Financial Fluency for Decision-Making

Assessment title:Apple Inc.
Assessment format:Report
Word count:2000 words +/- 10%
Submission date: 

Apple Inc (hereafter referred to as Apple)

Founded in 1976 in the United States, Apple Inc. is a leading information technology company in the world.  Apple started as a personal computer manufacturer, but over the past few decades its product range has been expanded into mobile communication and media devices, portable digital music players and software, networking solutions, and third-party digital content and applications worldwide (Apple Inc, 2021).

On 28th October 2021, Apple announced a record revenue of $83.4 billion of the fourth quarter, up 29 percent year over year.  For the financial year ended 25th September 2021, despite the impact of the global pandemic Apple has reported a total net sales revenue of US$365,817 million and total net income of US$94,680 million.

Task:

You are working as a Senior Business Consultant for a well-known consultancy firm in America which has been recently appointed by Apple Inc. to help them review their business strategy and systems.  You have been asked by the Managing Director of the consultancy firm to lead a team in conducting an in-depth investigation into Apple, the industry and sectors within which Apple operates, and then to produce an investigation report which covers the following:

(1)  Identify and analyse Apple’s current business strategy using ONE strategic model of your choice.                                                                  

(20% Weighting – Approximately 500 words)

(2) Critically evaluate to what extent and how Apple\’s value and supply chain has influenced its performance (financial and non-financial) in the period 2017 – 2021.  You are required to suggest THREE changes to Apple’s value and supply chain and illustrate how these changes could help the company sustain it competitiveness in the future. 

                                           (50% Weighting – Approximately 1,000 words)

(3) Critically evaluate the usefulness of Activity-Based Management in helping Apple improve its operations, products and services so that the business strategy (as stated in Section 1) can be achieved.  Use relevant examples to illustrate your evaluation and assessment.       

        (20% Weighting – Approximately 500 words)

GUIDANCE FOR SUBMISSION

  1. Academic conduct

This is an INDIVIDUAL assignment which does NOT involve group work.  Students who work together to produce this coursework will be subject to collusion investigation and penalty if they are found guilty of committing academic misconduct.  Information about the University’s Academic Conduct Regulations on Cheating and Plagiarism can be found within the Support Resources area of the module Blackboard site. You should ensure that you are familiar with the regulations.

  • Word count

The word count for this Assessment Task is 2,000 words +/- 10%, i.e. it MUST BE in the range of 1,800 words (minimum) to 2,200 words (maximum).  The words used for the Covering Sheet, Bibliography and Appendices are NOT counted towards the word count. If Appendices are provided, there should be no more than TWO pages of appendices.

Markers will stop reading after the +10% of wording and the grade will be based on what the marker had read up to this point.

An approximate word count for each section has been given.  You should NOT transfer words between sections – for example, you should not write 1,200 words for Section (1) and only 500 words for Section (2); doing so will mean that you are unlikely to have fully addressed the requirements of Section (2). 

Tables and Appendices should be used to provide data and information as reference points. They should not be used as an extension to the word count to present new information.

  • Structure of this Assessment Task

Your submission should be in the form of a report with the appropriate structure.  However, as it is indeed an academic assignment, it should be properly referenced in accordance with SHU regulations.  Marks are also available for presentation, structure, and clarity.

Guidance on where to find further information relating to referencing can be found on the Blackboard site within the Support Resources folder. 

4. Submission instructions

Submission will be via the Online Submission Portal on the module Blackboard site.  You must also submit your assignment to the Turnitin FINAL Portal (see instructions below).

Your submission must be uploaded to the system before the deadline.  From 1 second after the deadline, any submission will be treated as late and late penalty will be applied. 

You may submit up to TWO times to the Online Submission Portal.  The document uploaded on your final attempt will be the one which is used for marking (if it is submitted on time).

  • Turnitin

Before the deadline, you must submit your assignment to BOTH the Online Submission Portal and the \”TURNITIN – FINAL SUBMISSION\”.  If you fail to do so, your assignment may not be marked. 

The Turnitin submission portals are available in the Assessment Section of Blackboard.

Before the deadline, you can use the \”Turnitin – Draft Submission\” portal to check whether you have correctly used and referenced your sources of information.  You can use the \”Turnitin – Draft Submission\” portal as many times as you need.  However please remember that work submitted to the \”Turnitin – Draft Submission\” portal will not be marked

When your assignment is completed, you must submit the final version to the \”Turnitin – Final Submission\” portal.  The version submitted must be the same as the version submitted to the Online Submission Portal. You can only submit your assignment once to the \”Turnitin – Final Submission\” portal.

