B.A.Sc. Thesis Abstracts - Year 2000

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E-Commerce - Virtual Sales Coverage to Procter & Gamble Small Customers in Ontario & Atlantic Provinces

Carla Freire and Barak Edelstein

This project was initiated due to Procter and Gamble’s (P&G’s) need to provide their approximately 100 small customers in Ontario and the Atlantic Provinces, most of whom are currently without sales coverage, with complete product information. Most of these customers purchase P&G products, and receive product information through distributors who are larger P&G customers. P&G is concerned about their small customers not being provided with complete product information by their distributors, and would like to help these distributors sell P&G products to these small customers by providing the small customers with all of P&G products’ information. P&G decided to take advantage of the Internet to provide their small customers with product information.

A product information web site was designed and built to provide P&G’s small customers with product information, new product announcements, promotions, and business solutions. Three separate designs were built using Microsoft’s FrontPage 2000. All three designs utilize a frames structure, extract product information from an internal product information database maintained by P&G, and contain links to new product announcements, promotions, and business solutions documents. The selection hierarchy from the database in all three designs consists of first selecting categories, then brands, and then products. The three designs differ in the number of items for which they can provide information, and in the way that they retrieve the information. The first design passes single input parameters to queries using hyperlinks and provides information on single products. The second and third designs allow customers to make multiple selections in each of the three hierarchical selection levels, and view information on multiple products at the same time. They also allow customers to maintain and modify a list of products of interest, and access that list at any time. The second design uses forms with database results in them to allow the customers to make multiple selections at each hierarchical selection level, saves those selections in a centralized database, and provides lower level information using those saved selection. The third design provides the same functionality as the second design, but passes selections using the ASP POST method. Selections are sent directly to queries that use them as selection criteria in extracting the requested lower level hierarchical information.

P&G has a significant opportunity to convert this thesis project into a commercial reality. With the growing and easy accessibility to the Internet, a user friendly web site is an ideal way for P&G to communicate with and provide information to their small customers.

Solution Analysis Reporting for Imperial Oil Ltd. Optimizable Refinery Model Planning Tool

Leonid Zinkov

Imperial Oil Ltd. is one of Canada’s largest corporations and has been a leading member of the petroleum industry for more than a century. Its primary retail products include automotive products and home heat products. Imperial Oil has two large refining sites in the central Canada. One being located in Sarnia and another is in Nanticoke. Currently the Imperial Oil Ltd. (lOL) is using a tool to produce the solution set of an ORM, called DM0. This tool is programmed by chemical engineers to keep a track of the various parameters associated with a refinery sites in Central Canada. This tool is developed to optimize the refinery in order to produce efficient and cost effective plant. As a result the large benefits are achieved. The tool is based on the sets of nonlinear equations with some parameters being specified as constraints. Based on the constraints the sets of equations are then solved to produce the optimized model that can be used by refineries. The reports are produced on monthly, quarterly and annual basis. From the reports the team at IOL is able to come up with the strategy for the future planning. The purpose of the proposed project is to develop an approach to screen and analyze the solution set of an Optimizable Refinery Model (ORM) for convergence, feasibility and profitability using “expert” rules.

Process Monitoring Using Statistical Process Control

Arnab Gupta

Imperial Oil would like to make use of Statistical Process Control (SPC) as a user-friendly tool. Currently, operators and workers at the process level do not have direct access to SPC software and are thus unable to make suggestions as readily as they would like. With the introduction of a fairly simple graphical user interface constructed in Excel, the people directly involved in a process will be able to view the pertinent stats as well as the relevant control charts.

The tool was made using macros in Excel. This involves programming in Visual Basic to achieve the necessary graphical interface. It guides the user through the basic steps of analyzing a process. Initially, the observations/data from a process are entered. After this step, calculations are performed to obtain statistical parameters. With the aid of correlations (i.e. Anderson-Darling statistic) the data is examined for normality, since SPC techniques are applicable only in this case. Charts are shown in order to visualize the placement of the points. At this junction, the user may remove outlying points in order to “rectify” the data set.

Once the data is deemed acceptable, then the actual control chart is drawn with control limits. Now the process can be monitored with subsequent runs. At this point, the operator can set forth analyzing the process properly. The control chart provides overwhelming evidence as to whether a process is in statistical control. With the aid of the control chart, it is no longer necessary to make assumptions. If the process is out of control, brisk measures must be taken to reestablish order. As well, the inherent variation within the process can now be appropriately looked after and examined.

Internet Commerce Opportunities for the Financial Industry Applications at the Toronto Dominion Bank

Sakina Adenwalla and Carmen Kamgaing

A few years ago, when the Internet took hold as a consumer channel, banks were sceptical and they deliberately set up online divisions that did not come into contact with other areas of the bank. The new paradigm is that bankers should view the Internet as business as usual. It is time for the Toronto Dominion Bank to build cross-functional teams that will share information and analyze big bets the bank might make on the Internet. From those teams a cohesive strategy can be implemented. When Internet transactions become commodities, TD has to differentiate itself in other ways. This thesis proposes a strategy that acknowledges the need to continue building trusted relationships and learn more about customers’ finances and lifestyle, from which marketing programs can be launched. TD Bank has the capital needed to finance research and test new technologies. They can set the pace in Internet banking in Canada and throughout North America especially in areas the Financial Services Industry is lagging in such as security and online communities. The competition will not come from the United States, but from the Europeans who are currently out-investing their NorthAmerican counterparts in Internet-based applications. Based on other financial institutions’ experiences, TD MarketSite is an application that will pay off on the bottom line. It must be emphasized that execution time will be the deciding factor on whether the portal will be an innovative product in Canada or a commodity service.