Assignment Support: For help with this assignment, please contact TA via email. Please do NOT send email via Canvas.
- Read the whole document. To be successful in this assignment, it is important that you read documents completely. Don’t simply skim the documents to complete the Deliverables.
- Activity Diagrams. In this assignment you will be creating an “Activity Diagram” using Microsoft Visio. This diagram is referred to as “Cross-Functional Flowchart” in Visio. These two terms are used interchangeably in this document. Outside of this document, in BA270, we refer to them as “Activity Diagrams” or “Swim lane Diagrams” or “Rummler-Brache Diagrams”. (See lecture content in Week 2 module for concepts and examples relating to Activity Diagrams).
- Read and use resources. In this assignment you will refer to:
- The ‘car rental vehicle maintenance’ scenario described in Section 2 of this document.
- The incomplete activity diagram (see ‘Figure 1’ in Section 2) of the current vehicle maintenance process described in the scenario.
- Management’s suggestions to improve the vehicle maintenance process (see Section 3 of this document).
- The incomplete activity diagram (see ‘Figure 2’ at the end of Section 3) pertaining to the improved process.
- The Activity Diagram related video tutorial and/or help documents posted in the “Assignment Help Documents” module on BA270 Canvas website. These resources will help you learn Microsoft Visio software).
In a real-world organization, you may observe broken or inefficient processes and may want to improve them. To do this, you would have to convince management that the process is broken and then propose a solution to fix or redesign the process. You will want to present suggestions in an effective way that allows management to easily visualize the current process, and then see how your alternative is better. Activity Diagrams are one way to quickly show a high-level overview of a process. Paragraphs of words describing the problems are time consuming for management to read and comprehend. Sometimes, diagrams can convey information much more effectively and succinctly than words. Hence, in this assignment, you will do these steps in the following order:
- Read Section 1 (see page 2 of this document) carefully.
- Ensure you can access Visio and save files on your ONID Drive and Cloud (e.g., Box) storage (See Assignment 1).
- Review video tutorial and Visio Help documents on “Assignment Help Documents” module on Canvas.
- Use Visio to re-create Figure 2 exactly as is. Figure 2 is available in Section 3 of this document.
- Rename Figure 2 as Figure A: Activity diagram of the improved vehicle maintenance process.
- Complete the remainder of the activity diagram for the improved process based on:
- Information provided in the scenario (See paragraphs 6 through 10 in Section 2) and
- Management’s suggestions for improving the process (Section 3).
- Save the entire activity diagram of the improved process in two formats (both as Visio file and JPG file) on your ONID drive and/or Cloud (e.g., Box) storage for later retrieval.
- Create a MS Word document with a cover page as specified in Section 4 of this document.
- Add page 1 after the cover page and type a short paragraph in page 1 as specified in Section 4 of this document.
- Insert the complete activity diagram (Figure A) as a JPG file after the short paragraph in page 1.
- Follow instructions in this document and take TA help as needed before submitting Assignment 2 on Canvas.
Organization of this Document:
Section 1 of this document has important information on using outside help and Academic Honesty. Please read carefully. Not reviewing this section will NOT excuse a student from penalty for academic dishonesty.
Section 2 details the current vehicle maintenance process for a car rental company. This section includes an example of a partially complete activity diagram (Figure 1) to illustrate the current process.
Section 3 contains instructions and requirements for improving the current process. It includes an example of a partially complete activity diagram (Figure 2) to illustrate some initial steps in the improved vehicle maintenance process.
Section 4 contains details on the assignment deliverables and some comments about the formatting requirements for this assignment.
Section 1: Academic Honesty and Acknowledging Help
Please note that NOT reading and/or NOT following instructions in this section does NOT excuse a student from penalty for academic dishonesty. Academic Honesty is one of the highest held values in the College of Business (COB). Please review and follow these guidelines.
