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Analyze the operations functions of Euro Tunnel, or any organization of your choice


Programme:                          BTEC Higher National Diploma (HND) in Business

Unit Number:                          Unit 34

Unit Title:                               Operations Management in Business

Unit code:                              R/505/8181
QCF Level:                             5


Operations management is the area of business activity concerned with the production of goods and services. It includes the responsibility of ensuring that all business/organizational operations are efficient in terms of minimizing costs by using as few resources as possible, and effective  in terms of maximizing quality and meeting customer requirements. It is concerned with managing the transformational processes that convert inputs (in the form of materials, labor and energy) into outputs (in the form of goods and services).

It is important therefore that learners seeking employment in the business world realize that the ‘proper’ organization of productive systems, and their interfaces with internal as well as external customers and suppliers, is essential if goods/services are to be produced on time, to cost and within the law.




The Brown family was looking forward to their holiday in France. They had experienced more than their share of difficulties during the year, and felt ready for a relaxing fortnight.

They usually crossed the channel by hovercraft but, impressed by the stories of several friends and acquaintances telling of a smooth and trouble-free crossing not in any way influenced by the weather, they had decided to use the shuttle. Armed with a pre-booked ticket for the 2.54 train on a Wednesday afternoon they set out in plenty of time.

They arrived early, joining the queue for admission at 1.35 p.m. They were surprised to find that, despite having a prepaid and booked tickets, it still took them fifteen minutes to reach a check-in booth. Here their ticket was checked, and they were given a piece of card with the letter R on it to hang from their rear view mirror. ‘That’s fine’ said the check-in operator, ‘you are on the 2.54. We are boarding from the terminal today, so just wait in the terminal until your letter is called.’

After parking their car they bought some duty free goods and then waited. Video screens were calling letters M and N. At 2.45 screens showing N and O, so Brown approached the enquiries desk to find out what was happening. ‘Oh, we had problem this morning so we are running an hour late’, said the receptionist, ‘but we are running three trains an hour’.

While queuing for a coffee, letters P and Q were called, and little later R. It was now 3.15p.m. As the Browns made their way out to the car, they were surprised to hear the public address system call letters S and T. The car park was chaotic. It looked as though almost all the cars were trying to get out at once, and it took the Browns almost thirty minutes to get to passport control and security.

Finally, half way up lane three in the marshalling area, they waited to embark. Lane 1was embarked first and seemed endless. It became apparent that cars still on the access road were ushered down lane one and on to the train, presumably to clear congestion. Eventually this stopped and lane 2 was embarked, followed by the first few cars in lane 3. The Browns were now five from the front of the queue and the next train was in twenty minutes. It was 3.55 pm.


The Shuttle

The Shuttle carries cars and their passengers between England and France by train through the Channel Tunnel. Services run frequently with a thirty- minute crossing time. Since it is underground, the crossing is not affected by adverse weather, which can make sea crossing uncomfortable or even impossible. Cars are driven unto the train, on two levels, and drivers and passengers remain with their cars throughout the journey. Tickets may be bought in advance, but it is also possible to turn up on spec and buy a ticket on arrival.

Figure 1: shows an approximate schematic of the terminal area (Hard copy of this will provided to students)

It is the policy of Eurotunnel in the event of difficulty to ‘recover the timetable as quickly as possible and minimize disruption. Keeping our customers informed of the progress of this process is . . . difficult to manage’.


There are several alternatives for motorists crossing the channel. All surface vessels and therefore more or less influenced by inclement weather. This can vary from mild discomfort, particularly those prone to seasickness, through to cancellation of services in extreme conditions. All methods provide terminal buildings with duty free shopping facilities. They are:

1 Ferries: There are a number of alternative routes, but the ‘short’ crossings have a crossing time of about ninety minutes, with a typical check-in time of one hour. Passengers are not allowed to remain with their cars. The ferries provide restaurants, bars, snack bars and duty free shopping.

2 Fast-craft: Similar in many respects to ferries, but crossing the Channel in only in only forty-five to fifty minutes

3 Hovercraft: A thirty check-in and thirty-five minute crossing. Passengers sit in coach-style seats with little opportunity to move around and limited duty free goods for sale.

(Source: www.thetimes100.co.uk)

Using the case study above, or any organization of your choice,  and relevant theories and literature, answer the criteria comprised of the following broad topics/sub-sections:

Requirement 1

1.1 Explain why operations management is important for Euro Tunnel, or any organization of your choice

1.2 Analyze the operations functions of Euro Tunnel, or any organization of your choice

1.3 Evaluate, by using a process model, the operations management of Euro Tunnel, or any organization of your choice

Requirement 2

2.1 Appraise/Evaluate the ‘Three E’s (economy, efficiency and effectiveness). Identify where they apply in the case, or any organization/situation of your choice

2.2 Assess the impact of the tension between cost minimization and quality maximization. Briefly discuss these two elements in the context of the case, or any organization/situation of your choice.

2.3 Evaluate the significance of the five performance objectives that underline operations management and briefly apply them to the case under study, or any organization/situation of your choice.

Requirement 3

3.1 Assesslinear programming and give a brief explanation. Explain whether it will be possible to apply it to the case or not, or any organization/situation of your choice.

3.2 Evaluate critical path analysis and network planning briefly. How would this apply in this case, or any organization/situation of your choice?

3.3 Justifybriefly how operational planning and control is necessary in this case, or any organization/situation of your choice.

Requirement 4

4.1 In the context of the case, or any organization/situation of your choice,  produce a set of clearly defined operational outcomes.

4.2 Produce a network plan of the activities of the operations and indicate the resultant critical path (In the context of the case, or any organization/situation of your choice).

4.3 How would you define quality in this case, or in the context of the case, or any organization/situation of your choice? How could that be maintained?

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