Foundation Skills in Data Analysis
Assignment 2 – Annual survey of supermarket performance
• Note: This assignment is to be completed individually
The purpose of this assignment is to investigate a dataset utilising the knowledge learned in Modules One and Two. This will enable conclusions to be drawn that ultimately assist in decision making.
The assignment requires you to analyse a given dataset, interpret the results, and then draw conclusions such that you are able to reply to specific questions being asked of you in the form of a report. (These questions are asked in the following memorandum).
The aims of the assignment is to:
• provide you with some examples of the application of data analysis within an organisation
• test your understanding of the material in the relevant topics
• test your ability to analyse and interpret your results
• test your ability to effectively communicate the results of your analysis to others
Before tackling the assignment, make sure you have prepared yourself well. As a minimum, please read the relevant sections of the prescribed text and listen/watch the pre-recorded material for Modules 1 and 2.
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FOODplus is one of Australia's leading supermarket chains. There are 750 stores in the chain. Originating from a family based chain of general stores, FOODplus now has supermarkets all over Australia, with the first one being established 27 years ago. In terms of operation, each state capital has a company office and these have significant autonomy in the state's operations. Further, individual store management has wide-ranging powers about day-to-day operations of individual stores. However, broad company planning and direction take place in the company Head Office in Melbourne. Included in the Head Office, is the Research and Analysis Department. A principal role of the department is to provide advice on matters affecting the company. This advice ranges from market research, new product development, advertising strategies, quality control, warehouse management, inventory control, product distribution and new store design.
Paul Anderson, the General Manager, has asked you, Emma Thomson, a business analyst with the company, to analyse some data obtained from the annual survey of FOODplus’s supermarkets. The data relates to a random sample of 150 supermarkets in the FOODplus chain. The survey is conducted every year to gather information that is not readily available from the central sources. The memo from Paul is reproduced below:
To: Emma Thomson
From: Paul Anderson
Subject: Annual survey of supermarket performance
The board is very keen to see how we have performed over the last financial year, in order to make sure we are keeping pace with our main competitors. As a result, can you investigate the following?
1. An overall view of gross profit
a. Can you provide me with an overall summary of gross profit?
b. Generally the managers of the top 45 profitable stores across the whole FOODplus supermarket chain are given a bonus for exceptional performance. Based on the survey data, what range of gross profit are we looking at for store managers to receive a bonus this year?
c. I am interested in any store or stores which particularly stand out as being unusual or different in regard to gross profit. Are there any such stores? What do such “unusual” instances mean in statistical terms?
2. Descriptive measures and insights
a. The board wants to revisit the issue of whether it should now be compulsory for our stores to be open every day of the week, including Sunday, in order to be in line with our major competitors. Can you provide a gross profit comparison for our stores that open on Sunday and those that do not?
b. As you know, our latest initiative has been the creation of our online store channel. I know many of our stores have included the online channel as part of their business operations. I have heard that Mall stores are leading the way when it comes to setting up online stores. Is there any evidence of this?
c. Wastage (unsold stock) is expensive to the organisation, especially if maintained at high levels. Can you provide me with an overall breakdown of wastage? I would also be interested in how the States compare when it comes to high levels of wastage in their stores?
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3. Significant variation in sales: Other variables
I would like to see whether factors listed below provide any explanation in the variation of Sales between stores. If so, can you also indicate which factor is the most important?
• Advertising expenses
• Number of staff
• Number of car spaces
• Number of trading hours
I realise that the survey relates to a random sample of just 150 of our supermarkets, and that this information can be used to draw inferences about all our FOODplus supermarkets. With that in mind, I hope you are able to provide me with answers to the following questions:
4. Some basic estimates
a. As you know the online store channel is our latest initiative. Can you estimate the average online sales for all supermarkets in the FOODplus chain that have adopted the online channel?
b. Maintaining low wastage levels is naturally the company’s preferred position. To give a better understanding of the situation, can you estimate the proportion of all supermarkets in the FOODplus chain that would be categorised as low wastage? In addition, can you estimate the proportion of FOODplus supermarkets in NSW and Victoria (our two largest markets) that maintain low wastage?
