Learning Outcomes Assessed
Students will be tested their knowledge on the following Learning Outcomes (LO):
- Conceptualise operations management principles and techniques so as to be able to apply this knowledge in practice
- Identify inefficiency and ineffectiveness in business operations and propose adequate minor changes or major redesigns to improve the process.
- Demonstrate an awareness of the importance of facility layouts & inventory control
- Describe what a supply chain is, and the key decision factors that impact supply chain performance.
- Explain the importance of forecasting
- Analyse and critically address complex issues in contemporary operations and quality management practice
- Work collaboratively with other team members to prepare a group project report and deliver a professional presentation based around selected case study.
The purpose of this project is for students to analyse and improve real-world business operations by applying the knowledge learned in this unit. This project exposes students to important managing operations issues. Student will need to
1) Investigate a real-world Service business operation,
2) Measure the performance of existing business operations
3) Identify the corresponding business layout, location and flow of information,
4) Describe its supply chain strategy
5) Scrutinize the business quality aspects
5) Suggest alternative managing operations aspects, and
6) Evaluate the improvement of the newly suggested aspects.
Services differ from good due to the absence of tangible evidence after the delivery. The customer and the service provider should meet to ensure the success of service delivery. The report focuses on the delivery of catering services by the Forte Company in Australia. The catering services involve various activities such as the delivery of meals, planning and hosting events. The service delivery sector has evolved over time to include technology, which has reduced the expenses involved. Furthermore, the report focuses on the improvements that the catering company could adapt to increase efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Real-world service business
Forte company is located in Sydney and deals with catering services (Anon., 2018). The company provides the services to corporate events, weddings and other events including funerals and birthdays. The company has a reputation for unique styles and extraordinary services that have resulted in winning of awards for excellence. Forte company provides services such as meal delivery, event planning, decoration and event hosting (Anon., 2018). The company has employed experienced employees who understand the customer’s tastes and preferences. Furthermore, the company has a Forte website where the customers talk to the management team and make orders for catering services (Anon., 2018).
The delivery of catering services require the understanding of the customer behaviour and preferences to enable satisfaction (Juneja, 2018). Therefore, the Forte Company undertakes intensive research on the customers to meet the specific need of each person. The hospitality services offered to the customers evoke emotions and feelings, which determine the levels of satisfaction. Therefore, to meet the customer expectations, the services should maintain high-quality levels and appeal.
Measurement of business performance
The catering business has increased in popularity over the years with most entrepreneurs venturing into the service. The customers have also responded properly by trusting the catering companies to deliver the requirements to the events. Therefore, the market share for the industry has become widespread over the years since most events now seek the catering services. Forte catering company has benefited by having more clients who require the services (Mandviwalla, 2015).
Over the years, the financial performance of Forte Company has increased with the rising number of customers in the market. The business has experienced more people willing to pay for the services, which reflects in the sales revenues due to the increased sales units. Furthermore, the business has responded to the increased demand by raising the prices paid by the customers for the services. Therefore, the financial reports indicate an increase in profits for the business. Additionally, a projection into the financial performance indicates a future increase in revenues (Cole-Ingait, 2018).
Additionally, the sales performance of the business shows positive growth over the years. The increase arises from the raised demand from the event holders. The event planners and holders call for the services to ensure efficiency in planning and accuracy of food amounts to avoid wastage (Ishola, 2016). Therefore, the business has increased monthly units of services delivered to the customers, which has resulted in a wide market share. Additionally, future projections in the sales performance indicate further increase in the number of customers.
The quality performance of the company also indicates positive growth. The company delivers high-quality services to the customers thus increasing the customer satisfaction. Forte catering company has employed the best hospitality experts to give services to the customers. Additionally, the business uses an information system in operations to ensure effective communication with the customers. Furthermore, the information systems have helped Forte catering to understand the market thus delivering high-quality services. Therefore, the quality performance of the business has increased over the years (Nigel, 2013).
