Pecan Peanuts produces a variety of packeted nut products from its main factory in the UK. Two main packet sizes are available, a smaller one for snack-size sales and a larger one for home baking sales. Pecan Peanuts also sells other snack nut products (cashews and pistachios) but both pecans and peanuts are by far the best sellers.
The Company imports shell-on nuts mainly from Australia.
Business has fared well since the Company set up production in 2017. Indeed, there has been a steady increase in net profits every year since start up. Recently the Company has noticed various trends among customers, including an increasing interest in healthy snacks. One of the older machines in the production line seems to be labouring and breaks down more regularly these days.
Accordingly, as a work placement from the University of Roehampton, you have been set a number of tasks, the results of which should be presented in business report format for Pecan Peanuts (word length 2000, excluding graphs/figures/references) and written in English.
These tasks are detailed in the following pages and generally concern (in alphabetical order):
• Customer information
• Production information
• Quality assurance information
• Recommendations for factory improvement
• Summary nut information
Your report should not be simply be a list of tasks. Rather, it should read as a professional business report with an introduction, sections, summary, references and appendices, all in Word format.
All tasks are worth ten marks each.
You have been asked to write a brief overview of pecans and specifically the Australian pecan industry and you have found a suitable report written by Jacquelyn Simpson at an Australian government website: Pecan Report (Note: This report is also available in Moodle)
Write a brief overview based on the two sections Pecans and Australian Pecan Industry. Your overview should be no more than two paragraphs. You should not copy verbatim the information contained in the report. The proper Harvard reference for this report should be included as one of your references in task 10.
Pecan Peanuts has provided you with current information about the Australian suppliers’ volume of pecan production, some of which goes into exports to the UK and some into local Australian use. The figure below gives values in metric tonnes for shell-on pecans. For example, in 2014, pecan production for local use was 1.2 metric tonnes and 11.9 metric tonnes were exported.
Using an EXCEL spreadsheet, produce an appropriate scatter diagram based on the above data. Use your diagram to make a linear forecast of export productions for 2021 and 2022.
Having gained a better understanding of the pecan, peanut, cashew and pistachio market, you decide to start analysing the nutritional values of each. A good starting point can be found at an Australian website: Createhealthfitness. Unfortunately, the stacked column chart contained in the website is not very clear although it does contain good value information about fat content. Therefore, you have decided to make your own table based on the saturated fat content in pecans, peanuts, cashews and pistachios. From your table, create a stacked column chart for pecans, peanuts, cashews and pistachios. Give a brief summary of the relative ‘healthiness’ of these four nut types with regard to saturated fat content.
Currently, all of Pecan Peanuts’ operations are carried out on two separate production lines, one driven by a new machine and the other by a relatively older machine. Recent monitoring of each machine show that the probability of failure in the new one is 0.20 % and in the old one is 0.80 %. Given that the quality assurance department insists on a probability of 99.999% that at least one machine is working at all times, advise Pecan Peanuts if this condition is being satisfied.
The idea of buying a new machine to replace the older one arose at the last management team meeting. The older one would not be sold but could be used as backup if necessary. If Pecan Peanuts does decide to replace the older machine and buy a new one, the finance dept has indicated that the maximum monthly payment they could afford, based on current profit forecasts for the next six years, would be £2000 p.m. The Company’s bankers would be able to offer an interest rate of 9% to borrow the £96,000 cost of the new machine. What range of months would you recommend that the loan is taken over to keep within Pecan Peanuts’ budget?
Pecan Peanuts makes packets of nuts in its factory in the UK and currently uses two machines to fill the packets. A sample of 30 packets from the first machine has a mean weight of 180 g and a standard deviation of 40 g. A sample of 40 packets from the second machine has a mean weight of 170 g and a standard deviation of 10 g.
State the six-point procedure for hypothesis testing and test if the two machines are comparable in terms of putting the same amount in packets?
The company has asked you to complete a Pros & Cons table similar to the one shown in figure T7) to help in deciding about buying a new machine to replace the old one. Update the table and include it in your report.
Should we buy a new machine? Pros Score/10 Cons Score/10 Total Pros Total Cons Average Pros Average Cons
The company monitors customer satisfaction via social media and through its website. Each customer is asked to complete a short survey containing the questions shown in figure T8.
Figure T8. A short customer questionnaire.
Latest results are contained in the Excel File “Task 8” contained in Moodle. Use Excel to calculate respectively the average values for freshness, tastiness and recommendation for each type of nut and briefly summarise your findings.
Pecan Peanuts has considered possibly expanding its product lines to include Macadamia and Almond snacks. Prepare a brief initial SWOT analysis about this possible expansion (only two issues in each of the SWOT categories).
Based on all the data you have considered in Tasks 1-9, summarise in just one or two paragraphs your most important findings. Also, check the overall structure and presentation of your report (see the Brief in Moodle for more details), including your key references in Harvard style.