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CIPS Guide for Students

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Higher marks were awarded for answers that also gave examples of each type of cost, as these were an intrinsic part of this question. Typical examples given of direct costs were parts and materials; typical examples of indirect costs were the rent of buildings, and nonproduction salaries. Up to three marks were awarded tor an explanation ot the differences between direct and indirect costs, and up to two marks for the examples given.

This part of this question was generally answered extremely well, with the large majority of candidates getting the full five marks available.

A small number of nswers gave direct and indirect costs the wrong way round; or Just gave guesses at the meaning of the phrases ‘direct costs’ and ‘indirect costs’. Some responses were far longer than could be Justified by the maximum of five marks on offer: some candidates wrote a full side and more. This is not Wrong at all, but it uses up valuable time that could be spent on other questions.

QI (b) Describe FIVE factors that a buyer might expect a supplier to take into account when setting the selling price of their product (20 marks) This part of this question was also generally answered very well, with many candidates gaining high marks. Factors that were included in answers typically included: recovering all costs (labour, materials overheads, etc); desired levels of profit; the extent of competition in the marketplace; wider economic factors; the nature of the actual/desired relationship with the buyer; and the desirability of the buyer as a customer.

All other valid responses were also accepted, and gained marks. Higher marks were awarded for more detailed descriptions, and for illustrative examples. Weaker answers gave little more than five bullet points, without descriptions; and a very few answers here were shorter than the associated response o part (a) of this question, despite part (b) having up to twenty marks available. Where, as here, the question asks for a specific number of examples or factors, typically ‘THREE’, or ‘FIVE’, such number will usually appear in capital letters, and emboldened.

Candidates should recognise this number as being part of the command word within the question, and should clearly delineate that number of entries in their responses. This can be done in many ways: by numbering; by separating sections or paragraphs; or textually. It is a set CIPS principle that only the sought number of examples will be marked, up to that stated number. Some andidates here, gave more than the required number of responses; and all those superfluous extra examples will not be marked at all.

This then represents wasted time and wasted effort. This is important advice to candidates. However, most answers to this particular part of this question were ‘good’ to Very good’, and most gained at least a ‘merit’ level mark of fifteen or so, with many getting marks in the high teens. Question 2 – Learning Outcome 2 2(a) Explain THREE different purposes ot key pertormance indicators in contracts witn suppliers (1 5 marks) This part of this question was generally answered correctly, with many candidates iving good responses.

Commonly provided answers included: allowing comparison between suppliers; making suppliers aware of their responsibilities; allowing early identification of underperformance by the supplier; helping to identify good suppliers for future contracts; providing a basis for improvement; and recognising when performance is falling below a required standard. These, and all other relevant purposes, attracted marks. Candidates were required to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding by ‘explaining the purpose’ of KPIs, so few marks were awarded for mere ‘descriptions’ of KPIs.

Up to five marks were awarded for each purpose explained. The majority of candidates got ‘pass’ level marks, or better, for this part of this question. 2(b) Describe TWO key performance indicators that could be included in a contract for catering services (10 marks) This part of the question, too, was generally answered very well, with many candidates gaining high marks from appropriate and imaginative suggestions for key performance indicators that would be relevant to a contract for catering services.

However, some candidates gave very short answers; and/or gave very generic key erformance indicators that would not be relevant to catering services. Typical marks achieved were therefore six or seven out of the possible ten marks available, with up to five marks available for each KPI described. A broad interpretation of the meaning of ‘catering services’ was applied by the Markers, and all reasonable suggestions for relevant KPIs attracted marks.

Typical proposals included: opening hours; service and food availability; numbers of customers served; customer feedback from surveys or other channels; reports from a ‘mystery shopper’ on quality of service; portion ontrol; breadth of menu; opening hours; numbers of customer complaints and/or plaudits; health and safety record; food quality; venue cleanliness; staff presentability and knowledge; cost; and value for money.

Some candidates carefully distinguished between ‘qualitative’ and ‘quantitative’ KPIs; or added wider descriptions of the role of KPIs. This was not incorrect as such, but it was not sought by the question, so attracted no further marks. Some responses allocated disproportionate lengths of content to the two parts of this question, rather than adjusting length to the potential marks available, so that part (a) responses were omewhat longer than part (b), instead of the other way round, as the mark allocation suggested.

Question 3 – Learning Outcome 3 3(a) Outline FIVE examples of contractual terms that might be used in a commercial agreement (1 5 marks) This was a very general part to this question, in that there are very many examples of contractual terms that might be used in commercial agreements, and marks were awarded for all possible examples given by candidates.