Forte catering company business layout
The company uses a clear service blueprint to explain the business layout. Forte catering company ensures close contact with the customers by reducing the chain command in order execution (Suzanne de Treville, 2016). The business also ensures constant communication with the customers to inform about the progress. The employees should follow the blueprint to ensure that the customers get quality services. The layout includes receiving orders from the customers, which happen through calls, the company website or the customer visiting the offices. The customers talk to the reception officers who take down the orders and inform the customers about the available packages. The customers select the best package and give details about the date, location and time of the event. The company marks the order in the master calendar and assigns a customer relations officer who keeps in touch with the customer to inform about the progress. On the day of the event, the company arrives early with the meals to avoid delays (Russell, 2014).
The business has headquarters located in Australia. However, the company policy requires having other regional offices. Therefore, the business has offices located in most of the major and small towns in Australia. The reason for many regional offices includes ensuring that the customers easily access the services offered by the company (Olsen, 2018). Furthermore, the regional offices increase the market share of the business.
The flow of information at Forte catering company
The company has adopted both upward and downward communications for the various situations within the company. The company realises the importance of free flow of information within a business. Therefore, the communication systems allow the upward movement of information from the employees to the managers (Rebecca, 2018). The upward communication allows the employees to give suggestions, which have allowed the business to succeed in the market.
On the other hand, the downward communication has allowed the management to communicate with the employees and subordinates. The communication has allowed the quick movement of information and operational guidelines (Smet, 2018). Additionally, the business has managed to maintain proper authority within the business since the workers have a clear knowledge of the expectations.
Moreover, the business allows the external flow of information to the customers and the suppliers. The customers easily get information about the catering services offered with the corresponding prices. Additionally, the customers have the ability to report problems or ask for clarifications and get quick assistance (Dwivedi, 2017). On the other hand, the business communicates with the suppliers to ensure the success of operations. The business informs the suppliers of quality maintenance to ensure that the inputs match the expected output.
Forte catering company supply chain strategy
The catering business has adopted a lean and agile supply chain strategy. The strategy enables the business to operate efficiently and meet the customer expectations. The lean aspect allows the business to reduce wastage (Nevile, 2016). The agile aspect enables the company to tailor the supply chain according to the market information. Therefore, Forte Company has the ability to meet the customer needs effectively (Perks, 2017). Forte catering company ensures that the customers receive the services using the least resources. For example, the business has installed information systems that allow the customers to make orders through the website. The website has currently reduced the number of regional offices opened up to deliver services to the customers. Therefore, the company reduces the expenses incurred during service delivery.
On the other hand, the company executes the agile strategy by collecting information from the market. The market information allows Forte company to tailor the supply chain according to the customer tastes (Perks, 2017). For example, the business has understood the customer demand for using information systems in the service supply chain. Therefore, Forte Company has developed a website to communicate with the customers. The website allows the customers to place orders and book the catering services for events.
Business quality aspects
The business has various quality dimensions to meet the customer expectations. The business uses the SERVQUAL model to ensure the quality of the services delivered to the customers (Smith, 2018). The company requires that each employee observe the five aspects of quality stated by the SERVQUAL model. The model captures the consumer expectations and perceptions along five quality aspects. Therefore, the company has the ability to meet the customer expectations.
One of the quality aspects includes the reliability of the catering services, which involves delivering catering services in a dependable and accurate manner. The business ensures that the customers receive the services on time and at the required destination without fail. Additionally, Forte Company prides in delivering services accurately according to the customer expectations (Wagner, 2018).
The other aspect includes assurance of the services delivered to the customers. The assurance aspect involves the employees delivering the services with courtesy and instilling confidence to the customers (Christopher, 2018). Therefore, the company ensures that the employees get the right training to enable proper conduct when offering services.
Furthermore, the company focusses on the tangibility aspect of the services delivered to the customers. The aspect involves the physical appearance of the equipment, facilities and personnel involved in service delivery (Boag, 2018). Therefore, Forte catering company ensures that the employees dress smartly during the events to appeal to the customers.
