Sweet Mandy B’s Sweet Success


Most students at DePaul University have encountered the delicacy of Sweet Mandy B’s at some point during their college education, whether directly or indirectly. There are the die hards (as often as they can get there, they do), the excuse makers (I don’t want to write this paper anyways, so lets go get cupcakes), the “I earned it” girls (who can justify the indulgence since they worked out), the special occasions (birthdays, weddings, the works), and the rest have either simply tried Mandy B’s or heard other students discuss it.

The number of students that Sweet Mandy B’s draws in on a daily basis is astounding; and students are only a portion of their customer base. There are people all over Chicago who are willing to make the trip to Lincoln Park in order to get Mandy B’s. In food and confection related industries, the quality is top priority since that is what consumers are truly after when they go in for a treat. In order to sustain such high quality management and fresh cupcakes, cookies, and specialty foods, just in time inventory is a must. Nobody wants to walk all the way there to spend money on a cookie that is stale or doesn’t satisfy that sweet tooth. Managing the way that baked goods are created, decorated, and stored in order for maximum freshness for the maximum amount of time appears to be something that Sweet Mandy B’s management has mastered, from my experience at least.

Another aspect of operations that is essential to consider in this industry is capacity. When people place orders for cakes, it is typically for a special occasion, in which case they need the cake at a specific time on a specific day. Cake orders and order patterns must be closely analyzed in order to increase staff during busy ordering times such as holidays or time of large events like graduation. Space and oven scheduling is another consideration, for only so many cakes can be baked as there are ovens. Sweet Mandy B’s seems to have this under control as well, for the entire second half of their store is available should they need to utilize that space, yet the don’t waste money keeping it lit or stocked when they are able to limit baking to the main kitchen.

Location strategy is interesting in this case, for Sweet Mandy B’s does not follow the typical “Location is everything” mantra. Rather it makes a product that is too good to resist, and people have no problem travelling from all over the city to pick up their pre-ordered cakes or stop by for a snack. However, their location is, in fact, intelligently placed because many college students do not drive, and the proximity to campus is a major plus. Its convenience also encourages students to stop by when they probably would not have made the trip if they had to actually plan for it and catch a train. With its thriving success, is there anything that could drastically hurt Sweet Mandy B’s sales?


Are Corporations Our Personal Shoppers?

The thought of ordering an item online and receiving it the same day, just a few hours later seems unrealistic. With technology becoming more integrated in our world and the demand for instant gratification, this unrealistic idea is now a reality. Major corporations like Wal-Mart, Amazon, and EBay have adopted this new service of same-day delivery. It is really testing the limits of supply chain management, and now a whole new look on logistics is being placed in the hands of these corporations.

walamrt  Wal-Mart , is sitting at an advantage because of its massive fleet of stores across the country. They use their 4,005 locations as inventory holders and distribution centers, so now when you order something before noon you can receive it by that evening. Workers will literally go down the aisle and collect the item you want, which is later delivered to your door. Even though this service is only in the test phase in five major cities, Denver, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, northern Virginia and San Francisco/San Jose, it has proven to be a huge success thus far.

Amazon has a new technology that now sends your order to the closest of its 40 massive and highly efficient distribution centers that has same day service available. From here a robot find your item and places it in a place where a human can package it and ship it to you just in time before the day is over. This is pretty crazy, right? Wait till read this next corporation’s new strategy!

debay   EBay, a dominant online seller has a brand-new beta service that brings same day delivery to an even new level. It currently operates in beta form in New York, San Francisco, and San Jose. This service involves personal shoppers, or “valets, that EBay will send to pick up a good you have just ordered. They will literally drive to the outlet from which you ordered it from through EBay, and deliver it to your doorstep that same day, sometimes even within only few hours! If this doesn’t impress you then this will. EBay now even offers an iOS app that you can use to buy, and track your item for same day delivery. This app tracks your “valets” progress in real time so you know exactly where he/she is, what step of the delivery they are on, and how far away they are from your home. This tracking app will even give you a picture of what the “valet” looks like so you can recognize them when they arrive. Once they have arrived, all you have to do is simply swipe your credit card, or pay with PayPal. The best part about this service is that it costs only $5, yes that’s it!

With this extremely gratifying service from these corporations how do you think it tests the limits of supply chain management and inventory management? Could this be the future for online shopping or delivery? Do you think implementing the service that EBay has in many other corporations could add a lot of jobs to the economy?







The “King’s” Strategies-Burger King

Burger King, the popular fast food giant went public again in 2012 after being privately owned by a privately owned equity group called 3G Capital. After analyzing the numbers of Burger King’s quarterly reports from last year, it is apparent that the company is heading in the right direction after comparing the first quarter earnings this year from a year ago. Last year the company reported its first quarter earnings at $14.3 million compared to $35.8 million this year. So with these numbers on the rise, can the fast food giant compete with other companies such as McDonald’s and Chipotle while also being a valuable investment for its shareholders?

