MGTS 352 Case Study – Bestcup Coffee (Disclaimer: The following is not intended to be a perfectly factual representation of the process described.)
MGTS 352 Case Study – Bestcup Coffee (Disclaimer: The following is not intended to be a perfectly factual representation of the process described.) Introduction: Bestcup Coffee is a coffee shop that prides itself in serving customers ethically sourced and locally grown coffee beans with premium quality and taste at an affordable price. As a relatively new company, the owner is focused on ways to reduce cost in their operation. However, they have recently found that the quality of service that they provide their customers has suffered, and in particular that their customer ordering process is “a mess”, as Store Owner, Mrs. Peaberry has described it. “The cycle time from when a customer first arrives at the shop until they are served their order takes too long. As well, some customers are finding that they are stuck in too many lines for too long. This is worrisome as it has reduced the number of customers they can serve and some customers have even left the stores given the long line-ups.” Mrs. Peaberry has thus asked for your help in “making better use of our capacity – I know that we have enough capacity to get everyone through the process and their drink orders in a reasonable amount of time and with shorter waits, but we just aren’t using that capacity properly.” The Coffee Ordering Process Overview The coffee-ordering process is conducted in a manner in which, customers complete one activity in the process before proceeding to the next. Often this, along with the general variability in service times at the activities, leads to line-ups in front of the different activities. Mrs. Peaberry has had the theory of constraints described to her, and has commented that “although some of the activities are more to blame than the others, there doesn’t seem to be one identifiable bottleneck – sometimes there will be lines in one area, and sometimes lines in another. We need help with managing the flows throughout the process as there are many areas that can serve as bottlenecks at any given time.” 1. Entering the shop When customers first enter Bestcup Coffee shop, they are greeted by a service associate who will instruct the customers to either head straight to the counter to place their orders (if they are the only customer) or they are asked to line up at the designated queuing station by the door as they wait for their turn. There is currently only one cashier available and customers are shown a paper menu at the counter to help with their drink selection. The average time a customer has to wait to place an order varies, depending on the person in front them. 2. Placing an order Once at the front of the line, customers are greeted by the friendly cashier and shown a paper menu. The cashier asks the customer what they would like to drink and if they have any specific preferences for milk, flavouring or toppings for their drink selection and accepts payment for the order. The coffee shop does not currently have a menu-board with the product offerings or specials for the day, so the customers are often making their drink selection after reviewing the paper menu. The cashier hand-writes the drink order on a post-it note and hands it to the Barista, who starts making the drink order. Mrs. Peaberry says “this process really should go quickly, but the problem is that people don’t know what they want to order and they ask the cashier for their drink recommendations or clarification on the drink options & ingredients and that is when the line gets slowed down”. 3. Making the order After placing their orders, customers wait in a separate line labelled “Order Pick-Up” next to the counter as the Barista makes their drinks. The general process at this activity is: (1) the Barista will review the drink details on the post-it from the cashier, (2) they will clarify and confirm the order with the cashier if any information is missing (sometimes, the post-it smudges and the lettering is hard to read), (3) there will be a minute or two where the Barista needs to grab all the ingredients, (4) the Barista prepares and assembles the drink, (6) the Barista puts the ingredients away to prevent spoilage, (5) the Barista places the complete drink order at the pick-up counter for the customer waiting in line, (6) the Barista repeats the whole process for the next customer order. 4. Picking-up the order Customers will pick up their orders at the “Order Pick-up” counter once they are ready. Generally, customer orders are made correctly, but there are instances where drinks are made with the wrong milk alternative or missing toppings. When this happens, the customers will bring it up with the Barista, who will happily re-make the order. The only issue with this is that the Barista starts to see a pile up of drink orders in the queue and it may cause minor confusion for customers waiting as they are not certain which drink belongs to them and often they will confirm with the Barista before taking the order. As mentioned earlier, Mrs. Peaberry is concerned about the total cycle time for customers, as well as the number of the line-ups, and feels that some of the fundamental principles within the TOC “steps” (‘exploit’, ‘subordinate to’, ‘elevate’) would be useful in alleviating some of these problems. Your job is to help her in this regard.