For any business enterprise or even any other organization to thrive and achieve its set goals and objectives, it must have its set service management strategies upon which all its activities, operations and transactions will be based on. They are the basic control points that an enterprise works within, and act as the check points which enables the administration to determine whether they are working towards achieving their goals and objectives or not. My bakery café is no exception.
Depending with their area of specialty and industry, different enterprises use different operational strategies to achieve their set goals. The reason is because different industries have different markets to serve, and the method of arriving to their set goals can never be the same.
My bakery café
My bakery café provides both goods (products) and services to my clients. The goods that customers require are my products, which comprise of bread and bread rolls, croissants, various types of cakes for example ordinary cakes, birthday cakes etc, and various types of confectionaries such as chocolate and sweets. I also sell ice creams and various hors d’ouvres. I also serve drinks and beverages that go with the confectioneries for example tea, juices, coffee, chocolates etc. For maximum satisfaction of my clients, service and delivery of these products has to be very effective and pleasing to the client. Many restaurants, cafes and hotels make quality food and beverages, but have a poor service system. Others have efficient service systems but a poor production platform. Consequently, this leads to dissatisfaction of their customers, thus failing to make a definable customer base, which is to their disadvantage.
Since my enterprise comprises of both service and production, I find it of utmost importance to balance the two elements together to come up with the best strategy to achieve my set goals, targets and objectives.
Operation Management Strategies
This by definition is the activities, actions and measures taken by an organization, institution and enterprises at the managerial level that help as guidelines in working towards achieving the set goals and objectives; and offering quality and standard services to the customers, clients, benefiters or dependants (Nigel and Michael, 2007, p. 125).
In my bakery café, there are various strategies that I would apply, to offer quality services and products to my customers. The different strategies applied will depend with whether they are being applied in the service or the production department.
This is one area in the hospitality industry that needs to be managed with caution, as it sends a lot of message signals to the clients. Various strategies would have to be applied in this department below are the most effective ones, discussed in details.
Service design and analysis
This is the formulation and application of one defined service delivery system within the enterprise that comes out to be most effective and customer-satisfying (Kaplan and Norton, 2008). Defining a clear service system will involve knowing the level of competency that my subordinates have and the clients’ demands and expectations. They employees therefore have to be in a position to serve the guests according to their wish and if possible beyond it, and that’s the only test for the employees’ level of skill and knowledge. Employees must be trained to meet certain standards and this is where service designing applies. Designing an effective service system from scratch follows the following steps and stages, as discussed below.
Building a working relationship
Intellectually speaking, building a relationship in an organization falls into two general categories. The first category is the relationship between the employer and the employee. This is the basis of a good working environment because a good relationship between an employer and the employee instills confidence, security and most of all, loyalty by the employees to their work. A loyal employee works diligently towards meeting the enterprise’s objectives, and this maintains high productivity, profitability and a competitive edge (Garvin, 1991). This is achievable by opening up to employees, updating them on the enterprise’s performance and providing a forum through which employees can effectively express themselves. They need to be treated as partners, to instill them with a sense of belonging and appreciation.
The second important relationship is one between the employee and the customers. Employees will interact with guests more than even I myself will. This is because they are the ones taking orders, serving the clients and delivering the products in the event of outside catering. For this reason, training staff on how to handle different types of customers will go a long way in ensuring that there is a good relationship between the two, especially when it comes to loyal and repeat customers (Garvin, 1991). Staff has to know and acknowledge the fact that clients have different personalities, and therefore they should treat them according to their requirement, expectations and differences. A good relationship between customers and staff and between staff and employees indirectly links the customers and the employee, and this is why I would make sure to build these relationships.
Attitude formation and change
Everyone has a formed attitude and perception towards anything and everything, which is positive, negative or neutral. Attitudes are formed and based on three basic things, which are emotions, knowledge and behavior. Employees have formed attitudes towards their work, clients, their bosses and the general working environment.
Staff members must be trained to be genuinely mindful about the clients’ needs and have a positive attitude towards their work. This is possible when they understand the relationship between customers’ satisfaction and the company’s success. I would achieve this through influencing the staff’s attitude by developing and instilling behavior based on the service standards.
