Managing Operations

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The whole production and delivery process, challenges with the existence of trade-off, supply chain activities, ERP, and human tacit and implicit knowledge to deal with the processes are discussed in this part with reference to the Gate gourmet Company. Managing Operations, Information, and Knowledge of Gate Gourmet 1. Introduction Each company wants to sustain in the highly competitive market. For this, the companies are involved in the management of operations, information and knowledge throughout the organisation, which has now days become of utmost importance.
The company go for integration with other firms to improve their processes and for the application of software, which are used uniformly by the different departments of the organisation and their suppliers as well as customers. In the business of catering, providing right quantities at right time at the right place is of greatest importance. For the achievement of the goal, the company that enable efficient use of input resources to generate the effective output uses those systems. The company in integration with the other companies to provide the quality meals uses new production techniques.
Also the supplier selection plays a critical role in supply chain management process. The company to improve their processes uses the ERP system and human tacit and implicit knowledge. In this part of study, all these activities are discussed with the case of Gate Gourmet. 2. About Gate Gourmet The Gate Group brand was introduced in early 2008 after several acquisitions after being founded in the year 1992. The company offers catering and last mile provisioning for airlines and railroads, lounges and business aviation. The company’s main force of secondary revenue is onboard retail operations (Gate gourmet). . Systems that enable efficient use of input resources and their impact on output of goods and services supplied by Gate Gourmet 1. Transformation Process It includes the processes, which converts the input to the output by adding value to the product. There are two categories of input resources i. e. transformed resources which are converted from input to the output and include materials and information, and transforming resources which helps to convert input to the output and include facilities like buildings, equipments, process technology and the staff (NSW Government). 2.
The new production techniques are used by Gate Gourmet to provide the meals of restaurant quality and also manageable in terms of cost, quality, service and safety. These production techniques help in efficient use of input resources. 1. Cuisine Sous-Vides The company to achieve amazing flavour and texture uses this technique. This technique relies on temperature-controlled circulator in which the food is vacuum-sealed and cooked in a precisely controlled water bath. As the method is very easy to learn, it helps in better control and reasonable results every time (PolyScience). 2. Hot Filling
This technology is very easy to handle even by unskilled workers. This high temperature helps in the sterilisation of bottles and other equipments to maintain the high quality standards. 3. Modified Atmosphere Packing The technology helps in expanding the shelf life of fresh food products. The modified atmosphere packing technology substitutes the atmospheric air inside the package with the protective gas mix which ensures that the product will stay fresh for long time. The company used this technology for packing of red meats, fruits and vegetables. This helped to achieve the minimal spoilage of the input resources and lowers the costs.
The company has established sophisticated machineries for this purpose (Modified Atmosphere Packaging). 4. Food Safety Checks and Assurance Systems The company voluntarily follows HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) to ensure food safety. The company inspects every vehicle that delivers the raw materials, check by digital probe food temperatures during the production and delivery process, temperature checks on every batch food; every dish and surface is cleaned while food preparation, this helps in production and delivery of food that is clean and safe (Gate Gourmet). . Gate Serve Provisioning services Gate Serve, a subsidiary of Gate Gourmet, helps in assembling soda drawers, packing silverware, provisioning packaged food items, and aircraft watering. This helps in efficiently responding to changes of new procedures in the marketplace (Gate Serve). The provisioning of items helped in making the trip safe and comfortable for the passengers. For these services, the company has installed cooling systems, onboard cameras and state-of-the-art engines. 6. Post Flight Aircraft Stripping
In the catering process, the carts are removed and taken to the flight kitchen and unloading and sanitisation. Using the recycling system, the trash is separated from the general waste stream and sterilised before disposal. Crockery and other reusable items are sent for dishwashing and sterilisation line (Gate Gourmet Aircraft Provisioning). 3. Existence of Trade-offs within Gate Gourmet and challenges faced by following this approach The tradeoffs between economising and flexibility were noticed within the organisation.
The reduction in expenditures helped the company to gain the competitive advantage whereas; the flexibility needs to be applied to meet the last minute demand of the clients, sometimes, which may cause wastage of food products. With the conflicting demands of the organisation, trade-offs were considered within the organisation. The trade-offs are considered for balancing the transformation process. Main challenge in front of managers is to maximise the cost reduction with flexibility and the dilemma cannot be completely eliminated.