Typical suggestions from candidates included: exclusion terms; limitation terms; force majeure terms; IPR terms; sub-contracting terms; duration of agreement terms; price variation terms; nsurance terms; indemnity terms; retention of title terms; liquidated damages terms; applicable law terms; break/termination terms; and dispute resolution terms. This is not an exhaustive list of those terms that were proposed by candidates, and credit was given by Markers for all other relevant suggestions.

Generic headings , such as ‘conditions’, ‘implied terms’, ‘express terms’, or Warranties’, were not correct answers to this question, as the question specifically sought ‘examples’ of terms; but if appropriate wording for such a term was included within an otherwise generic esponse, then marks were awarded for that content. Up to three marks were available for each term outlined; and the use of that command word meant that long descriptions or explanations were not needed in order to still achieve full marks.

Many candidates gave good ‘outlines’, and a substantial number of candidates gained at or close to the full fifteen marks available. A few candidates gave, incorrectly, the conditions that must exist for a legally binding contract to come into being, such as ‘offer and acceptance’; and a few also gave, incorrectly, the so-called five rights of purchasing as their answer. b) Suggest conditions that may be included in a contract to ensure a supplier complies with recognised ethical and labour standards This, too, was a very broad-based part to this question; and many conditions that could be included in a contract to ensure that a supplier complies with ethical and labour standards were fully accepted as correct answers. This part, too, was generally answered well, with many candidates gaining seven or eight marks out of the maximum of ten available.

Typical answers that were given included conditions such as: adherence to Fair-trade rules; bans on the use of child labour; stringent health nd safety requirements; enforcing the payment of minimum wage or fair wage; rules against bribery and corruption; prompt payment of sub-contractors and employees; compliance with CSR policies; enforcement of equality and diversity policies; compliance with International Labour Organisation (ILO) or similar standards; membership of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) or similar bodies; commitment to transparency; and commitment to Trades Union recognition.

No specific number of ‘conditions’ was sought by the question, so candidates could either cover a few conditions in some depth, or a larger number of conditions in less etail; all appropriate different levels of breadth and depth were accepted, and were awarded marks as appropriate. The command word ‘suggest’ does not seek especially deep levels ot description or explanation. A tew candidates misinterpreted t question, and answered it by stating the consequences of not meeting the conditions; rather than suggesting what the actual conditions might be.

Also, some responses allocated disproportionate lengths of content to the two 4/6 parts of this question, rather than adjusting the length to the potential marks available, so that part (a) responses were somewhat longer than part (b), instead of he other way round, as the mark allocation indicated. Question 4 – Learning Outcome 4 A shoe retailer, that currently manufactures its own shoes, is now considering buying in the shoes from an external supplier. (a) Outline FOUR factors that the company should consider when deciding whether to buy in the shoes or continue to manufacture them (16 marks) This part of this demanding, scenario-based question was answered very well, generally; with the large majority of candidates giving very good outlines of four relevant factors. Typical responses included factors such as: relative costs of the two pproaches; market demand; competitors’ prices; the availability of competent external suppliers; quality issues; in-house capacity and competencies; skills at managing commercial relationships; possible redundancies, and other HR consequences.

Many candidates scored high marks. Up to four marks were awarded for each of any four relevant factors that could be taken into account in a make-or- buy decision, in the context given in the pre-amble to the question. The use of the ‘outline’ command word meant that long descriptions or explanations were not needed in order to still achieve full marks. (b) Explain the role of the procurement function in the procurement process if the company decides to outsource the supply of shoes (9 marks) This part of this question, too, was generally answered very well, with the large majority of candidates giving good responses.

A broad interpretation was taken by Markers of the role of the procurement function’, so that answers could address both or either of the roles of the procurement function that are ongoing after the outsourcing has been completed; the roles that would change after outsourcing; and/ or the roles of procurement during and as part of the actual process of doing the utsourcing. The latter was the area addressed by most candidates; but all relevant ‘roles’ were awarded marks. The only ‘roles’ that were not awarded marks were any given by candidates that were clearly far beyond any normal scope of a ‘procurement’ tunction.

Typical ‘roles’ explained by candidates came trom various parts ot the procurement cycle, often including: giving help with specifications; identification of appropriate suppliers; evaluating potential suppliers; negotiations; supplier performance monitoring; and contract and relationship management. Some candidates identified roles that would change, as procurement moved away from hoe materials acquisition, and towards service management of shoe production by new, key suppliers in the post-outsourced situation.

A few responses consisted of merely a long ‘bullet point’ list of roles, often based on the procurement cycle. This approach gained relatively few marks, as the question required ‘explanation’ of the roles; therefore, answers that gave fuller explanations of each role gained higher marks. Some candidates wrote more for Q4(b) than for Q4(a), despite Q4(b) being worth only approximately half the marks of the first part of the question. This is not Wrong in any way, but is not good examination technique.

Cite this essay

CIPS Guide for Students. (2018, Oct 11). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/cips-guide-for-students-essay

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