Café D. Pownd Case Solution
The average waiting time has been calculated as the sum of the average of the arrival time plus the average waiting time for each of the three respective queues. The average waiting time calculated for the pre-cooked line is 6.26 minutes and its desirable time is 5 minutes so there has been an increase in the waiting time by 1.26 minutes. Similarly, the average waiting times for the cashier and the interactive liens is 5.71 and 10.79 minutes, which results in lost time of 4.71 and 0.79 minutes respectively.
The maximum delay or the maximum waiting time difference is, therefore, at the cashier station. There are two basic reasons for this huge waiting time at the cashier counter. The first reason is that the prices of some meals was not programmed in the system which took additional 30 seconds to record those prices and the salad/candy taken by the students had to be weighed at the cash register. Furthermore, the variability has been calculated for each of the line. The standard deviation in the waiting times of each of the three stations is 120%, 108% and 54% respectively.
The precooked queue shows a highest standard deviation in waiting times. The reason for this is that the ratio of the people at the pre-cooked line is much higher than the interactive line with 2:1 ratio. Maximum 20 people could be entertained in a pre-cooked meal line, 10 people in an interactive line and 5 people in the cashier line. However, there is a lot of rush at all the three queues, which also creates congestion around the salad bar and soft drinks area. The resource utilization ratios have also been computed for the three queues which are 227%, 192% and 202% respectively for the three queues. The highest utilization ratio is seen for the pre-cooked station so changes improvements should begin with this station. Another reason for this is that the arrival rate for the residents desiring for the pre-cooked meals is 0.26 seconds as compared to 1.02 minutes for the interactive meals as shown in excel spreadsheet.
According to the operations management triangle, the assistant residence manager needs to optimize in terms of variability, capacity and inventory for the pre-cooked queue. The demand for the pre-cooked food is higher than the interactive food and because of predictable variability it has the highest resource utilization. Therefore, improvements should begin for the pre-cooked queue by adding certain resources (inventory) for this queue according to the OM triangle concept. It is assumed that there is enough space available to realign the layout and make changes to the soda machine and salad bar also. Furthermore, Buffer already exists within the pre-cooked meal queue at it could serve a maximum of 20 students in this queue so, now the capacity needs to be increased in order to deal with variability to achieve an optimized OM triangle.
If we analyze the qualitative factors surrounding the three queues, then it could be seen that there are many constraints that are faced by Mah which are creating queuing problems in the cafeteria. First of all, there is lack of space in the cafeteria. Furthermore, the general layout of the cafeteria is also not appropriate as a lot of things have been forces into s small space which is the reason due to which students did not know to which queue they belonged to. Another constraint was that the peak period of the cafeteria from 5-6:30pm was the most inefficient period and the students had to wait long during this period. Roughly about 366.7 (550*2/3) residents had to be entertained within this space. The last issue for Mah is to resolve the issue without making any major investments or any sort of disbursements.
Actions that should be taken
Jason Mah needs to hire two part time pre-cooked food servers and 1 part time interactive food servers so that the pre-cooked and the interactive waiting time could be cut. Students are tired of waiting and if this continues then they would seek out other alternatives to get their meals. The part time workers should only work for the peak time of the cafeteria. Furthermore, if we look at the layout of the cafeteria then it could be seen that the pre-cooked station is situated at an ineffective area. It should be shifted on the other side of the cashier station. Moreover, it has been stated that around 20 to 30 seconds of the time is spent by the customers for asking information about the meals, therefore, this information needs to be posted at the pre-cooked line so that all the customers are well informed about all the meals.Other steps that could be taken to introduce improvements could be:………………….
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