Business Decision Making
As part of the formal assessment for the HNC/D programme you are required to submit an
assignment for the Business Decision Making module. Please refer to your Student Handbook
for full details of the programme assessment scheme and general information on preparing
and submitting assignments.
After completing the module you should be able to:
LO1 use a variety of sources for the collection of data, both primary and secondary
LO2 Understand a range of techniques to analyse data effectively for business purposes
LO3 produce information in appropriate formats for decision making in an organisational
LO4 use software-generated information to make decisions in an organisation
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Appalachian PLC is a manufacture of high end furniture, sold directly to retailers, in mature markets
across the UK and Europe. In the past four years the company has seen a decline in its overall sales
to the established markets and has decided to investigate the opportunities in a new target
geographical market, particularly in China and the Far East. The company is not at the stage of
writing a fully developed business plan, but has commissioned a series of presentations and reports
to the board on three important initial steps;
1. A brief analysis of the core customer in the established markets.
2. A plan to undertake significant market research in the new target market.
3. A preliminary investment appraisal and project plan for entering the new market.
Additional Information for Step 1
The Data presented below in Task One was captured by an outside market research firm using follow
up phone calls to customers of one of the biggest UK suppliers of the products merchandise. The
respondent rate was very low, only one out of every ten calls were answered. The sample size is
therefore very low.
Additional Information for Step 2
The company are particularly interested in the type of core customer, the type of prices that can be
charged and the levels of income in China.
Additional Information for Step 3
The company has commissioned a draft cash budget for the first five years of operations in China,
which has been summarized as follows;
The company has, in recent years adopted a payback period of three years as a hurdle rate for new
project, but given the importance to the company, and the input of the Finance Manager, the Board is
interested to look at discounted cashflow. The company has a weighted cost of capital of 10%
The company has also investigated the processes in setting up operations in China during year 0.
The following information is available.
Key Process Dependent
A Leasing Office Space None 3 months
B Undertaking Market Research None 6 Months
C Finding Local Suppliers of Raw Materials A 2 Months
D Identifying Retail Partners A,B 1 Month
E Leasing Warehouse Space None 1 Month
F Formalizing business contracts with Retail Partners A,B,C 2 Months
G Developing logistics and supply chain A,B,C,D,E,F 1 Month
H Beginning deliveries to retail partners/commencing normal
A,B,C,D,E,F,G 1 Month
The company has to start operations within one year.
(End of Case Study)
Year 0 Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
£, 000 £, 000 £, 000 £, 000 £, 000 £, 000
Cash outflow 1000 200 200 200 200 200
Cash inflow 0 150 250 500 1000 750
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The company has carried out some preliminary primary data collection. The company sent a short
questionnaire to recent customers to obtain some basic information about the following:
Location (The company divided the country into the North, n, The South, s, The East, e, and The
The recent spend in £
The customers Gross Income in £
The results of the Data collection are as follows:
A) You are to produce a spreadsheet of Descriptive Statistics (3.1, 4.1) to show the following:
a. The Mean age and spend, and the Standard Deviations of these variables (2.1, 2.3).
b. Histograms of the distribution of age and spend (3.1).
c. The Median Income and the Interquartile Range (2.3, 2.4).
d. The correlational coefficient between age and spend (2.4).
