1. BA 270-Assignment # 1

BA 270-Assignment # 1- Max: 25 points
Due Date: At start of BA270 on January 13th.

Note:
 Although you are encouraged to discuss this assignment with one or two of your peers, you must submit this assignment individually.
 There is a 20% penalty for each day submission is late.
 There are 12 questions in this assignment. Each question is worth 2 points.

Objective: This assignment requires you to apply some ‘systems theory’ concepts to a business scenario relating to a car-rental company’s vehicle maintenance process.

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What is expected? Read the business scenario (see page 2 of this handout) and answer the questions that follow the scenario. Each student must upload to canvas their individual answers on the due date.

Deliverable: Submit your answers on line on the due date.

The scenario is adapted from Information Systems Analysis & Design, by Ned Kock. The paragraph # is referred to in some questions that follow the scenario. For easy reference, the appropriate paragraph numbers are mentioned at the end of each paragraph.

Business Scenario – Maintenance Process of Rental Cars:
“The business process example starts with a customer filing an online complaint regarding problems with a car that they rented in the past. The customer uses a Web-based system called Rental Online Complaints (ROC) and submits a complaint form (online). Each morning, the Assistant Manager prints a hard copy of the complaint forms received the previous business day. (S)he then places that complaint form in a box for later processing, together with other complaint forms. (Paragraph 1)

Each day at 11 a.m., the Assistant Manager of the rental company reviews each complaint form printed that morning, using a manual containing several rules for reviewing complaints. Those rules had been devised so that certain complaints could be filtered out (e.g., complaints not related to car maintenance problems) before they progressed any further in the business process. (Paragraph 2)

The Assistant Manager meets with the Manager every day at 2 p.m., and hand delivers each reviewed complaint form to the Manager, and informs the Manager about any complaints that need additional review by the Manager. The rental company’s Manager reviews the complaint form only if the Assistant Manager recommends such a review. This additional review is completed by the Manager by end of the next business day and the Manager’s reviews are shared with the Assistant Manager. (Paragraph 3)

The rental company’s Manager meets with the Maintenance Manager every day at 3 p.m., and hand-delivers each reviewed complaint form. The Maintenance Manager is the main point of contact in the company’s maintenance department, which is the organizational unit that processes reviewed customer complaints. The Maintenance Manager does not review the complaint forms. (Paragraph 4)

The Maintenance Manager then, upon receipt of a reviewed complaint form, places the form in a box for processing by the Data entry staff (DES). The DES inputs the data into a software system called Fleet Maintenance System (FMS). (Paragraph 5)

The FMS cost the rental company approximately $150,000. It incorporates artificial intelligence algorithms that operate on predictive maintenance rules. The algorithms allow the FMS to create a schedule of predictive maintenance activities (called ‘jobs’). Completing these jobs reduces maintenance costs to a minimum while also reducing the likelihood of future car problems occurring while the cars are with the customers of the car rental company. Each ‘job’ has a ‘pending’ status when the ‘job’ is yet to be completed. The algorithm rules of FMS are dynamically and automatically updated based on: (a) each new complaint processed through the system and (b) details about completed predictive maintenance activities. Since the algorithm rules of FMS are dynamically and automatically updated, even if a same complaint is input into FMS on two different days, the order and number of ‘jobs’ generated by FMS can vary from day to day. (Paragraph 6)

As mentioned earlier in paragraph 5, the DES inputs data from the complaint form into FMS. Then, FMS generates the schedule of predictive maintenance ‘jobs’ as a printed set of pages (one page per job). These jobs are organized according to the order of execution prescribed by FMS. The DES collects the printouts of the predictive maintenance jobs. (Paragraph 7)

The DES then places those pages in a box. The box is located at the entrance of the workshop used by the mechanics in the maintenance department. (Paragraph 8)

A team of mechanics then processes each predictive maintenance job generated by FMS. Upon completion of each job, a mechanic accesses the FMS using their login ID and password. The mechanic then enters details about each completed job in the FMS. These details include the name of the mechanic who completed the job and the time of job completion. (Paragraph 9).

