Question 1 [45 marks]
Tech-a-lot is a growing company that sells technology gadgets online. They do have a website where they advertise their products to customers. Their main business process starts when customers pay for a gadget on their website. An employee from Tech-a-lot checks if they have it in their warehouse. If it is there, the employee simply takes the item and ships it to the customer. However, if the item is not in stock, the employee contacts the company’s only supplier to check if they do have the item. If the supplier has the item, they buy the item from the supplier and ship it to the customer. In the rare case where the supplier does not have the item, the Tech-a-lot payments representative contacts the customer and arranges to reverse the payment that was made.
As a new business process manager, you were presented with a BPMN diagram for the process described. The diagram is shown below. You are required to analyse the diagram carefully and answer the following questions.
(a) Upon analysing the diagram, you immediately notice that the process might encounter a deadlock.
i. What is a deadlock? (2 marks)
ii. Why do you think that the process might encounter a deadlock? (4 marks)
iii. Suggest the modification that needs to be done as a remedy. Motivate your answer. (4 marks)
(b) Another observation that you made from analysing the diagram is that one of the process flows can be classified as an exception.
i. Using business process modelling terms, discuss the concept of exceptions. Include the various ways of mitigating exceptions in a business process. (15 marks)
ii. From the diagram, which process flow can be regarded as an exception from the diagram? Motivate your answer. (3 marks)
(c) Using your knowledge and the information about the process given above, suggest the default flow for the item marked A in the diagram. Motivate your answer.
(d) Describe, using BPMN terms, the item labelled B in the diagram. (6 marks)
(e) In response to a recent increase in the number of payment reversals, Tech-a-lot management decided to deal with more than one supplier. Suggest a modification to the diagram that needs to be done in response to the changes in the business process. (4 marks)
(f) The marketing department suggested that the website must have a shopping cart where a customer can buy more than one item. This will result in cases where some items paid for by the customer are in stock and some are to be sourced from suppliers.
Discuss the changes that will be made to the BPMN diagram in response to the changes suggested by the marketing. Include any assumptions (if any) that you have used in making the changes. (4 marks)
Question 2 [30 marks]
(a) John works at one of the Non-profit making organizations in Johannesburg. His manager gave him a series of steps that must be taken for a process that they are planning to demonstrate to the potential clients of the organization. John is however not sure if that process can be added to the list of business processes of the organization.
(i) As an experienced business process manager, outline to John on your thought process when determining if the given process can be regarded as a business process (16 marks)
(ii) Use your answer in (i) advise to John on whether the above process is indeed a business process? Motivate your answer. (3 marks)
(b) Ford Motor Company successfully implemented the Business Process Reengineering (BPR) concept in their business. Implementation of the concept saw an increase in production and a massive reduction in workforce use in their payments department. However, for some organizations implementation of BPR in their workflows had disastrous effects. Hypothesise on the possible causes of such adverse effects. (11 marks)
Question 3 [25 marks]
You are tasked with developing a business model of any process of your choice.
(a) Describe the business processes for the model and outline the activities of the process. (6 marks)
(b) Model the business process using the Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN) (19 marks)
Answers to Above Questions on Workflow Management
Answer 1: A deadlock is defined as a condition whereby two computer programs sharing similar resources prevents each other from accessing the resource. As a result of this, it accounts for programs ceasing to function. It therefore indicates that none of the programs are able to proceed in case of a deadlock because each has to wait for one another including itself.
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