5. Performance: Industry as a whole
a. In a recent report, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) indicated that the average price increase in a standard basket of food items for a supermarket chain over the last 12 months should be no more than $6.85, which would keep the increase in line with inflation. Is there any evidence to suggest that FOODplus has not complied with the requirements of the ACCC over the last 12 months?
b. We recently received the findings on the independent study we requested into whether all our supermarkets should open on Sunday. The study concluded that 70% of all our supermarkets, at a minimum, have to be open on Sunday in order for FOODplus to remain competitive long term. Is there any evidence to suggest that fewer than 70% of all FOODplus supermarkets currently open on Sunday?
6. Sampling Methods for the Annual Survey
a. I am now thinking more and more that we should have consulted with you before you conducted the survey. I realise the annual survey is based on a simple random sample of 150 stores across the country. But from a perusal of some results I am now concerned about the usefulness of the sample data.
Two things worry me:
i. According to the population number of stores, Queensland appears to be overrepresented in the sample survey while Western Australia and Tasmania appear to be badly under-represented. Am I correct in my assertion?
ii. I know that the first FOODplus supermarket began operating 27 years ago, yet the maximum age for any supermarket in the sample is 24. Do you have explanation for this anomaly?
b. Finally, I am interested in your opinion about future surveys with regard to performance. In particular, I want to estimate the average gross profit to within $120,000 and the proportion of high wastage stores to within 6%. Are you able to advise me on the required sample size that satisfies both these criteria?
I look forward to your responses.
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• Your report should be no longer than 2000 words and there is no need to include, Charts and Tables, or Appendices in the report
• Your Charts/Graphics and Tables are only to be placed in the Data Analysis file i.e. the Excel spreadsheet
• The report is to be written as a stand-alone document (assume Paul will only read your report). Thus, you should not have any references in the report to your data analysis output. Eg. “According to Table 1 in the analysis…”
• Your report must have an informative title
• Your report must contain an executive summary that explains in plain language what the report is for and summarises the main findings. The executive summary should be no more than 2/3 page
• The body of your report must be set out in the same order as in the originating memorandum from Paul Anderson, with each section (question) clearly marked
• Use plain language and your explanations succinct. Avoid the use of technical or statistical jargon as Paul Anderson will not necessarily understand statistical terms. As a guide to the meaning of “Plain Language”, imagine you are explaining your findings to a person without any statistical training (e.g. someone who has not studied this unit). What type of language would you use in this case?
• Marks will be lost if you use unexplained technical terms, irrelevant material, or have poor presentation/ organization
• All Microsoft Excel data analysis output associated with each question in the Memorandum is to be placed in the corresponding tab in the yourstudentid.xlsx file
Data Analysis Instructions/Guidelines
In order to prepare a reply to Paul’s memorandum, you will need to examine and analyse the dataset FOODplus_Stores_2018.xlsx thoroughly.
Paul has asked a number of questions and your Data Analysis output (i.e. your charts/tables/graphs) should be structured such that each question is answered on the separate tab/worksheet provided in your Excel document. There are also extra tabs in FOODplus_Stores_ 2018.xlsx called CI, SampleSize and HT and you should use the various templates contained in these tabs in your “Confidence Interval”, “Sample size” and “Hypothesis Testing” answers.
In order to effectively answer the questions, your Data Analysis output needs to be appropriate. Accordingly, you’ll need to establish which of the following techniques are applicable for each question:
• Summary Measures (Descriptive Statistics, Inc. Outlier detection)
• Comparative Summary Measures (i.e. Descriptive Statistics for multiple values of a variable)
• Suitable tables and charts or graphics (Module One) that will illustrate more clearly, other important features of a variable
• Scatter diagrams, Correlation analysis and Cross Tabulations (sometimes called Contingency Tables), used to establish the relationships (dependencies) between two variables
• Confidence Intervals: You can assume that a 95% confidence level is appropriate. We use Confidence Intervals when we have no idea about the population parameter we are investigating. Additionally, we would use Confidence Intervals if we are asked to provide an estimate of a population parameter.
• We Use Hypothesis Tests when we are testing a Claim, a Theory or a Standard. Use 5% significance in any hypothesis tests you perform, and provide a summary of your conclusions. Where appropriate, make comparisons with other levels of significance (2%, 1%).
• Sample size calculation: You can assume that a 95% confidence level is appropriate. You may include comparisons for 90% and 99% and a recommendation for the appropriate sample size.
• To answer some questions you may need to make certain assumptions about the data set we are using. Mention these in your data analysis, where relevant. There is no need to mention this in the memo.
Note: There is an Appendix at the end of each Chapter of the Prescribed Textbook which describes the basic Excel steps associated with that Topic. Chapters 1 to 9 are applicable for this assessment.