- If you use past work (if you are repeating the class), or work done by others, you need to acknowledge that. Also, you should submit a copy of the past work (if you are repeating the class) or work done by others to highlight your original work for this assignment. If you take help from others, you should specify what help you received from them.
- Note that your answers must be your original work and not copied from some other individual or group. If a student is repeating the class, a replica of their work from a previous term is NOT allowed. If you use previous work as reference, you must attach a copy of that previous work along with this assignment submission.
- If you use another website as a reference, you must cite that website. Ensure that the Visio diagram in that website is accessible and legible to the grader without any need for subscription to that website. For instance, if you use an external website like Course Hero, you will receive a very low score (e.g., a score of 0 and five negative points) on this assignment if you do NOT follow these guidelines. In the acknowledgement section of your assignment submission, include the URL of the website referenced, ensure that your diagram includes actor names as specified in Section 2 of this document, provide a legible copy of the diagram from the website referenced, and explain how your activity diagram differs from the diagram in that website.
- Every student must retain an e-copy (of their Visio file that contains their activity diagram) for their reference and records at least until one week after grades are posted after finals week.
Section 2: Current Rental Vehicle Maintenance Process Scenario
The scenario is adapted from Information Systems Analysis & Design, by Ned Kock. 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 Online Complaint Interface (OCI) 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 every 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 currently does not review any 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 the Predictive Maintenance Program (PMP). (Paragraph 5)
The PMP costs the rental company approximately $150,000. It incorporates artificial intelligence algorithms that operate on predictive maintenance rules. The algorithms allow the PMP 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 PMP 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 PMP are dynamically and automatically updated, even if the same complaint is input into PMP on two different days, the order and number of ‘jobs’ generated by PMP can vary from day to day. (Paragraph 6)
As mentioned earlier in paragraph 5, the DES inputs data from the complaint form into PMP. Then, PMP generates the schedule of predictive maintenance jobs. The DES then logs into the PMP and prints the jobs as a set of pages (one page per job). These jobs are organized according to the order of execution prescribed by PMP. 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 PMP. Upon completion of each job, a mechanic who worked on the job accesses the PMP software using their login ID and password. The mechanic then enters details about each completed job in the PMP. These details include the name of the mechanic who completed the job and the time of job completion. (Paragraph 9)
The PMP then automatically changes the status of the ‘job’ from ‘pending’ to ‘completed’ and keeps track of when the job was completed by which mechanic. At the end of each month, the PMP generates a report of predictive maintenance jobs that were completed. (Paragraph 10)
Figure 1 is an (incomplete) activity diagram that models the steps mentioned in the first five paragraphs in the scenario. Note the use of verbs such as “Prints” and “Review”, in the process steps (rectangle shapes). Also, observe that the e-copy shape (unreviewed complaint under OCI column) is different from the multiple paper copies shape (Reviewed complaints under the Manager column). Note the shape of the first step “Files online complaint”. Take a few moments to review the different shapes and the diagram below. Compare the diagram to the first five paragraphs of the scenario.
Figure 1: Car Rental Company’s Incomplete Current Vehicle Maintenance Process
Section 3: Redesign the Current Process
In a real-world situation where you are attempting to fix an inefficient process, you can either improve the process, or design a whole new process as you see fit. However, there are limitations that will determine the scope of the new process. These restrictions could be set by management, the budget, the situation, regulations, industry best practices, etc. Here too, your design will be limited through suggestions made by “management”. Here, as in the real-world, management’s “suggestions” are requirements.
Section 3.1: Management’s Suggestions
- The mechanic should be the only actor to use paper documen Eliminate all other paper documents.
- Do NOT use Email attachments to replace viewing paper complaints. Instead, use automatic alerts from an IS actor to any human or Information System (IS) actor.
- Note that human actors do NOT issue auto-alerts.
- Use email only when a managerial employee wishes to communicate with a customer.
- Do NOT remove OCI and PMP software from the process. Management is not entertaining any requests to change the customer interface with OCI and the mechanics interface with PMP software. Both customers and mechanics are happy with these interfaces as is.
