EPortfolio: Operations Of Literature Oasis

pages Pages: 4word Words: 890

Question :

Assessment Details 

Literature Oasis is a small second-hand book shop, run by a team of three staff members: Arthur, Bakari, and Clancy.

For this assignment, you will complete the following set of tasks using Excel, and build an ePortfolio page to describe your work.

Task 0 - Setting up 

Create an ePortfolio page for your assignment. You will submit this page to Moodle as per the lab tasks. You may call it whatever you like, for example ITECH1100 Assignment 1

Hours of operation 

Most of the time, each team member works separate shifts: Arthur works 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday; Bakari works 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM, Thursday, Friday and Saturday; and Clancy works 12:30 PM to 5:30 PM, Monday to Friday.

The shop runs from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM each day, except Saturday when it closes at 12:30. It is closed entirely on Sundays.


Arthur and Bakari are the semi-retired co-owners of the bookshop, and do not take a salary. Clancy, however, is a part-time employee, with total employment costs of $22 per hour. Clancy is also entitled to four weeks of paid annual leave, during which a casual replacement is required at a cost of $33 per hour. Fixed costs such as rent and insurance are $2900 per year, and utilities costs are $140 per month.

Task 1 - Costs of operating the business

 Using Excel, create a spreadsheet called operating_costs.xlsx that calculates the projected annual outgoing costs of running Literature Oasis. Your spreadsheet should be configured such that the working hours, hourly rates, and fixed and utility costs can be varied easily. Document your findings in your ePortfolio page (approximately 100 words).

Obtaining Books 

Throughout the day, customers come to Literature Oasis to buy books, and occasionally to sell them. When people bring in books to sell to Literature Oasis, the staff member on duty will review the books and make an offer for each one individually. Currently, the process for determining how much the book shop will pay for a book is entirely subjective. Staff members offer an amount per book based on the quality of the book, and how popular they think it is, and how they are feeling at the time. The sale amount is always simply double the amount paid and is set at the same time - if Literature Oasis pays $3.00 for a book, they will put it on sale with a marked price of $6.00. (Literature Oasis does not deal in rare or antique books) For several months, staff have been keeping track of the date and time, quality, publication year and amount paid for each book in a spreadsheet. This spreadsheet is available for download on Moodle.

Task 2 - Sales team offers 

Using Excel, process the history of purchases spreadsheet and use appropriate charts to visualize: How the prices paid differed for each staff member; and How the prices paid have changed over time Describe your findings in your ePortfolio (approximately 250 words), and attach the Excel file to your page

Process automation 

Arthur and Bakari want to improve the consistency of how they pay for and price books. They'd like to standardize on three standard price offers, and have designed the following process to determine how to allocate them, including the option of rejecting the book altogether. The staff have already agreed on how to determine whether a book is terrible, poor, or good.

flow chart to determine how to allocate books including the option of rejecting the book altogether

Task 3 - Automation 

Using Excel, create a spreadsheet page that automates the above process, allowing a member of the team to enter whether the book is hardcover, its publication year, and its condition, and receive a price to offer. Ensure that you include enough text and formatting to make your spreadsheet usable by a member of the Literature Oasis team, or by a University lecturer. Your spreadsheet should be configured such that the Low, Medium and High prices can be varied easily. Describe how you automated the process (approx 150 words), and attach your Excel file to your ePortfolio.

Task 4 - Price setting 

Using Excel and the historical data you have available, determine sets of prices which meet the objectives of the following scenarios:

Scenario one: Total offer prices are approximately the same as for the historical data

Scenario two: Assuming all books purchased are sold, allow all staff to draw the same wage as Clancy.

Describe the strategy you used to find appropriate prices for each scenario (approximately 150 words). Ensure that the Low price is less than the Medium price, and both are less than the High price.

Bonus challenge task (optional!) 

Disclaimer: This task is 100% optional, and you can receive full marks without attempting or completing it. It is intended to be a challenge if you are interested in such things, and the marks available do not reflect the significant research and effort required to implement it correctly. Tutors will not provide significant assistance for this challenge task.

