestlé Waters’ new water bottling plant in Buxton.

      • Aldi Logo

        Competitive advantage through efficiency

        Edition 16: This case study will demonstrate how Aldi uses a lean approach to its business operations to offer its customers quality products at competitive prices.

      • Portakabin Logo

        Lean production at Portakabin

        Edition 14: This case study focuses on how Portakabin uses lean production methods to ensure it produces aquality product that gives value to the customer.

      • Legal Services Commission Logo

        Becoming a lean service organisation

        Edition 14: This case study shows how the process of reform, using lean production principles, is helping the Legal Services Commission to cut down on any wasteful expenditure.

      • Cummins Logo

        Using Six Sigma statistical thinking to improve business processes

        Edition 8: This case study illustrates how Cummins uses an initiative, ‘Six Sigma’ for process improvement to significantly improve its business processes. Using statistical tools and data as a base for analysis, Six Sigma enables Cummins to improve its understanding of critical business and operational processes, generating major cost savings.

      • Jaguar Logo

        Lean production

        Edition 5: This case study focuses on the way in which Jaguar, one of the world’s most prestigious car manufacturers, has employed lean manufacturing processes.

      • Jaguar Logo

        Building the Jaguar S-Type

        Edition 4: This case study examines how Jaguar has reconstructed a factory at Castle Bromwich in Birmingham to build its new Jaguar S-Type. range.

    • Management of change in business

      • AEGON Logo

        Embracing and pursuing change

        Edition 12: This case study shows how AEGON has responded to its changing business environment to achieve its goals.

      • Corus Logo

        Developing a stronger customer focus

        Edition 6: This case study looks at how Corus, one of the world’s leading steel companies, has developed a market focused approach.

      • Great North Eastern Railway Logo

        Creating an ultimate travel experience

        Edition 4: This case study looks at the way in which an organisation can make a fundamental change in the way it approaches its business and the processes necessary to translate the ideas on paper into the realities of day-to-day business practice.

    • New technology in business

      • Canon Logo

        Integrated information systems: seeing the whole picture

        Edition 8: This case study illustrates ways in which organisations like schools and businesses can become more efficient by integrating their Information & Communications Technology effort. Society also stands to gain; students who become familiar with good Information Management practice are better equipped to become effective members of the workforce of the future.

      • Polestar Group Logo

        Staying ahead - embracing new technologies in a new digital world

        Edition 8: This case study looks at how Polestar has responded to the opportunities presented by new digital technology. It has adopted CTP technology so as to provide its brand-leading customers with a competitive edge.

      • Morgan Stanley Logo

        Operating Globally Through Technology

        Edition 5: This case study focuses on how information technology enables Morgan Stanley Dean Witter to operate within the global financial market place and maintain a competitive advantage.

      • Bryant Homes Logo

        Using IT to energise sales and marketing

        Edition 5: This case study focuses on the use of an Intranet service to help customers make informed choices when buying Bryant Homes properties.

      • Microsoft Logo

        Progress with e-commerce

        Edition 5: This case study considers Microsoft’s development of e-commerce and its impact on some of Microsoft’s customers.

      • ADtranz Logo

        Creating a new transport system

        Edition 3: This case study outlines the way in which Adtranz has created the tram of the future, the EUROTRAM, for Strasbourg - the European city lying at the hub of the European Union.

      • ICI Logo

        Turning waste into wealth

        Edition 3: The case study shows how new technology, developed by ICI, enabled the conversion of agricultural waste by-products into high value materials for building and other industrial uses.

      • Marks and Spencer Logo

        Marketing solutions via technology

        Edition 2: This case study focuses upon one aspect of the physical distribution activities ‘behind the scenes’ at Marks & Spencer. Physical distribution involves all the essential activities required to make products available for customers and is a fundamental dimension of customer service.

    • Product development in business

      • Heinz Logo

        Staying ahead by meeting changing consumer needs

        Edition 7: This case study shows how the popularity of Heinz’ core icon products has been maintained and enhanced, by developing aspects of the product or brand, to keep them relevant and satisfying for modern consumers.

      • Marconi Logo

        Leading international markets

        Edition 5: This case study illustrates how Marconi Communications has developed leading-edge products that have enabled it to position itself as world leader in key areas of the telecommunications market.

      • Eurofighter Logo

        Introducing a pan-European product

        Edition 5: This case study looks at the strategies involved in developing and manufacturing a pan-European product.

      • FKI Logo

        Organic product development to accelerate growth

        Edition 3: This case study focuses on how FKI created an innovative new product which yielded outstanding benefits to its customers - the electricity supply industry.

    • Production process in business

      • Nestlé Logo

        Sustainability and water

        Edition 9: As a result of carefully reading the Case Study, students should be able to: know the basic economic problem and how it is solved, understand the factors of production and opportunity cost, describe what is meant by sustainability.

    • Quality in business

      • Zurich Logo

        Creating quality customer care

        Edition 17: This case study examines how Zurich brings quality to life in the care it provides for its customers every day.

      • BSI Logo

        Supporting business through standards

        Edition 13: This case study shows how BSI British Standards (BSI), the UK's National Standards Body, supports businesses at every step of the research, development and manufacturing processes.

      • BSI Logo

        Creating world class quality standards

        Edition 12: This case study shows the importance of quality standards and how BSI supports organisations in achieving them.

      • BSI Logo

        Quality through standards

        Edition 11: This case study helps students understand the importance of quality and how standards help organisations delivery quality.

      • BSI Logo

        Implementing quality systems

        Edition 10: As a result of carefully reading the Case Study, students should be able to: understand the benefits to customers when businesses operate and produce to defined standards, explain the gains to producers and suppliers from being known to operate to defined standards, appreciate BSI’s role in creating standards for products, (including materials, hardware, software and services), processes and systems.