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Your completed assignment should be in two separate files:
• Data Analysis (Part A): An Excel document containing separate tabs/ worksheets with charts/ tables/ graphs for each question
• Report (Part B): A Word document of no more than 2000 words which is not to contain any charts/ tables/ graphs
• All interpretations should be presented in your “Report” and the excel document should only contain your intermediate analysis and final output
MIS770, T3 2018 Assignment Two 5 | P a g e
You will find the data in the file called FOODplus_Stores_2018.xlsx, on CloudDeakin for download. Please ensure you read the relevant sheets in that file. In particular, ensure you read the sheet called “Variable Descriptions”. Save a copy for your assignment purposes. Also ensure you read the information which follows.
Poor/Needs Satisfactory Good Very Good Exemplary
Executive 0 points 5 points 6 points 7 points 10 points
summary Does not communicate Explains most of the Explains nearly all of the Provides detailed and Provides an
(Marks: 10) any of the main findings main findings of the main findings of the accurate descriptions of outstanding
of the analysis in an analysis accurately analysis accurately and the most important descriptions and
accurate or useful way, and enables reader to enables reader to draw features of the analysis conclusions that is
or the findings are basic. draw some mostly reasonable along with appropriately carefully considered
reasonable conclusions. qualified conclusions. and insightful.
0 – 4.5 Marks 5 - 5.5 Marks 6 - 6.5 Marks 7 - 7.5 Marks 8 - 10 Marks
Data Analysis 0 points 20 points 24 points 28 points 40 points
and Graphics Uses irrelevant or Uses appropriate data Uses appropriate data Comprehensive analysis of Skilful and
(Marks: 40) inappropriate techniques analysis and analysis and visualisation the data using appropriate comprehensive
to analyse the data, or visualisation tools to tools to analyse the data techniques, but there are analysis of data
Data analysis and analyse the data but but there are some errors in some minor errors in the using many
visualisation tools have there are several the analysis. analysis. different
been used to analyse the errors in the analysis. The presentation of the Uses data visualisations to techniques.
data but in an
The presentation of analysis is of a respectable understand the patterns in Uses data
incomplete or inaccurate
the analysis is standard. data. visualisations
satisfactory. to produce
The analysis is well
A very poor presentation novel insights.
organised and follows
of the analysis, or the
principles of good An exemplary
analysis does not follow
graphical display. presentation of the
principles of good
0 – 19.5 Marks 20 – 23.5 Marks 24 – 27.5 Marks 28 – 31.5 Marks 32 – 40 Marks
Interpreting 0 points 20 points 24 points 28 points 40 points
Results and Does not communicate Explains most of the Explains nearly all of the Provides detailed and Provides an
any of the main findings main findings of the main findings of the accurate descriptions of outstanding
(Marks: 40) of the analysis in an analysis accurately analysis accurately and the most important descriptions and
accurate and/or useful and enables the enables the reader to draw features of the analysis conclusions that is
way, or the reader to draw some mostly reasonable along with appropriately carefully considered
interpretation and reasonable conclusions. qualified conclusions. and insightful.
communication of conclusions. The written The written The written
findings is at a basic
The written communication is clear and communication is communication is
communication is clear easy to follow and professional, easy to truly professional,
The written and easy to follow but generally free of spelling or follow and has a good logical and easy to
communication is it contains minor grammatical errors. structure. follow.
unprofessional or difficult spelling or grammatical
to follow and contains errors.
numerous spelling or
0 – 19.5 Marks 20 – 23.5 Marks 24 – 27.5 Marks 28 – 31.5 Marks 32 - 40 Marks
Overall 0 points 5 point 6 points 7 points 10 points
Assignment A very poor The presentation of The presentation of the The analysis is well An exemplary
presentation of the the analysis is analysis is of a respectable organised and follows presentation of the
(Marks: 10) analysis or it is mostly satisfactory. standard. principles of good analysis.
disorganised. The memorandum is The memorandum is clear graphical display. The memorandum
The memorandum is The memorandum is
clear and easy to follow and easy to follow and is truly professional,
un-professional, but it contains minor generally free of spelling or professional, easy to logical and easy to
difficult to follow spelling or grammatical grammatical errors. follow with good structure. follow.
and/or contains errors.
numerous spelling or
0 – 4.5 Marks 5 -5.5 Marks 6 -6.5 Marks 7 -7.5 Marks 8 - 10 Marks
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