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Operations Management Assignment: Business Case Analysis Of AstraZeneca Plc.


Task: Working individually on this operations management assignment, you are tasked with the selection of a business of your choice, such as your current or past employer, and undertake a comprehensive review of their business operations. Specifically explore, using relevant tools and techniques learnt, the efficiency of operations, resource availability and overall operation strategy, while considering the current market situation and disruptions.

1.Organisation overview & analysis of operation management challenges
2.Supply chain analysis
3.Risk assessment
4.Improvement recommendations
5.Business & academic references


In this operations management assignment, AstraZeneca, a British Swedish international pharmaceutical and biotechnology company is selected. The business operations of this company are analysed in this paper. To analyse the business operations of AstraZeneca, at first an overview of the companies provided to understand what it does. After that, the business and operational management activities are discussed along with the operational challenges that it has faced during its business activities. The supply chain system of any business plays a major role in the success of the business and therefore in this case also the supply chain system of AstraZeneca is analysed properly to understand whether the supply chain system of this company is effective or not. The disk registered of this company is also provided in this paper along with the mitigation strategies so that the potential risks of this company can be properly identified along with the likelihood of occurrence. At the end of the paper, some recommendations are provided from the challenges and issues that it has faced and other analyses, so that in future the business operational activities can be performed in a better manner.

Overview of the company
AstraZeneca plc is a popular British Swedish international pharmaceutical and biotechnology company. The headquarter of this company is located at the Cambridge biomedical campus in Cambridge, England. After the global pandemic, this pharmaceutical and biotechnology company has been involved actively in developing a vaccine against the coronavirus("Our business strategy - Our Company - AstraZeneca", 2022).

This pharmaceutical company was established in the year 1999 and it was the result or outcome of the merging between the British companies in Zeneca group and the Swedish company Astra AB. After this merger has taken place, this company has become the largest pharmaceutical company in the world. During these 22 years, this company has made multiple corporate acquisitions and includes some of the famous Acquisitions likeCambridge Antibody Technology (in 2006), MedImmune (in 2007), Spirogen (in 2013) and Definiens (by MedImmune in 2014). This famous pharmaceutical company has its research and development centre and it is located strategically in 3 places these 3 locations are Cambridge, England; Gaithersburg in Maryland, us; and Gothenburg, Sweden. This pharmaceutical company is listed on the London Stock Exchange. It is considered as the primary listing and there are several secondary listings also and those are the national Stock Exchange of India, Bombay Stock Exchange of India, NASDAQ New York, NASDAQ OMX Stockholm.

From the official website of AstraZeneca Plc, it has been found that the strategies used by this company are straightforward. AstraZeneca is led by innovation and scientific approaches. Although this firm has a diverse portfolio of medicines it specialises in rare diseases and speciality care. It includes the diseases related to biopharmaceuticals such as renal, cardiovascular, metabolism, immunology and respiratory. It also includes diseases related to oncology. According to the official website of the company, it claims that they have a global strength and their presence is properly balanced throughout the globe. The company focuses on performing the business activities in such as manner so that suitable relationships among the need of the society, growth of business and limitation of the planet can be maintained. The business strategy of this company includes three objectives or priorities and these are accelerating innovative science, leading and delivering growth and therapy, and a great working environment.

Business operational management
To perform the operational activities properly an operational framework must be developed. This framework includes the standards and procedures developed by the company, the trading methods, the objectives and the policy of the company(Lambin & Schuiling, 2012). This helps others to understand the working methodology of the company. Therefore, an operational framework should be effective and properly developed so that it can guide anyone who reads it about the working procedure of the company. It also keeps a clear understanding of the culture of the organization and its identity. The divisions within the forms and also the organizational values can also be understood from this framework. Different frameworks include different elements(Awwa., 2019).

