This course offers the opportunity to study how one might act if brought in as a consultant to a company. The case studies you investigate can be taken as examples of problems which might be brought to a consultancy firm. Your submission should communicate the results of your investigation as you might do to the company. What follows are some general observations which should give you an idea of how your submission should be constructed.
In the context of consultancy, it is important to communicate properly with customers. You may well have to present your work to both a manager (who will have to take decisions based on your observations and conclusions) and someone in a technical capacity (who will have to work with the model that you have developed). In presenting your investigations of the case studies in this section of the course you should have this model in mind. Your written report should be appropriate for a manager to a read. Your Mosel file should be clearly structured and commented to indicate how the problem has been modelled and enable new data and minor modifications can be introduced.
A manager will expect the following of a written report
Your statement of the problem may well correspond very closely to the wording in the case study, although it may not be relevant to include all the data tables.
A manager's concern will be that the process has been carried out properly and that the model has been documented for the benefit of those who will have to use or modify it. He or she will not be interested in the details of the model such as the form of the objective and constraints or the names of the variables used. A simple statement that XPress has been used and that the details are set out in an accompanying Mosel file will be sufficient.
Results should be presented clearly in terms of the original problem. For problems with many decision variables, it is preferable to communicate their values in a table given as an appendix.
By careful choice of variable names and the use of comments, it should be clear how you have modelled the problem. The data required to generate the model's dimension and coefficients should be read in from one or more data files. The model should be written so that the results for variants can be obtained either by using alternative data files (which should be supplied) or by making simple and clearly documented changes to the Mosel file.
Clearly the observations above are a gross simplification of the consultant-client relationship and communication. For example, in addition to a written report, a consultant would also expect to give an oral presentation. However, the simplification is justified on the grounds that the main aim of this section of the course is to introduce Xpress.