- Eliminate manual data entry. Instead introduce a new actor called ERP to help transfer data electronically across incompatible information systems.
- Save all complaints in the ERP system.
- Eliminate unnecessary personnel from the process.
- For example, remove data entry staff, and reduce the number of managers in the process.
- Keep Maintenance Manager in the process.
- Assume ERP can auto-classify complaints as maintenance or non-maintenance complaints with 95% accuracy. (Assume that the ERP sometimes incorrectly rejects a maintenance complaint as a non-maintenance complaint.)
- To reduce ERP related system error, ensure that the Maintenance Manager verifies if ERP is correct in what it rejects as non-maintenance complaints (nMC).
- If ERP has correctly rejected the complaint as nMC, then the Maintenance Manager (MM) should inform customer about next steps.
- If MM concludes that the ERP has incorrectly rejected a complaint, then MM should save the complaint as a ‘Maintenance Complaint’ in the ERP system.
- After PMP generates the pending jobs (see paragraph 6 of scenario described in section 2 of this document), assume that a mechanic prints the pending jobs and follows guidelines specified in paragraph 9 and 10 of the scenario (see section 2 of this document).
- As the process started with customers inputting a complaint in OCI, end the process with providing feedback to the customer.
Section 3.2: Some justifications and advice relating to management’s suggestions listed in Section 3.1.
Justification for eliminating paper documents (except for the mechanics use of paper copies): Management thinks that there is a lot of money being wasted due to printing and re- printing documents. As it is convenient for the mechanics to use paper copies, the management has allowed the mechanics to print and use hard copies of pending jobs.
Justification for replacing Email attachments with auto-alerts: Using email attachments for a complicated process like this would be inefficient. To get a sense of this inefficiency, imagine you are a manager who is supposed to review many email threads and attachments to retrieve information relating to one customer’s complaint filed few weeks earlier. Wouldn’t it be more efficient to save and work with an e-copy of the complaint and have a software issue an auto-alert to another actor who is supposed to be working on the next step in the process?
- Instead of sending an email, use an auto-alert from an IS actor to prompt another IS actor or human actor to take the next action step.
- Also, you can depict that an actor viewed a complaint electronically by simply drawing an arrow from an E-Document stencil or shape to the process step in which the data was viewed by the actor.
- For example, see Figure i (next page).
- As another example, in the first few steps of Figure 2 in Section 3.3, see how the ERP and the Maintenance Manager review the complaints filed by a customer after receiving an auto alert.
- Note that when you complete Figure 2 for this assignment:
- PMP could send an auto-alert about new pending jobs to the mechanics before they print a pending job.
- Also, PMP could send an auto-alert to a manager when a job status is changed from ‘pending’ to ‘complete’.
Justification for using ERP: The transfer of data from one IS actor to another is often not simple because the systems may be incompatible. For example, see Figure i relating to a hypothetical situation (not meant to be part of your assignment submission) where one software (IS Actor 1) is transferring data to another software (IS Actor 2).
(continued – see next page)
Figure i: Viewing Data Electronically
Note: Although this illustration of transferring complaints in Figure i is correct from a diagram perspective, it is likely incorrect from a software compatibility perspective. For example, a software file created in one vendor’s product (Microsoft) is not easily processed by on open source software platform like Linux or a different vendor’s software platform (e.g., Apple Macs). Hence, the part of Figure i that shows the transfer of complaints is incorrect.
To resolve this software incompatibility, an ERP software can be useful. We assume in this assignment that there are enough funds available to install an ERP software. An ERP (thanks to one of its key components middleware) can make a document compatible across different computing (e.g., Windows, Mac, Linux) platforms, by translating (reformatting) computer code from one computing platform to another.
Figure 2 (see Section 3.3) illustrates how the ERP translates complaints created by one software (software used by customers) into a format that can be used by another software (software used by mechanics). In particular, the ERP reformats complaints from OCI software so that they can be easily processed by the AI-based PMP software used by the mechanics. In Figure 2, after this translation or reformatting is done, we refer to the reformatted complaints as ‘edited’ complaints.
