Case Study 1: When Quality management fails

When the Quality Management System fails to function and important requirements are missed or processes run amuck, it means process failure. Customers might be upset and go to alternative suppliers and the business may lose revenue. Below is an example of quality failure.

iPhone 4

While it quickly recovered, Apple was on the verge of losing its dominance in the device market when it became clear that it was difficult to make a call using the much anticipated iPhone 4. Calls were dropped suddenly and frequently causing widespread dissatisfaction with loyal customers who upgraded to the new version early on, while Apple continued to deny or minimise the problem. Independent tests revealed that touching the left side of the case at a certain spot interrupted the signal and dropped the call – not a great feature for a handheld device used primarily to make calls. As the issue continually made the news cycle, Apple eventually conducted a ‘voluntary’ recall to correct the problem.

Question 1


Discuss the importance of quality control in an organisation, using examples from the iPhone caselet above. (10)

Discussion of the importance of quality control (5) + Using examples from the caselet (5)


Briefly differentiate between what quality is from an engineer’s perspective and from a buyer’s perspective. (5)

(5) Marks for a correct differentiation of the 2 perspectives


What is sustainable advantage? How has Apple managed to maintain a competitive advantage over a number of years? (5)

(2) Marks for describing sustainable advantage + (3) Marks for identifying how Apple can maintain competitive advantage

Case Study 2: PPE graft involving R332m claims another Gauteng scalp

The fallout over the ‘irregular’ awarding of more than R332.5-million in tenders for personal protective equipment (PPE) by Gauteng’s health department has claimed another senior scalp with the axing of its chief director, Thandiwe Pino. On Monday, the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) welcomed the announcement that Pino, who was the provincial health department’s chief director for supply chain and asset management, had been fired for her involvement “in the irregular awarding of contracts” to three companies, two of which were linked to former health MEC Bandile Masuku.

The contracts were awarded last year as part of the province’s response to the COVID- 19 outbreak. The awards were allegedly made to friends or associates and the supplier database was ignored. The unit said it had made recommendations to the provincial department for action to be taken against Pino and had provided evidence and support to the health authorities during her disciplinary hearing.

Question 2


Discuss the ideal model of a supplier selection process that could have assisted the Department of Health to select suppliers in this instance. Apply each step of this model to the caselet provided. (10)

(5) Marks for discussion of the model + (5) Marks for applying the model to the caselet


In trying to make sure that such instances of corruption do not take place in the future, the Department has come to you for advice. Discuss the ideal model of a purchasing cycle that could have assisted the Department of Health to purchase this PPE. Apply each step of this model to the caselet provided. (10)

(5) Marks for discussion of the model + (5) Marks for applying the model to the caselet

Case Study 3: Warehouse Management Problems, A case of Isolethu Warehouse

Warehouse management involves organising, managing and maintaining all the processes that occur in a warehouse, so that they run as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Isolethu Warehouse Management is based in central Johannesburg and has existed since 2007 and has automated some of its processes. However, it is still prone to mistakes and challenges despite its 15 years of existence and experience.

Below are some of the problems it is facing:
a) Its running costs are high.
b) The stock levels remain high despite many interventions and cost of carrying too much stock has seriously affected its cash flow.
c) There is plenty of unused space.
d) Employees are demoralised and find themselves often idling.
e) The managers are dealing with a lot of theft and damage of assets which run into hundreds of thousands of rands.

These warehouse problems have affected the speed, efficiency and productivity of either one particular warehouse operation or the entire chain of processes that are linked with it. In most cases, these errors are only identified after the process has begun or even after it has been completed. And by then, it is usually too late to prevent the error—it may even be too late to reduce the amount of damage done. Redundancy is often noticed in order picking, which is when products are picked from their storage locations in a warehouse to fulfil an order. In a large warehouse like Isolethu, multiple people work together to pick products from different parts of the warehouse to fulfil a single order. Since the same order is passed around to multiple people, there are always mistakes, like picking too many of the same products.

Question 3


Discuss, in your own words five warehouse management challenges experienced by Isolethu Warehouse. Use examples from the case study. (10)

(5) Marks for discussion of the challenges + (5) Marks for applying examples from the caselet


Isolethu Warehouse has failed to increase profits and to increase customer service levels. Discuss five sub-objectives of warehouse management Isolethu Warehouse can work towards to increase profits and customer levels. (5)

(5) Marks for discussing the five sub-objectives in relation to Isolethu


There are certain objectives that businesses need to achieve when designing a warehouse layout. Discuss five ways that Isolethu Warehouse can improve its warehouse layout given its challenges. (5)

(5) Marks for discussing the five sub-objectives in relation to Isolethu

Case study 4: Corruption in Africa deepens the wounds of COVID-19

Since the continent’s first case was recorded on 14 February 2020 in Egypt, the virus has affected all countries in the region. Most COVID-19 items were procured under a certificate of emergency, evading public scrutiny and accountability. These ravaging economic effects have been worsened by grand corruption associated with COVID-19 expenditure, some of which affected funds from multilateral organisations. In response to the pandemic, several donor agencies supported African governments with various financial packages. The International Monetary Fund and World Bank together provided about USD 57 billion to help Africa. Corruption related to COVID-19 has been reported from all over Africa, mainly in procurement.

In Cameroon, a 2021 audit revealed the misuse of about USD 333 million meant for the pandemic response in 2020. South Africa’s health minister at the time was placed on leave while irregular contracts to the tune of USD 10 million were investigated. There was also public anger in the country over the suspected inflation of government contracts for the purchase of medical supplies worth USD 900 million. Malawi’s government revealed that some of its officials colluded with the private sector to misspend USD 1.3 million of COVID-19 funds through procurement and allowance irregularities.

The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority allegedly pilfered about USD 400 million meant to buy medical equipment, and the country’s Ethics and Anti-Corruption. In Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health allegedly bought 1 808 face masks for USD 96 000. In Uganda, four top officials were arrested for allegedly overpricing COVID-19 food relief items, leading to a loss of USD 528 000. Zimbabwe’s health minister was dismissed reportedly for inflating the cost of medical equipment by illegally awarding a multimillion-dollar contract. His Ghanaian counterpart was found to have purchased the Russian Sputnik V vaccine at a unit price of USD 19 instead of the USD 10 factory price.

Question 4


Describe examples of unethical procurement practices in the procurement of goods and services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that have been reported in Africa. (5)

(5) Marks for discussing the examples


Discuss the ideal model of a supplier implementation process that could have assisted most of these African countries to onboard suppliers. Apply each step of this model using examples from the caselet provided. (10)

(5) Marks for discussion of the model + (5) Marks for applying the model to the caselet

Get Answers on the Above Questions on Supply Chain Management

Answer 1: Quality control plays an important role in an organisation from the point of view of successfully accomplishing the customers’ expectations. The role and implication of quality control can be identified from the given case study of iPhone 4 caselet whereby a design flow is identified which leads to dropped calls, but the focus on quality aspect has allowed the company to meet customers’ satisfaction and achieve loyalty within them. Other benefits of quality control include higher chances of achieving competitiveness over others, cost efficiency, better development of brand reputation and many more.


Get answers on the above questions on supply chain management from the best experts of Student Life Saviour in South Africa.

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