Learning about inventory control over this half of the quarter got me thinking and reflecting about when I worked as an assistant chef at a restaurant. It was the first time that I got to learn about economic order quantity, safety stock, and reorder point. The managers running the restaurant had vast experience and I was lucky to learn how a private restaurants works. For the two months I worked there only one time did they run out of ingredients. There were times that the restaurant was fully packed. My bosses forecasted this and made sure that we would not run out of supplies until we are at the end of the night. This turned out to be the truth as we still had ingredients left over for the next day after our busiest day. As well there were some nights that there was only a few people that were ordering and my bosses had that under control too. I got to see how management works when there were times where the restaurant was packed and when it only had a few clients. I enjoyed working there and I got to learn even more from my responsibilities. The responsibilities I had were far and wide sometimes I would prepare food for the chef, sometimes I would clean, and sometimes I did some food runs. All this combined made my time there valuable.
One thing I recognized that good control of inventory and having a talented chef making food doesn’t necessarily mean the restaurant will be successful. We were open during the harshest time of last winter. But there were opportunities to attract more clients that weren’t taken advantage of. For example the door to enter wasn’t open and I saw people trying to figure out whether or not the restaurant was open due to the dark atmosphere. I learned that one of the most important components in creating a successful restaurant is you have to be able to sell your idea and show people that their product is delicious and worth buying. I am surprised how relevant our Operations Management class is and how many places it is applied too where I have had experience working.
Have you had a chance to apply inventory management in a work situation?
Have you had a chance to apply any concept we’ve learned in Operations Management?
Have you ever worked for a restaurant? If so what were your favorite perks?
A very clear picture of operations and operational management exists in the loading bays at FedEx. It was the first thing that came to my mind when I thought of operational management. The packages that whirl around the conveyer belt inside of the factory. Working there in August gave me a taste of what operations really look like. My job was simple I had to stack boxes inside trucks and get the trucks loaded quickly (400 boxes an hour). Both exercises that we did in class apply to what I was doing at FedEx. For building the puppets we were trained how to handle the boxes and to make sure nothing gets broken or put in the wrong trucks. For the building of the structure that was to hold up the 50 pages, I had to stack boxes so they would be stable. This was very important since if the walls of boxes aren’t built to hold they can fall on and injure the employees that have to unload the trucks. But building something that supports paper is not just a physical thing, building a successful business means building a structure that can sustain itself through technology and proper management that will then in turn increase and better operations.
The operational management at FedEx is built on strict procedures. When working for FedEx I got to see the many different important rules delineated in the employee handbook. It is the starting point for all employees. The main philosophy is to prepare workers to work the same way whether they be in China or the US. It is designed to create the best workers who will work effectively and efficiently in handling the operations of the company. To begin to do this workers must go through a week of training which starts with lectures, after that week they start hands on in the trucks with one week supervision to make sure everything is up to standards and codes. The employee handbook has a critical part in this process. There is the Workright Manual which gives step by step rules and procedures as well as the codes and standards. There is a passport that describes dock safety. And a hazmat training guide for package handlers.
I also had a chance to tour the control room and found out that on average day, FedEx forecasts that it will load anywhere from 17,000 to 25,000 in a three and a half hour shift. The managers were very friendly and many of them, from sort manager to area manager to vice president of operations came and showed me how to properly stack boxes when I was starting. This compares to a good teacher that understands learning is done through experience and through advice given when being trained or when you are working.
The human element combined with training and schooling makes operations and operational management possible.