      • Portakabin Logo

        The importance of quality in creating competitive advantage

        Edition 10: As a result of carefully reading the Case Study, students should be able to: know that quality relates to how well a product does what it is intended to do, explain how the ability to provide quality consistently gives some companies competitive advantage, demonstrate the importance of offering customers high quality service.

      • BSI Logo

        Standardization and quality management

        Edition 9: As a result of carefully reading the Case Study, students should be able to: understand why it is important to establish standards, explain the meaning of standard, standardization, quality and quality management, outline the role of standardization in ensuring the safety of users of products and services.

      • Nissan Logo

        Planning for quality and productivity

        Edition 9: As a result of carefully reading the Case Study, students should be able to: explain why continuous flow methods are appropriate to car manufacturing, show how Total Quality Management (TQM) is a customer focused approach to production, describe examples of just-in-time manufacturing and Kaizen.

    • Supply chain in business

      • OPITO  Logo

        The importance of sustainable purchasing and supply

        Edition 18: This case study explores the role of purchasing and supply in the oil and gas industry.

      • Nestlé Logo

        Creating shared value in the supply chain

        Edition 17: This case study looks at the importance of applying the principles of corporate social responsibility to a business’ activities. It will demonstrate how Nestlé creates shared value within its cocoa supply chain to enhance the lives of cocoa farmers whilst also improving the quality of its products for consumers.

      • Lafarge Logo

        Developing a sustainable supply chain to add value

        Edition 17: This case study will explore how Lafarge UK is active in all three sector of industry and how it manages the need to develop the business alongside protecting the environment and respect for local communities.

      • Warburtons Logo

        Managing the supply chain to meet customer needs

        Edition 15: This case study focuses on how the second largest grocery brand inthe UK - Warburtons - manages its supply chain.

      • Kellogg's Logo

        Supply chain from manufacturing to shelf

        Edition 14: This case study shows how Kellogg's fulfils this mission in the later parts of the supply chain from manufacturing to shelf.

      • IKEA Logo

        Building a sustainable supply chain

        Edition 13: This case study looks in detail how IKEA has achieved its aim to be a responsible business in each of the three sectors of the supply chain.

      • McDonald's Restaurants Logo

        Managing stock to meet customer needs

        Edition 12: This case study shows how important effective management of stock is for an organisation in both meeting customer needs and controlling costs.

      • BCCCA Logo

        Supporting agriculture to create sustainable development

        Edition 11: This case study helps students understand why a sustainable supply chain is important for manufacturers.

      • BCCCA Logo

        Creating a sustainable chocolate industry

        Edition 10: As a result of carefully reading the Case Study, students should be able to: explain BCCCA’s role in providing a focus for UK chocolate manufacturers to work together on non-competitive issues, describe the global nature of the market for chocolate, understand the importance of sustainability in providing a livelihood for small cocoa farmers.

      • Nestlé Logo

        From bean to bar - the production process

        Edition 8: This case study looks at the massive, complex worldwide operations that ensures that chocolate products are on the shelves of retail outlets 365 days a year. In reality, it represents a triumph for careful planning and meticulous organisation.

      • Exel Logo

        Managing the supply chain for globally integrated products

        Edition 7: This case study introduces some of the processes that go on behind the scenes at Exel by examining supply chain management.

      • Kraft Foods UK Logo

        Delivering Service Exellence In The Supply Chain

        Edition 6: This case study looks at how a major food company has built a Customer ServiceExcellence Programme to ensure that its products are in the right place, at the right time, in the right quantity, in excellent condition and at the lowest possible supply chain cost.

      • Nestlé Logo

        Coffee - The Supply Chain

        Edition 5: This case study explains why Nestlé needs a first class supply chain, with high quality linkages from where the coffee is grown in the field, to the way in which it reaches the consumer.

      • Confederation of British Industry Logo

        Improving the performance of manufacturers

        Edition 5: This case study focuses upon how the CBI, through the establishment of the National Manufacturing Council, works with manufacturing companies to help them to raise performance levels.

      • Marks and Spencer Logo

        Using supplier relationships to serve customers better

        Edition 4: This case study focuses on how relationships with the supply base enables Marks & Spencer to serve customers better.

      • Cargill Logo

        The role of a multi-national in developing markets

        Edition 3: This case study shows how a multi-national corporation, Cargill, enables people throughout the world to enjoy a variety of food products and other commodities, which have often passed along distribution channels covering thousands of miles. The study also focuses on the way in which Cargill has encouraged emerging markets in Africa to develop since 1981.

      • Dexion Logo

        Solving complex supply chain problems

        Edition 2: This case study focuses upon how one organisation, Dexion, uses its skills and abilities to provide help for businesses of all shapes and sizes with their supply chain management problems.

      • British Steel Logo

        Steeling market share

        Edition 2: This case study looks at how an organisation, utilising a range of strategies, added value to each part of the supply chain and won market share in a highly competitive market.

What does ‘Operations’ cover?

Operational topics include what organisational structures and methods of production are available to companies and how these are relevant to manufacturing and service industries.

Other case study topics covered include:

  • The types and functions of the primary, secondary, tertiary sectors of industry within the economy.
  • How companies determine where they site their businesses to meet production requirements or customer demand
  • Which method of production (batch, job, flow) is relevant to different types of product/industry
  • Looking at lean production and efficiency with a view to reducing waste, improving productivity and saving costs
  • The role of quality assurance and the difference between this and quality management
  • The different approaches to managing quality and efficiency (e.g. Continuous Improvement, Just-in-time, Total Quality Management). How empowerment and team-working are essential to delivering this in the organisation
  • Managing stock efficiently to contribute to efficiency
  • How research and development is central to innovation.

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