Guidance on how to use Turnitin is posted on the Blackboard site in the Assessment section. 

  • Suggested guidelines for completing this assignment

There is no one best way to prepare for this assignment.  The mark of your work will depend on the sources of information and examples you use to elaborate and support your argument and how well you structure and write up your discussion/analysis/evaluation.  

The mark allocation showed on the following assessment criteria aims to help you allocate effort/words between various sections.  Nevertheless, please do not use the weighting rigidly when developing your argument.  The three Sections are interlinked and thus your discussion/analysis/evaluation for the various Sections should be integrated.  The degree of overall cohesion and fluency will affect the result of your coursework.  You should refer to the assessment grid too (see below).

  • Final advice

Although the Covid-19 pandemic has clearly had an impact on the operations, policies and/or performance of Apple, as well as other companies and the consumers, your report should not entirely focus on analysing the impact of Covid-19 pandemic. 

You should be aware of the Covid-19 pandemic impact on Apple (and other companies) and apply such understanding to the analysis/discussion/evaluation of Apple’s strategy, value and supply chain management and consumers’ behaviour.

 Guidance for completing the coursework – please also refer to the assessment criteria grid

 % Weighting
 (1)  Identify and analyse the Apple’s current business strategy using ONE strategic model of your choice. ————————————————————————————————————————— Apply an appropriate theoretical framework to analyse the Company’s current business strategy.    Use appropriate practical examples to support and elaborate your analysis.   You should NOT just describe what the Company has done or simply copy their strategy, mission statement or other information from the Internet and/or annual reports.     Use ONE strategic model only – you will be wasting words and receive no additional marks for using more than one model. If you apply two or more models, you will only receive credit for the first model mentioned.    20%
(2) Critically evaluate to what extent and how Apple\’s value and supply chain has influenced its performance (financial and non-financial) in the period 2017 – 2021.  You are required to suggest THREE changes to Apple’s value and supply chain (VSC) and illustrate how these changes could help the company sustain it competitiveness in the future. —————————————————————————————————————————– Analyse the KEY aspects of the Apple\’s VSC and evaluate how these aspects have (or have not) influenced the financial and non-financial performance of Apple over the period 2017-2021 (past five years).  You do not need to cover all aspects of the VSC of Apple but choose and focus on the most influential aspects/elements/parts of the VSC.   Identify aspects of the VSC that could possibly be changed and illustrate how these changes can enhance Apple’s competitiveness in the future.  Explain how these changes can be implemented. Make your comments as specific to Apple as possible; generic descriptions will earn very few marks.   Use appropriate examples to illustrate any points you make.   If you want to maximise your chances of gaining high marks, you should include some of your own ideas (which should be credible) regarding how the VSC might be improved.  Originality will distinguish your work from that of your peers.  You should consider the link between Apple’s strategy, VSC and the characteristics of its products and services.   Make sure your answer focuses on Apple’s operations and performance over the financial years 2016/17 – 2020/21 – unless the recent 2022 information and events are particularly relevant to your answers to Sections (1), (2) and (3).  You can justify the inclusion of this type of most recent information and examples.      50%  
(3) Critically evaluate the usefulness of Activity-Based Management (ABM) in helping Apple improve its operations, products and services so that the business strategy (as stated in Section 1) can be achieved.  Use relevant examples to illustrate your evaluation and assessment.        —————————————————————————————————————————— There is no need to provide detailed definitions or explanations for Activity-Based Management (ABM) and its related systems such as Customer Profitability Analysis (CPA) and Direct Product Profitability Analysis (DPPA).   Apply your understanding of ABM to Apple and use examples to illustrate how the concepts, approach and/or the related systems of ABM can help strengthen the company’s value and supply chain so that their products and services will be perceived as value-adding in the eyes of their customers. To maximise your marks, you should link your evaluation and assessment of ABM to your answers to Sections (1) and (2).  The whole report should be cohesive.    Make sure you use relevant examples from Apple and/or their competitors to illustrate your points.  Giving generic analysis/discussion will earn very few marks.  The key is applying the principles of ABM and the related systems (e.g. CPA and/or DPPA) to Apple and illustrate how the improvement can help the company achieve its strategy.    20%
(4) Presentation, referencing and standard of academic writing ——————————————————————————————- Appropriately structure, develop and present your argument leading to appropriate conclusions.   Correctly reference the sources of information and present the citation in the main body of the assignment and the bibliography appropriately.   Good standard of academic writing (e.g. reduce grammatical mistakes and do not use \’I\’, \’me\’, \’my\’ etc. – write in 3rd person).   10%
  Total for the assignment  100%

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