The other quality aspect of the services includes ensuring empathy during delivery. The company ensures individualised care and attention to the customers. The business operations allow the tailoring of the services delivered to each customer. Furthermore, the catering business understands the customer tastes, preferences and expectations before agreeing to offer the services. After identifying the customer needs, the business assigns qualified employees who ensure that the customers get the catering services that match the demand (Ishola, 2016).
The other quality aspect includes responsiveness, which refers to the company helping the customers willingly and promptly. Forte catering company has set up response telephone lines that the customers call and get quick services (Mark, 2018). The company has also set up regional support staff who offer quick services to the customers. Therefore, the customers can get catering services within a short time such as during impromptu events.
Alternative operation management aspects
Forte company should consider other operational aspects like the full introduction of information systems. The information system will involve the use of social media and a website to interact with the customers and the suppliers (Sahoo, 2018). The information system operations send information about the quantity and quality of inputs to the suppliers. The suppliers confirm the ability to supply the inputs through the website and the payments happen electronically. Furthermore, the information system will allow the customers to place orders automatically without having to physically visit the business premises (Sahoo, 2018). On the other hand, the business will have the ability to collect data from the market and analyse the trends. The establishment of trends will enable the success of operations by enabling the tailoring of services to meet the customer expectations. The business will also reduce the human labour involved in the operations since most of the activities will happen through the information system.
Another operation management system includes the adoption of production line approach that involves the standardisation and automation of services (Gleeson, 2018). The automation and standardisation of services will allow the business to reduce expenses incurred when providing varied services. The catering company should come up with a service blueprint that meets the needs of the various events. Therefore, the catering company will have the ability to respond quickly to the customer needs.
Evaluation of the newly suggested aspects
The operational improvements will assist the business to reduce the expenses and wastage incurred when fulfilling customer orders (Nigel, 2013). The information systems eliminate the waste of movements and time when getting the necessary inputs for delivering services to the customers. The elimination occurs through performing various tasks using the internet such as placing orders, tracking of products and making payment. All the activities happen automatically without the movement of employees.
Furthermore, the information system will successfully undertake the function of disseminating information to the customers (Sahoo, 2018). The customers will learn more about the company’s products through the social media pages and the website. Therefore, the customers could place orders through the website because of the availability of information about the services. Moreover, the customers will have the ability to get clarifications about disturbing or confusing issues through the website and social media.
On the other hand, the production line operating system will enable the business to quickly respond to the customer needs. The quick response is enabled by the availability of a readymade service that suits the type of event held by a customer (Christopher, 2018). The business will have ready employees and equipment in place to attend the customer events and offer the necessary services. Additionally, the employees will perform many events using the same organisation thus increasing the experience. The experience will allow company employees to make improvements to the services and offer high quality to the customers. Furthermore, the continued holding of events in a similar manner will allow the elimination of errors that occur during service delivery. The customers will thus enjoy satisfactory services due to the perfection achieved through many times of delivery.
The adoption of the production line method and information system will increase the revenues earned by the company. The revenue increase will come from the reduction of expenses that arise from wastage eliminated by the use of information systems (Boag, 2018). Moreover, the business will fulfil the customer needs in an efficient manner without incurring many expenses. Likewise, the business will deliver more services to the customers thus increasing the sales revenues made during the financial years. Therefore, the business will make more profits due to the increased sales revenues against the reduced operating expenses.
Further evaluation of the new operations indicate that Forte catering company will have a wider market share. The increase will arise from the ability of the company to deliver high-quality services that meet the customer expectations (Ishola, 2016). The customers will prefer to get the services from the company due to the use of technology that makes booking and communication simple. Therefore, the business will serve more customers due to the increased efficiency in the service delivery. The increased market share will reduce the Forte’s marketing expenses (Dwivedi, 2017).
Forte catering company has the potential to become a world class company by offering high-quality services. The company should develop new methods of delivering services to become a trendsetter in the market. Furthermore, the company could reduce the expenses incurred in service delivery by embracing technology. The technology could help in the elimination of human capital involved in various activities such as receiving customer orders. Therefore, Forte Company should strive to become the leader in the catering industry.
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