My friend Elena Miller is a very talented cake baker. She started baking cakes in high school as a hobby and people saw potential in her and encouraged her to take it serious. So she decided to work for a bakery, and in less than a year she became very well-known in Chicago area and had many other offers. A couple years after graduating high school she moved to Austin Texas and opened her shop there. She currently makes customized cakes; she pretty much can make anything from realistic looking pets, car models, favorite alcoholic drink, and castles anything you can think of upon request.
A very hard working woman she works about 70 hours per week and has a staff of three other talented bakers all this is excluding client meetings and other industry related obligations. I decided to observe her operations the flow structure of the process used to make, and deliver of her cakes in timely manner, facility lay out and other work methods. Broadly characterized her operation can be classified as job shop. A job shop process uses general purpose resources and is highly flexible.
Layout: In the job shop, similar equipment or functions are grouped together. In her shop the rack oven, deck oven and proofer are at the entrance of the kitchen while the cooler and other dry martial inventory storage is at the other opposite end. Working “clean” area is in the middle with different size tables, slicers, and molders.
Employees: In a job shop employees are typically highly skilled craft employees who can operate several different classes of machinery. These workers are paid higher wages for their skill levels. Due to their high skill level, job shop employees need less supervision. Everyone at the shop is very responsible and accountable for each task. All of them know how to operate the heavy duty ovens. The key activity in a job shop is processing information.
Information: Information is the most critical aspect of a job shop. Information is needed to quote a price, bid on a job, route an order through the shop, and specify the exact work to be done she gets lots of customer’s word of mouth has tremendously helped her business. Here is the basic procedure, clients come in and order their specific cake. Then she gives them a quote after that she creates a blue print. This is where she allocates the cost of production i.e labor and raw material.
My final analysis in correspondence with process strategy is that in her operation flexibility is high as they make very detailed and highly customized cakes that take lots of hours. Volume is low labor content and skill are very high and finally capital investment is low.