Just-In-Time (JIT) and Process Standardization Paper
In the following paper process analysis is conducted on the local private fast food shop, which is specializing in preparing several kinds of burgers and hotdogs. All burgers are made using the same type of buns, however the fillings can vary according to the ordered burger type. The possible additional ingredients may include cheese, potato chips, tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce and special salad. There is only one person selling burgers, therefore he is both responsible for making and selling them. Hotdogs are usually sold without any additional ingredients, however it is possible to add all the components used for the burgers for an additional fee.
At the moment the process of the burger shop involves several steps. Firstly, the owner prepares a certain number of burgers with various fillings and a number of hotdogs without any additional ingredients. When a customer is served, the owner collects the money for the purchase, returns the change and the bill, then places the chosen burger/hotdog into the oven to warms it up. Once the customer is served, the process starts again with the next customer. The process is altered if a customer orders additional ingredients for the hotdog. In this case, the owner adds the products, based on customer’s preferences before warming up the hotdog.
The demand for fast food is not stable over the day, with the peak of customers occurring around lunchtime. The demand during the rest of the day is relatively constant and infrequent, therefore there is enough time for the owner to replenish the stock of semi-made burgers and hotdogs. The owner makes additional burgers and hotdogs every time there is no customer to serve, thus maintaining relatively constant level of semi-made burgers and hotdogs for serving the next demand peak. The process described above can be represented using a flowchart:
Most of the steps in the described process are standardized. The difference arises if a customer chooses to add extra ingredients to the hotdog. In this case, the shop owner has to include an intermediate step between product warming up the and payment. In this step he is adding the requested ingredients according to the customer preferences. Since customer tastes are very different, this step cannot be standardized.
The lunchtime demand in the fast food shop varies greatly, therefore in some cases there are not enough burgers and hotdogs for the customers. In this case people have to wait in the queue until their order is prepared, which is not acceptable for the majority of the clients. Customer expectations from a fast food restaurant primarily concentrate on the fast service and often lower prices. Inability to meet customer expectations may become detrimental for the business. Since there are many other fast food options in the neighbourhood, long queues and slow service discourages many consumers from coming to this fast food shop again, thus decreasing demand and shop’s profits. The effect of the customer loss is especially grave due to the fact that fast food business is deriving revenues from high sales volumes rather than high margins. Therefore, increasing demand should be the primary objective of the shop, while meeting customer expectations should be its main focus.
In order to improve processes in the shop, it is possible to use the Just-In-Time (JIT) principle. According to the American Production and Inventory Control Society, JIT is a philosophy, which strives to achieve continuous improvement and waste elimination at all stages of the supply chain. The concept is based on the zero defects principle, combined with minimum inventory, reduction of lead time and lot sizes, as well as continuous incremental modification of the process in order to achieve maximum efficiency (Müller, 2003).
The presence of queues, or the bottlenecks in the process indicate low efficiency and effectiveness of the shop. Therefore, it is possible to implement the JIT principle in order to improve process flow and to achieve higher efficiency. Thus, firstly, it is necessary to identify the main constraint of the process and to make improvements in order to eliminate it. According to the theory of constraints, there will always be a step, which limits the performance of the overall chain, therefore improvement should be conducted continuously (Dettmer, 1997). Considering the zero defects and low inventory principles of the JIT, the fast food shop owner should limit the number of pre-made burgers. In this case, it will be possible to eliminate the waste of the burgers, which are not as popular, and simultaneously reduce their inventory. Instead, the same process as for hot dog preparation should be adopted for all the products, so that the burgers are prepared on demand rather than in advance. Lastly, it is highly recommended to hire one more person to the shop, in order to separate payment from actual food preparation. In this case it will be possible to increase the speed of the process and to service customers more efficiently, thus avoiding bottlenecks.
Dettmer, H. W. (1997). Goldratt's theory of constraints: a systems approach to continuous
improvement. Milwaukee, the United States of America: ASQ Quality Press.
Müller, M. (2003). Essentials of inventory management. New York, NY: AMACOM.