The stabilisation mechanism needs to be established within the organisation to meet the uncertain demands and to maintain stability in the production and delivery process. Also, the company had dilemma of trade-offs between making and buying of certain products. Buying of food products included outsourcing to the other company. But the challenge was that the making led to increase in costs and buying which will lead to outsourcing has hidden costs that will diminish its advantages with time. And, at the time when Texas Pacific bought the company, it was under enormous stress to cut down its costs (The Guardian, 2005). . Supply Chain Management issues and supplier selection 1. Supply Chain Supply chain includes procurement of raw materials from the suppliers, conversion of raw materials to intermediate goods, and then finally to finished products. It also includes the distribution of it to the customers. Three kinds of flows exist in supply chain i. e. material, information and finance (Ganeshan R & Harrison T, 1995). Upstream refers to the activities that take place before the supply phase. And, downstream refers to the activities that take place after the supply phase.
IFx system was used to integrate the whole supply chain (AirlineHubBuzz, 2012). 2. Supply Chain Management Effective supply chain management is the coordination between the various players in the chain and each channel member operates independently (Ganeshan R & Harrison T, 1995). 3. Impact of integrated system in the management of suppliers and supplier selection The company goes on maintaining the relationship with those suppliers who can meet quick and flexible supply in respect to the demand changes, deliver consistently and on time with high degree of mutual understanding and trust (Acorn live: 22). . Alpha Flight Group Alpha provided full catering and provisioning services in Amsterdam. Gate Gourmet intended maximum growth and operational flexibility with Alpha through its integrated system. The company aimed to serve 80 peak season flights a day with Alpha (aircraftinteriorsinternational. com). 2. Pourshins Pourshins, a fully integrated partner provides the tools required for supply chain model including sourcing and procurement, asset management and food and beverage logistics (Pourshins. com). The challenge in front of the company was to reduce the LEAN’s supply chain management cost, which was rising.
The integration challenge was to merge the two teams of employees in the United States and understanding the Gate Gourmet’s existing warehousing, distribution and software functions (Andersen, 2008: 29). But at the same time, the integrated system helped to aggregate purchase volumes, which resulted in lowering of costs, optimisation of products and services for the total value (Pourshins. com). 3. Supplair The company designed food including fresh food preparation and packaged food to keep them safe, appealing, and requires minimum handling.
The challenge in front of company with the integrated system was to review the food offered for the crew consumption and introduce the same within four weeks for Easy Jet. The elements for the key success with the integrated system were the proven web-based ordering system, which was easy to use and the excellent distribution supply chain (Supplair. com). 4. deSter Gate Gourmet selected deSter as its supplier, deSter being leading supplier in service solutions across all aircraft cabins. To win the competitive advantage over the other bidders, the tender was in the favour of Gate Gourmet with Etihad Airways.
This was because of technical know-how and production capacities of deSter (deSter. com). 5. Potmstudios The company offers design for packaging, cutlery, food and beverage service ware and passenger facilities for the in-flight services. The positive implication was the best computer aided design software, which was used by the company for the fast and accurate designs (Potmstudios. com). 6. Harmony The company is totally integrated airline service provider and involved in the designing of amenity kits.
Harmony provides tailor-made solutions for enhancing the passengers’ comfort on board. The operational excellence of the company helped in managing the quality of the service (Harmonyonboard. com). 4. Recommendations for less advanced suppliers to establish consistent standard of operations with the supply chain activities First of all, for implementing integrated system, the less advanced organisations analyse their business processes. It helps in the modernisation of processes during the time of changes.
It is quite easier for the centralised organisations to implement the integrated system. Secondly, balancing of work designed according to the requirements of the customers is of prime importance. The software should be configured before use. Lastly, the company needs to establish a system to convert the existing data into the integrated one. For this, the company may have to move for data migration planning like identification of data, data templates generation, and deciding migration interrelated set-ups and reporting policies.
This will help the less advanced suppliers to gain the competitive advantage and will also help in modernisation. The genuine trick for the integration is the free flow of information, cooperation and respecting each business’s independence (Andersen, 2008: 30). 5. ERP System ERP system is the organisation wide network for harmonising the resources, information and functions of a business. It is the modern extension of MRP1 (Materials Requirement Planning), MRP11 (Manufacturing Resource Planning), and CIM (Computer Integrated Manufacturing).
It helps in communicating with the customers and the suppliers to improve the quality of supply chain management (Acorn live: 19). 1. Scala system Scala is the ERP software and support ERP processes. This system was exercised by the company to cover the maximum business processes of catering operations. 1. E-Gatematrix The real-time data was fed into the Scala system through ‘e-gatematrix’ system, which is the web-interface system for capturing data. 2. Challenges faced by the company in implementing ERP System 1.