B) Produce a short presentation (3.3) (Suggest 6 slides max) entitled ‘Our Typical UK
Customer’ containing graphical representations, including all appropriate labels and trend
lines, and analysis of the descriptive statistics calculated in A) above. Note to students, you
must interpret the statistics in relation to the business case and present your findings in bullet ID Age Gender Location Spend Income
101 35m n £73.67 £21,173
102 19f e £207.05 £14,175
103 31m s £96.62 £12,343
104 22f n £110.45 £20,571
105 32f s £79.23 £18,081
106 21m w £162.02 £16,302
107 24f n £180.92 £15,205
108 28m w £100.69 £17,722
109 22m w £157.01 £19,174
110 38f s £103.98 £19,519
111 23m e £210.28 £15,574
112 20m w £229.18 £19,406
113 18f n £153.03 £20,294
114 18m w £153.67 £18,849
115 19m s £136.49 £18,613
116 24f e £134.96 £20,097
117 17f n £189.72 £15,582
118 21f w £131.80 £19,699
119 22m s £165.50 £22,427
120 51f n £38.08 £17,527
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point form within the presentation, it is also necessary to make to be critical of the validity of
the data collection (consider any potential bias). (2.1, 2.2, 2.4, 3.1,3.2)
You are to write a short formal Business Report (no more than 1000 words) (3.4) to cover the
a) A formal plan to sample potential customers in the new target market (1.1).
b) A detailed explanation of any possible secondary sources of data which would be useful to
the company (1.1).
c) A justification of the Survey Methodology and Sampling Frame, including strategies for
reducing any potential bias (1.2).
d) As an appendix you must supply a draft questionnaire for approval (1.3).
You are required to write a short formal Business Report (no more than 1000 words) (3.4) on the
proposed capital project outlined in the Case Study, your report must include the following:
a) An analysis of payback (4.3)
b) An analysis of the net present value and an explanation of its superiority over payback
c) A decision based on the financial criteria (2.2, 4.3, 4.1)
d) A GANTT Chart including a critical pathway for the set up processes of year zero, and if the
project can be delivered on time. ( 4.2)
The Tutor will review submissions for all tasks, however can only guarantee a turnaround time of two
weeks. Therefore students who wish to submit the work for review should do so at least two weeks
before the deadline.
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1. You should write this assignment as specified in the particular tasks, there should be one
spreadsheet, one presentation and two reports. I recommend that the spreadsheet is Excel, the
presentation is PowerPoint and the reports are in Word, as the work has to be handed in in one
document it is advised that you embed the spreadsheet, or relevant parts as a picture into a word
document and embed the individual slides from the presentation into the same document. The two
reports should each have their own title page and tables of content, no title page or table of contents
is necessary for the presentation or spreadsheet inserts. If you do not wish to use Microsoft Office
please be aware that there are difficulties in embedding different software together in one document.
2. You should use diagrams and tables of figures where appropriate ensuring to reference their
3. You should include a reference list and a bibliography using the Harvard referencing system. You
must ensure that the submitted assignment is all your own work and that all sources used are
correctly attributed. Penalties apply to assignments which show evidence of academic unfair practice.
(See „Guide to Unfair Practice in Assessment? on the module page on ilearn).
4. It is advised that you write your assignment within the guidelines given above, in particular the two
reports should be no more than 1000 words, the total word count should be within approximately
3000 words in order for your research and summarising skills to be developed, and for effective time
management. You are required to ensure that the assignment addresses all of the assessment tasks.
There is no penalty for being over the suggested word count, however, in the interests of good
academic practice, assignments submitted with excessive word counts (e.g. over 3500 words)
may be returned to students and asked to be reduced before marking.
The word count excludes the title page, reference list and appendices. Where assessment
questions have been reprinted from the assessment brief these will also be excluded from the word
count. ALL other printed words ARE included in the word count. Printed words include those
contained within charts and tables.
5. Your assignment should be submitted as a single document. For more information please see the
“Guide to Submitting an Assignment” document available on the module page on iLearn.
Recommended Additional Resources
Online E-Book recommended for this course –BTEC HN BUSINESS Study Guide
Access to this E-Book is provided via the Vitalsource Bookshelf software – contact the Student Support Team for access code
Curwen J and & Slater R Quantitative Methods for Business Decisions 6th Ed. Thomson Learning
London 2008 ISBN 978-1-84480-574-7
Wisniewski M Quantitative Methods for Decision Makers 4th Ed. Pearson Education Harlow 2006
ISBN 978-0-273-68789 -4
Business Decision Making 2nd Ed. BPP Learning Media London 2010