In the case of AstraZeneca plc, the operational framework is effective and unique. The company focuses on performing the business activities in such as manner so that suitable relationships among the need of the society, growth of business and limitation of the planet can be maintained(Adida et al., 2013). The business strategy of this company includes three objectives or priorities and these are accelerating innovative science, leading and delivering growth and therapy, and a great working environment. This company is driven by innovative and scientific approaches(Wilson, 2021). This company deals with different types of diseases, especially the diseases from which individuals suffer a lot but suitable medication is not yet developed. Using the research and development centre of this company, it tries to develop a better environment for everyone where individuals do not need to suffer from a disease without a cure.

The company has faced multiple challenges in developing different types of medications at different times but it has managed and overcome all the situations and challenges properly by implementing appropriate strategies and innovative approaches. Lately, it has faced lots of issues and challenges in developing vaccines against the Coronavirus. In the beginning, this company has created a vaccine against the Coronavirus with the collaboration of the University of Oxford. The cost of the vaccine was less than a cup of coffee. It is said that the effectiveness of the vaccine was 90 per cent. But later it was found that the vaccine did not have that amount of efficacy. It was found after getting some preliminary results from some of the participants. This was a big challenge for the company, later this pharmaceutical company admitted that the results were true and it was their mistake.

According to the company, there are errors in considering the Data including some irregularities. This was the reason why they found the efficacy of the vaccine to be 90 per cent. They justified that there were errors in their experiment and due to that error that found the result was 90 per cent. The company did not give false hope and make a false claim to the end-users, the company claim that because they had found the same result. Later after going through the method again, the errors were identified and the efficacy was proved to be less.

On the other hand, according to the officials in the USA, the results were never clear at all. Another point is that the company did not inform about the error but the head of the flagship federal vaccine initiative was the one who blew the whistle.
The actual efficacy of the vaccine was found to be between 60 % to 70 %. The question was why the difference was so big. It means that the error was huge and it also suggests whether this vaccine is safe to take or not. This was found after 15 days and within these 15 days, many people have already taken the vaccine considering they used to know the vaccine had a 90% efficacy against the coronavirus. The vaccine doses were given in 2 separate methods. One is the full dose and the other one is the half dose. There is another issue that the company faced during this time. It had been found that people having the half toes or smaller dosewere benefited more than that of the full dose. It was the opposite of what should have happened. The persons having full dose should have more protection against the krona wider than that of the persons having a smaller dose but in reality, it did not happen. This is another question that rises against the operational activities of AstraZeneca. This was a big disaster for this company and as a result of that, the company had to pull over all the vaccines and started from fresh to ensure suitable Vaccines with proper efficacy were provided to the end-users.

4Vs framework
This framework represents the 4 operational processes such as volume variety variation and visibility. In the case of AstraZeneca, variety and variation Are the strongest pillars. When this pharmaceutical company produces medicines for mass then it provides a large volume of products so that almost all the individuals can get your services. Therefore, it has to be said that volume for this company is not fixed and it changes according to the requirement of the end-users. On the other hand, as this company focuses more on research and development activities therefore different types of variety and variation are produced and therefore these two are considered as the strongest pillar of this company. For AstraZeneca visibility is not needed. Therefore, they do not focus on visibility because the company believes that if a suitable product can be properly distributed among the end users then visibility will not be needed Supply chain analysis

The supply chain system of AstraZeneca is considered to be a responsible one. AstraZeneca ensures robust and suitable relationships with the suppliers while processing and sourcing external resources for business activities(Anaking & Suryani, 2021). While considering the external resources, the company focuses on the social practices and environmental practices performed by the suppliers so that the entire supply chain management can remain sustainable.
To ensure the supply chain system remains strong and effective, AstraZeneca offers multiple supports to the suppliers. AstraZeneca offers the suppliers opportunity 5 which the suppliers can develop sustainable capabilities and knowledge. The company provides adequate value to every supplier Throughout the entire Business relationship. The code of conduct of the suppliers are also observed and if those code of conduct are properly matched with the expectations that the company wants from a 3rd party, only then our business relationship is developed with that external party. The company follows the global standard expectation from every external source. The external sources must meet this standard expectation of AstraZeneca to have a business deal with the company. AstraZeneca only works with those external suppliers who provide suitable value to their products and services and also in a consistent manner(Skilton, 2014). AstraZeneca focuses on developing inclusive resilient and transparent business and therefore it wants the same business strategy for the external suppliers also. External suppliers who want to develop a similar business that is transparent resilient and inclusive business only are welcome to perform business deals with AstraZeneca. AstraZeneca focuses mainly on achieving sustainability. It has developed a guide and framework for assessing the performances of its end also for the external suppliers so that sustainability can be achieved properly.