Optional task 5

 Reimplement Task 1 and Task 3 using either Python or HTML+JavaScript. Write a brief overview of how to run your solution, and attach a zip file containing your code to your ePortfolio page. There are no partial marks awarded for this bonus task - you must complete all features to attain the bonus marks. It is possible to attain full marks for this assignment without completing this challenge task.

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Answer :

Task 1

Below is the screenshot of operating expenses created for Year 1 till Year 5:

operating expenses created for Year 1 till Year 5

  • The sheet has been prepared for 5 years so as to see forecast. 
  • The COLA indicates cost of living appreciation and can be changed in respective column so as to change the linked cells automatically.
  • The monthly and hourly columns have been provided so as to easily change the rates in respective column and linked cells will be automatically updated
  • The fixed cost section indicates Rent and Insurance separately. However, since a combined amount was provided in assignment, it has been entered in ‘Rent’ column. The Year 2-Year 5 figures automatically update for 3% COLA. Utilities section works similarly.
  • The Salary section mentions part time cost for Clancy and corresponding replacement for four weeks leave period.
  • The Books purchased section has been left blank and should include money paid for books purchased by the store.
  • The revenue will get automatically updated at double the amount of books purchased.

Task 2

The excel sheet provides various pivot tables and charts generated basis different employees. A screenshot is as follows:

pivot tables and charts generated basis different employees

It can be seen that prices vary a lot within various categories. For example, while Clancy seems to be giving higher than average price for ‘Good’ books, Arthur seems to be doing it for ‘Poor’ or ‘Terrible’ books. Similarly, Clancy is giving higher than average price for both old and new books by the publishing date criteria while Bakari is doing this for New books. While Paperback pricing is somewhat similar, there are huge differences in pricing of hardcover books between three employees. This will lead to distortions, particularly if we take into account the number of books purchased by each employee. For example, Clancy purchased maximum number of good books and since she is giving the highest price, it will lead to more distortion in overall expenses. Further, she is working five hours every day which means she is dealing more as seen by total number of books purchased by her (480) as compared to Arthur (122) and Bakari (106). The variations become clearer with following graph:

average offer price basis quality

average offer price basis type

Task 3

The tab named automation helps the staff to take decision consistently by creating scenarios based on historical average pricing. Three scenarios have been created: Good, poor and terrible. The screenshot below indicates various possible situations and once a scenario is generated, the corresponding price will be reflected in the Row named “Price”:

screenshot below indicates various possible situations Good, poor and terrible

A spread sheet sample is created using list dropdowns to streamline the formatting etc. Input is required in range cells and output will come in white cells.

spread sheet sample is created using list dropdowns

If the book is terrible, it is rejected straightaway. If the book is published 15 years ago than today’s date, the price range is reflected as low and otherwise, the price range is high. This gives an indication to staff as to where the price offered should be, high, low or medium. 

Using these two tables in conjunction will help to streamline and automate decision making.

Task 4

Scenario 1: Historical overall average was used to generate scenario:

Historical overall average was used to generate scenario

However, as seen, the average of good condition, old paperback ($4.20) is more than good condition, new paperback ($3.90) which is not logical. The price offered for new book should be more than that for old ones (by publishing year criteria). Further:

If we prepare a table of historical average high, medium and low prices:




Clearly, some of the low prices are higher than the “high” price which is not logical. Hence, we should not rely on historical average method. Rather, new price range should be determined by the staff in consultation and agreement.

Scenario 2: Same wages for all:

Hypothetically, we can assume following prices as high, medium and low:  

$6.50 (good hardcover new)$2.50 (good paperback new)$2.00 (good hardcover old)
$3.50 (poor hardcover new)
$1.50 (poor hardcover old)

$1.50 (good paperback old)

$1.50 (poor paperback old/new)

Here, all conditions will be met with low price being lower than both medium and high.

Further, if we go by historical offer price data provided, the store is purchasing worth $300 books and Clancy is drawing $22 per hour. Clearly, this is not a sustainable model.

The store either needs to sell much more books or increase prices to more than double of purchase price or look for cheaper staff.

If the remaining two also draw salary, there will be a cash crunch at this rate. Hence, the store must look into various expansion and cost cutting options.