Note that the use of ERP eliminates the need for manual data entry. Without the ERP, a data entry staff may have to re-enter the complaints into PMP because it is incompatible with OCI that was perhaps purchased from another software vendor.
ERP can auto-classify the complaints as maintenance or non-maintenance complaints with 95% accuracy (based on information provided in suggestion 7 in section 3.1 of this document).
ERP also can auto-alert other actors when it is done with its job (e.g., when there are new complaints ready for a human actor’s or another IS actor’s review).
Justification for eliminating unnecessary personnel (but keeping Maintenance Manager in the process). Only the Maintenance Manager (MM) is needed to verify if ERP is correct in rejecting a complaint as a non-maintenance complaint. Hence, we can remove the Manager and/or the Assistant Manager from the process. The MM can also communicate with the customer via email as needed. After the introduction of ERP, there is no reason for manual entry. Hence, we can eliminate the data entry staff.
Justification for ending process with customer interactions. The Maintenance Manager (MM) should send a thank you note, coupon, or an apology note to the customer after the vehicle has been fixed. As shown in Figure 2, the Maintenance Manager can also communicate with the customer about next steps to follow if the customer’s complaint is classified as a non-maintenance complaint.
Section 3.3: A sample incomplete activity diagram of the improved vehicle maintenance process
Figure 2 is an (incomplete) redesigned vehicle maintenance process activity diagram. It is modeled based on information provided in the first five paragraphs of the scenario (see Section 2 of this document) and management suggestions provided in Section 3.1 & 3.2 of this document).
Figure 2: Car Rental Company’s Incomplete Improved Vehicle Maintenance Process
Section 4: Steps to follow and Assignment Deliverables
Follow the 11 steps mentioned in the first page of this document (see Assignment Objectives) carefully.
Take help from the TAs.
Save your MS Word Document as: “YourONIDLoginName_BA270Ecampus_Assign2” in ONID Drive or Cloud (e.g., Box) storage for later retrieval. Note: your ONID login name is the name you use to login to Canvas.
Save your Visio file containing Figure A in ONID Drive or Cloud storage for later retrieval as: “YourONIDLoginName_BA270Ecampus_Visio File_Assign2”.
Note that the Visio file containing Figure A usually has the extension .vsd or .vsdx.
If you are not familiar with what is meant by Figure A, see Step 5 on page 1 of this document (Assignment Objectives). Figure A should model the improved vehicle maintenance process as an activity diagram based on Section 2, 3.1 & 3.2 of this document.
Deliverable: Submit your assignment by uploading the MS Word Document and the Visio file to the Assignment 2 page on the BA270-400 Canvas site.
The MS Word document must include a Cover Page, and Page 1.
- See Section 4 – Part 1 for requirements relating to the Cover page.
- The Page 1 of the MS Word document must include an introduction and the JPEG format of Figure A (Activity Diagram of improved vehicle maintenance process) you create using Visio.
- See the text highlighted in yellow in Section 4- Part 2. Re-type this text as your introduction in Page 1 of your MS Word document before you insert the JPEG format of Figure A.
Ensure that you follow the instructions provided in Parts 1, 2 and 3 that follow.
Section 4 – Part 1: Cover Page
Include a separate cover page with the following information:
- Course number (i.e., BA270-E-Campus).
- Course name (i.e., Business Process Management).
- Instructor name (i.e., Dr. V.T. Raja).
- Submission date.
- Assignment # and title (i.e., “Assignment 2: Activity Diagram”).
- Your first and last name as it appears in Canvas Grade Center.
- The cover page must NOT contain any answers.
- The cover page must NOT have a page number.
- Cover Page and Page 1 must be submitted as a single document and NOT as separate files.