There are multiple categories of suppliers in the case of the supply chain of AstraZeneca and according to this company, it wants to achieve sustainability in its all supply chains including packaging, formulation and APIs, which are also known as active pharmaceutical ingredients. From the official website of the company, it has been found that the company is continuously expanding its focus to improve the supply chain system effectively.

Risk Analysis
Risk analysis is one of the most important activities in business operation management. This helps in understanding the possible risks or issues that can be faced while performing the business activities. It also denotes the probability of occurrence of those risks and also the nature of impacts(Hiscock & Jones, 2017). Now if the potential risks can be identified before they can take place then it will be easier to develop suitable mitigation strategies so that those risks can be avoided. The mitigation strategies can also be used to reduce the impact of the risks if they cannot be avoided completely. All this information is presented within a table or in a matrix and it is called a risk register or risk matrix(Svalova, 2018).All business organizations need to follow a risk register to avoid any kind of potential risks and at the same time, it also helps to develop a contingency plan so that at the time of a disaster the business activities can be properly performed.

Risk register

Risk register in operations management assignment

From the above analysis, it can be stated that AstraZeneca focuses on providing value to the end-users rather than earning profit. At the same time, it balances between business activities and social responsibility also. The problems that the company have faced during its business activities are the results. The research and development centres of this company should be meet stronger and to do that it needs to appoint more scientists or other individuals who will be suitable for their activities. The company is indeed following scientific approaches but at present, it should be more data-driven. If suitable data can be accumulated and then analysed properly the result can be 80% correct. From the analysis, it has been found that because of error in data the efficacy of the vaccine against coronavirus was 90% whereas the actual efficacy of the same vaccine was around 65%. Hence it can be seen that a little change in data can’t change the result significantly. Therefore, the component needs to focus more on accumulating and validating the data. After the accumulation of data, the collected data should be properly validated to ensure that the collected data is correct. If it can be ensured that the data that has been collected is valid only then the result found from the analysis of the data can be correct.

In the end, it can be concluded that the supply chain system of this company is very strong and effective. The success that AstraZeneca has obtained during the last 22 years is because of the scientific and innovative approaches that it follows and the strong supply chain system that it has. If the system can be made more data-driven then the issues that the company has faced in past will not occur in the future or at least the likelihood of occurrence will be less.

Adida, E., Dey, D., & Mamani, H. (2013). Operational issues and network effects in vaccine markets. European Journal Of Operational Research, 231(2), 414-427.

Anaking, P., & Suryani, E. (2021). Beef Supply Chain Analysis to Improve Availability and Supply Chain Value Using System Dynamics Methodology. IPTEK Journal Of Proceedings Series, 0(6), 229. AWWA. (2019). AWWA G410-18 Business Practices for Operation and Management. American Water Works Association.

Hiscock, K., & Jones, A. (2017). Assessing the Extent to Which the UK’s National Risk Register Supports Local Risk Management. Sustainability, 9(11), 1991.

Lambin, J., & Schuiling, I. (2012). Market-driven management. Operations management assignment Palgrave Macmillan.
Our business strategy - Our Company - AstraZeneca. (2022). Retrieved 20 March 2022, from

Skilton, P. (2014). Value Creation, Value Capture, and Supply Chain Structure: Understanding Resource-Based Advantage in a Project-Based Industry. Journal Of Supply Chain Management, 50(3), 74-93. Svalova, V. (2018). Risk Assessment. IntechOpen.

Wilson, C. (2021). Oxford/AstraZeneca. New Scientist, 251(3347), 8-9.


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