Successful companies are those that give their customers the first priority and their profits and expansion comes second. A customer-focused organization looks into four important areas, which are building a strong relationship between the employer, staff and client, based on respect and courtesy. A good relationship ensures effective service. Secondly, providing the client with information is another important thing. Many customers and specifically first timers fully rely on employees to learn more about the products in offer (Barnett 1996). Absent-minded and disinterested staff members will always put off clients. The third component is the service mission. Employees should offer their services professionally, in a simple and understandable manner especially to customers who dislike sophistication. Problem-solving is the next component whereby customers should correct any problem that may arise during service delivery, and should most importantly, genuinely apologize for the inconveniences or discomforts caused. This makes the client to feel appreciated.
Developing a system
Through following the three discussed stages, an employee has developed a system within which his enterprise will operate within. The set up system should be maintained to ensure competency and self-sustenance.
This is the activity of ensuring that an enterprise operates within the desired and competitive standards. Every company should strive to ensure that it fully satisfies customers’ requirements to ensure that it remains afloat and competitive (Chopra and Meindl, 2009, p. 53). In many organizations, the task lies in the hands of their HR department. Quality management should be evident in all its levels. To achieve this, a number of areas should be critically observed.
Service is the foundational value. This is one statement that should never be undermined during implementation. Therefore, when making new policies or even improving the old ones, service should always remain considered, and if it’s changed, it should change for the better. Constant evaluation of service keeps the system afresh.
Secondly, managers should make sure to live their commitments. This is because the subordinate staff looks up to their seniors, and if they fail to show commitment, loyalty and dedication to their work, the juniors will follow suit (Johnston and Clark, 2008). This is because people in all organizations literally follow their leaders, even towards a ditch.
The third important thing to consider is that there should be a framework for success. To achieve this, a few things should be considered. For example, involving the staff members will make them feel appreciated. It is also important to make sure that we discuss together what values are important for the café, and also provide training in areas that should be polished. At the same time I find it important to keep the staff members updated and informed on how the café is performing, as this will motivate them or help them know what should be done to the areas that are lagging behind. Embracing change is also important. Rigidity hinders and blocks development a lot especially in the hospitality industry, which keeps on changing all the time (Walters and Rainbird, 2007, p. 47). It is also important to develop a reward programme that awards the outstanding staff members in different departments. This acts as a motivator to the rest, and makes the staff member feel appreciated, especially his efforts.
Various strategies can also be applied in the production to department to ensure customer satisfaction, and these include the production process strategies which make sure that the products are produced according to the set standard (Larry and Manoj, 2006). For example, in my enterprise, I would make sure that all products are prepared according to the menu, and all the HACCP principles adhered to. Location and layout strategies are other important strategies that seek to ensure that the area where production takes place meets the required hygienic and legal requirements. In my case I will have to look at the positions of the kitchen, store, the kitchen’s layout etc. This helps a lot in bringing order and easier tracing of missing and misplaced items.
Having an operation management strategy at my bakery café will not only help me in the organization of the enterprise but it will also go a long way in helping me achieve my objectives, goals and also assist me in serving my customers to their satisfaction, and remain relevant to the hotel industry.
Chopra, S. and Meindl, P. 2009, Supply chain Management, Prentice Hall, New York.
Garvin, D.A. 1994, Operations Strategy: Texts and Cases, Prentice Hall, New York.
Barnet, H. 1996, Operations Management, Macmillan Publishers, London.
Johnston, R and Clark, G. 2008, Service Operation Management, Prentice Hall, New York.
Kaplan, R.S. and Norton, D. P. 2008, Linking strategy to operations for competitive advantage, Harvard Business Centre, New York.
Larry, P.R. and Manoj K.M. 2006, Operations Management: Processes and value chains, Prentice Hall, New York.
Slack, N. and Michael L. 2007, Operations Strategies, Prentice Hall, New York.
Walters, D. and Rainbird, M. 2007, Strategic operations management: A value chain approach, Palgrave, Macmillan, London.