Section 4 – Part 2: Page 1
Following the cover page, the page with introduction and activity diagram of improved vehicle maintenance process will be page 1. The page number ‘1’ must be displayed at bottom right of the page with the activity diagram. The diagram must be appropriately labeled and captioned.
Your first page should include a brief introduction of what you are presenting. For this assignment you will use the following text as your introduction (exactly as printed below). Please do NOT include the yellow highlight.
This assignment report includes an activity diagram (Figure A) to depict the re-designed and improved vehicle maintenance process for the car rental scenario.
Below this introduction, insert the JPEG version of the Activity Diagram into your MS Word document. Ensure that your diagram is captioned and numbered as follows:
Figure A: Activity diagram of the improved vehicle maintenance process
Section 4 – Part 3: Formatting your assignment
Formatting requirements for this assignment are as follows:
- Do not use arrows going upwards. If necessary, lengthen your diagram and move your shapes so you have more room for your shapes to flow downwards.
- Keep shapes within Swim lanes. Your shapes should not be crossing over swim lane lines or overlapping swim lane lines. If necessary, widen your lanes or make your shapes smaller to avoid this.
- Use Larger Font. Use 16-point font or larger for the text so the text in the diagram is legible after printing. Ensure that text is wrapped well within each shape. Text should not overlap or overflow out of a shape.
- Figure Captions. Any time you insert a figure, picture, or table into a document, it needs a caption and a reference number. Also, every figure needs to be cross referenced in the text or body of the work at least once. For this assignment you should use the caption “Figure A: Activity diagram of the improved vehicle maintenance process” without the quotes. There is a Title bar in Visio that you can place this caption in. However, you can choose to delete this bar and use the MS Word document caption function instead. If you are using MS Word, you can select the picture, Right-Click, and Select ‘Insert Caption’. Word will automatically place the word ‘Figure’ along with a sequence number. You will have to type in the rest of the caption. You will also have the choice of placing the caption above or below the diagram. Don’t use both styles of captions. Use In-Visio captions or In-Word captions, but not both.
- Remove white space. If there is too much white space at the bottom of your diagram, resize the diagram’s bottom boundary in Visio. Ensure all arrows and symbols are within the boundaries of the diagram. Do not crop the picture in MS Word.
- Save and Import the Activity Diagram. Your completed Visio Activity Diagram should be saved in two formats, namely the Visio file format and the JPEG file format or version. (Ensure that you used the ‘Select All’ feature before saving the diagram to reduce the chances of inadvertently saving only a part of the Visio diagram.) Remember to retain both JPEG and Visio file versions in ONID Drive or Cloud Storage for later retrieval.
- Import the JPEG version of the Activity Diagram into your Word document that you will be submitting as a deliverable for Assignment 2. The JPEG of Figure A should appear on “page 1” of your two-page Assignment 2 report, beneath the introduction paragraph. Importing the JPEG version will make displaying, saving, resizing, and printing your diagram easier.
- Resize the Picture. Your Activity Diagram picture should fit on one page. Resize the picture if you need to make it fit into one page. Ensure that you keep the same length-to-width Aspect Ratio. Adjusting just the length or just the width will make your Activity Diagram look disproportional and therefore less professional.
- Adjust picture sharpness for legibility. Once you have imported the JPEG picture into MS Word, you can adjust the sharpness up or down. Detailed instructions are provided in the video tutorial mentioned in Step 3 of Page 1 of this document. These instructions are also available “MS Word Cover Page, Page Numbers, Pictures etc.” document in the ‘Assignment Help Documents’ Module on the BA270 Canvas site. You may need to test different sharpness values to find what works best for your picture. There is no ‘Right’ or ‘Wrong’ value, but we recommend that you print the Word document to see the sharpness of the image on paper, before submitting your assignment on Canvas.
Failure to follow all formatting guidelines will result in a reduction of points, regardless of model correctness and quality.
This is typically a difficult assignment for most students. Please take help from the TAs. Contact them via email.
Do NOT send your email via Canvas if you are interested in getting a timely response from the teaching team.
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