My name is Yating Zhang, and I am a student of UEA studying MSc Operations and Logistics Management. During the first two semesters of study, we have a gained a good grasp of supply chain knowledge and during semester 2, we gained an extremely important opportunity.
On Thursday 27th April, I had a chance to do a presentation with my classmates to Lotus -a famous sports car company with a long history of racing. This project was hosted by Professor Andrew Fearne who is the lecturer for the module ‘Critical Issues in Operations and Supply Chain Management’. The purpose of this project is to help students gain useful insights on how to actually carry out value chain analysis.
To prepare, we collected information about suppliers upstream in the supplier chain from Lotus managers. We investigated information on competitors to understand the market position of Lotus. After that, we interviewed dealers in London and collected the results of Lotus consumers’ questionnaire. Using all this information, we were able to prepare our presentation for Lotus.
I had to be involved throughout each stage as this was a group project. Since the first semester of the course, I have found that my ability to quickly and effectively collect and filter has improved significantly. Part of the project involved interviewing dealers in London. This was very exciting as it was a new experience for me but I still felt a little bit nervous! To start with, we interviewed 4 dealers together which made it less daunting. After that, I became more and more brave and confident. By the end, I was interviewing dealers independently.
To begin with, I was not a student who was very good at data analysis! However, the result of our questionnaire relied on data analysis. My classmates and lecturers helped teach me step by step and ultimately I was able to analyse the results independently. I was responsible for writing the power point slides outlining material flow from tier 2 suppliers to consumers. It helped me to have a deeper understanding of the theory that we had learnt and discussed with classmates.
We benefited from this project in several ways. We not only had a chance to cooperate with real companies, but also working in a group enhanced our team spirit. We were given the opportunity to communicate with both dealers and customers, in order to understand the company and the downstream supply chain part of this relationship. This project is a combination of theory and practice; it not only helped us to deepen our understanding of the theory, but also let us enter into real work experience. We were able to put into practice our business research methods by using interviews and questionnaires to collect information and data. To be honest, it also helped me to explore the direction of my future work ambitions.
After we visited Lotus and finished the project,there was a lasting enthusiasm. We kept discuss this experience amongst the group. We were able to apply our knowledge of marketing, supply chain and business research methods. All of this knowledge, we had studied already on the course. Though this project, we know what kind of knowledge we would need to use in future work environment.
This experience has been very valuable to me and I really cherish this experience of learning in UEA.
With thanks to Yating for contributing to the NBS blog