Well it looks like Burger King has a solid structured plan to make ends meet and come back to being a household name again. Last week the company sold its Canadian subsidiary, which owned 94 stores, to privately owned Redberry Investments. Now the company is planning on focusing on their operations in cutting costs in turn to making their sales more profitable. Another plan is to revamp 40% of their restaurants which will have a new 20/20 design and a change in lighting and seating arrangements. In order to increase the number of stores the company is promoting third-party financing opportunities as well as a 50% discount on the annual franchisee fee for their franchisees. Lastly, the company is focusing more on aggressive advertising techniques in order to promote their new valued items. These new strategies are from the article cited below and I should mention that Burger King has seen little changes to their menu from 1989 and 2012. Other restaurants have introduced healthier food choices for their customers such as smoothies, specialty salads, wraps, yogurts, etc.

It is obvious that the success factor of any restaurant is the quality of food it serves. Many sales at Chipotle are single burritos, burrito bowls, and tacos which can range from $7.50 to $9.50, depending on whether you want to upgrade your food with their delicious homemade guacamole. Keep in mind, Chipotle is a new restaurant that has come out in the last decade. It is also very appealing because of being considered a healthier option than most fast food restaurants. This is one of the reasons that Chipotle stock is currently being traded at $360 per share! Most of us have witnessed the long lines at the Chipotle across from the DePaul Center in the loop. So why do most of us insist on  waiting sometimes up to 15 minutes  for a burrito that costs on average around $8 rather than going to Subway or McDonald’s across the street and buying a meal that would surely cost more? Clearly, Chipotle’s plan is successful, so how does a fast food giant like Burger King raise its value and compete with all the other fast food giants?

The secret ingredient to that recipe is innovation! But what must they innovate to attract YOU personally?

Source: http://beta.fool.com/tinade/2013/04/28/burger-king-is-just-one-step-behind/32871/?source=eogyholnk0000001

Image Courtesy of MyFoxChicago.com

Taking the guesswork out of Supply Chain Management

Fuel consumption represents nearly 37% of average per-mile trucking costs.  In today’s time, with the advancement of technology, more and more companies are tapping in to technologies that allow for better risk management to improve efficiency and lower the risk of avoidable scenarios that were once considered “the cost of doing business.”  Many large companies such as Procter & Gamble and Whirpool have begun working with companies such as Breakthrough Fuel, which work with many shippers across the country to help provide strategy on fuel management.

Clients using Breakthrough Fuel’s model only pay actual fuel costs for particular routes on particular days, this allows for a savings on fuel consumption.  Breakthrough Fuel also has multiple locations from which a manufacturer can ship from which allows manufacturers to ship based on distance from their destination or the cheapest trucking costs.  To help aid in the transfer of shipments, there has been mass improvements to inventory tracking such as with the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.

With the use of RFID technology and GPS, shippers can know exactly where a certain item is within a container.  This use of RFID chips helps alleviate errors in packaging and shipping such as when working with
parts for bigger items.  Think about a time where you will be able to place all of your groceries in a shopping cart at the supermarket and as you walk out, an RFID scanner will automatically scan all your groceries for you and display a price for each item without the hassle of you having to wait in line.  With the use of RFID technology I really believe that soon that is how our shopping will be.  What do you think are some other good uses for RFID technology?

Firms that ship in less-than-truckload (LTL) amounts need to make sure that they are shipping goods quickly in order to meet the high demand from their customers.  This idea of using LTL services provides shippers a way to send out shipments more quickly but at a higher price.  With the use of RFID technology, a shipper can carry multiple loads from different companies and be able to manage and control where each individual package gets delivered.  Say Walgreens and Dominick’s both need a certain brand of product, the manufacturer can use a logistics management company such as MIQ Logistics to make sure that their product gets to both Walgreens and Dominick’s stores in a certain location with the help of RFID chips to track and monitor the packages.  Certain transportation companies even provide their drivers with mobile devices to manage the inventory within their truck.  Shippers are working on delivering shipments damage free, within a reasonable amount of time, and with confidence that their shipment will arrive in the right location when needed.

What can you see as the advantages or drawbacks to using the LTL technology described above? Do you see any ways of improving this system?




“Science Comes To Shipping.” Fortune Magazine 8 Apr. 2013: S1-S4. Print. (Also available here: http://www.timeincnewsgroupcustompub.com/sections/130408_Freight.pdf)


Quality of Care or Save money? Maybe Both

Inventory system being used

One of the most depressing parts of this article was the fact that some hospitals believe they have to choose between quality of care and saving money. Why can’t you have both? This is what Seattle Children’s Hospital is helping to solve.

Before implementing the continuous performance improvement plan, nurses at the Children’s Hospital actually resorted to stealing and hiding tools and supplies needed for everyday use. When reading this, the first thing that came to mind was a hotel. It reminded me of taking supplies off of the housekeeping carts and storing them in the hotel room. So is this a proper way of keeping track of inventory? Of course not, so they implemented a plan similar to retail or manufacturing companies, where each nurse would have a fully stocked cart with two bins for tools and supplies needed for everyday use. When they used one bin, the next would be readily available. The empty bins would then go to a central supply office where the bins are scanned for restock or reorder. If this sounds oddly familiar, it should. The company most known for this inventory plan is Toyota.

I saw this plan up close and it really works well. I plan on working in the Healthcare field after graduation, so I shadowed a healthcare administrator at one of the Park Nicollet hospitals in Minneapolis (not at the Minneapolis campus with Nellie Munn). This inventory system is actually one of the topics you can still talk about with nurses and see how they needed time to get used to it, but highly prefer it over the other “steal/hide” system.

Do you think that Hospitals should start implementing methodologies of operations management?