The company has to face the challenges due to demand fluctuations- As food has to be prepared just before 12 to 24 hours before departure, the demand keep on fluctuating till the last moment. The ‘just-in-time’ delivery after the preparation and supply of food with the last minute fluctuations become difficult and challenging (Fidanza). All the last minute changes using ERP systems become difficult sometimes. 2. The company has to re fix the schedules with flight delays- The whole process of delivery becomes cumbersome with flight delays.
All the data communication through ERP in rush becomes complex. 3. ERP implementation problems and solutions 1. Galley Planning Problem-With the technological support, galley planning becomes time consuming process. Solution-Galley Planning System (GP4) of the e-gate solutions can be easily incorporated into other material planning systems to increase the precision of the data. It leads to the fuel-cost impact analysis, automatic publishing of packing instructions and the online communication of changes to the supply chain (e-Gate Solutions). 2.
Complications of Data Problem- There was complications of data and their application using the e-marketplace application. Solution- The company replaced it with ePix application to improve the order search capabilities and for the simplification of the data (e-Gate Solutions). 3. Business Intelligence and Reporting Problem-The reporting of real-time sales and analysis was difficult with ERP implementation. Solution-Onboard Retail Technology (TS4) was selected for reporting functions, as TS4 was able to reconcile the real-time sales to inventory.
It was also used to identify the passengers’ buying trends (e-Gate Solutions). 4. Selection of menus according to the passenger mix Problem- The main challenge in front of the company was to reduce the inventory using ERP, when the menus were fixed but the types of passengers’ keeps on changing even six hours before take-off. Solution-The Pourshins’ trademark forecaster system for food helped to build new menus and reduce the inventory and costs (e-Gate Solutions). 6. Huge information used by Gate Gourmet to deliver their service 1.
Human tacit and implicit knowledge is essential to make sense of hard statistical information and the same is used for enhancing performance Inventory management includes the processes involved in maintenance of optimal number of goods and services to avoid over and under inventory. The company focuses on inventory management through state-of-the-art software. Gate Gourmet collects the necessary data from state-of-the-art software with the help of Pourshins for inventory management (Gate Gourmet). The experienced personnel are hired by the company for the use of different software’s through their tacit and implicit knowledge.
The main difference between tacit knowledge and implicit knowledge is that the implicit knowledge can be codified but it is impossible to codify tacit knowledge (Toolbox. com, 2008). Suppose a flight from Taiwan to New York, may stop at Los Angeles for 2-3 hours, the company will be required to unload the trash items in this time and have to load the 5 tons of new food with cutlery and other equipments. But the challenge now appears when the last minute passengers come up and like to have the menu according to the menu of the airlines. Also, the special meals like low fat meals are required by certain group of passengers.
Through the use of software, it is easy to get the statistics but the right quantities are decided by experts so as to keep the wastage and costing minimum. Here comes the use of human tacit knowledge used by experts for the inventory management, Through the use of tacit knowledge the over-catering and under-catering is avoided. As the production and delivery of more meals than actual required is both the loss for airlines as well as for the Gate Gourmet. The software covers almost all the business processes involved in inventory management.
The delays in flight arrivals upset the work schedules. It becomes crucial for the company to provide right quantities at the right place to the right person. The dedicated team members take action with flexibility and quickly to achieve the goal. The costs have reduced to the great extent with the management of inventories through the tacit knowledge of the staff (Donna, 2009). Hands do the majority of food preparation, which is also a time consuming process. The inventory of finished stock of goods needs to be kept ready with the demand fluctuations.
They to reduce the wastage at the bottom level use the culinary expertise and implicit knowledge. The culinary trends and expertise is used to design the menus as per the trends. This has helped the company in gaining the competitive advantage and food and journey becomes enjoyable by the customers. Inventory forecast is a mix of statistical data with the use of human tacit and implicit knowledge. The company has been using the vast information and statistics, which finally gets evaluated by the experts to decide the optimal level of inventory.
As a result, it helps in improving the function of the processes; reduce inventory wastage, optimal quantity ordering to the suppliers. 7. Conclusion Concluding the whole discussion, it is very imperative for the company to go for managing operations, information and knowledge to survive in the market cutthroat competition. The company has to face various challenges for the achievement of aspirations. Besides tough times faced by Gate Gourmet, the company has been successful in the administration of operations, information and knowledge. For this, the company has deployed experienced staff all over the organisation.

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