The FMS then automatically changes the status of the ‘job’ from ‘pending’ to ‘completed’, and keeps track of when the job was completed by which mechanic. (Paragraph 10)

Questions follow on the next page.

Name: ____________________________
Read the scenario before answering these questions. Mark your answers next to each question.

Multiple Choices: Select the one correct choice for each question.
For questions 1 – 4, read the scenario. Also, assume that a customer files a complaint regarding the break-down of a car they rented.

1. The following is(are) element(s)of the system described in the scenario.
a. Manual
b. Customer who filed the complaint
c. Assistant Manager
d. b and c
e. a, b and c.

2. The following is(are) element(s)of the system described in the scenario.
a. Manager
b. Data entry staff (DES)
c. Box (in which complaints form are placed)
d. a, b and c.
e. a and b, but not c.

3. The following is(are) not element(s)of the system described in the scenario.
a. Mechanic
b. Complaint form
c. FMS
d. Maintenance Manager
e. All of the above (i.e., a, b, c and d are not elements).

Make the following additional assumptions for the next question. Assume that the:
• Maintenance Department has received a car for repair.
• Mechanic has correctly diagnosed engine failure as the problem.
• Mechanic is yet to fix the engine.
True/False:
4. At this late stage in the process, the stationary car that is yet to undergo repair would be a good example of an element. ____ True ____ False

Note: Explaining a definition with an illuminating example.
In class, we defined ‘feedback’ (using Systems Theory description) as follows:
“An input to an element as a response to a previous output by the same element.”

In applying this definition to paragraph 7 of the scenario, we can conclude that paragraph 7 includes an illuminating example of a ‘feedback’ as per the justification below.
Justification:
Element = DES
Step 1: Output done by element DES = Input complaint into FMS
Step 2: Input to element DES as a result of the output done in Step 1 = Receive printouts of jobs schedule.

True/False:
5. Paragraph 3of the scenario includes an illuminating example of a ‘feedback’.
____ True ____ False

6. Paragraph 4 of the scenario includes an illuminating example of a ‘feedback’.
____ True ____ False

7. Together, paragraphs 4 and 5 of the scenario include an illuminating example of a ‘feedback’.
____ True ____ False

8. Paragraph 9of the scenario includes an illuminating example of a ‘feedback’.
____ True ____ False

Make the following assumptions about paragraph 3 for the next question.
• Initial State: Assistant Manager and Manager meet every day as scheduled.
• System Behavior: Assistant Manager hand-delivers reviewed complaints to Manager, and informs Manager about complaints that need additional review.
• Output: the number of complaints that need additional review.

True/False:
9. Based on the above stated assumptions, paragraph 3 represents an illuminating example of a ‘deterministic’ process.
____ True ____ False
Refer to paragraphs 6 and 7 of the scenario. Make the following assumptions for the next question.
Initial State: DES inputs complaints into FMS.
System Behavior: FMS generates schedule of predictive maintenance jobs.
Output: The order of jobs generated.

True/False:
10. The above stated assumptions and the last sentence of paragraph 6 illuminate that the process used by FMS to generate the order of jobs is a ‘stochastic’ process.
____ Tue ____ False

Multiple Choice: Select the one correct choice.
11. FMS helps the company to:
a. Create a schedule of predictive maintenance jobs for the mechanics
b. Reduce maintenance costs and to reduce likelihood of future car problems
c. Track whether a predictive maintenance job is ‘pending’ or ‘complete.
d. Track which mechanic completed each vehicle maintenance job.
e. All of the above (i.e., a, b, c and d are true).

True/False:

12. From a mechanic’s perspective, the FMS is mostly a black box.
(Assume mechanic is not familiar with the inner workings of the FMS and is not a person with much IT background).
____ True ____ False

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