SECTION A: Critical Decisions Made While Playing Practice Operation
While playing the Practice Operations game, the company was engaged in the manufacture of woolen scarves. As the manager, the overall strategy was to ensure the production of high-quality products and increased profitability. The operational objectives were achieved through the integration of strategic decisions associated with capacity, process, and quality. The competing objective was to design high-quality commodities; thus, superior technologies were utilized to enable efficient distribution. The machines’ capacities allowed the manufacture of various products and increased flexibility of operations. Therefore, the strategic decision to upgrade technological systems on an annual basis was implemented. Approximately $12500 was expended annually in the management of technical equipment. There were, however, still several late deliveries. Further investments were incorporated to ensure that such delays were avoided. Quick production ensured the supply of more batches and reduced delays of deliveries. The shipment costs ranged at an estimated $900 per order, which was quite expensive. Therefore, to minimize costs, shipments will be made only when a particular batch is completed. Batch production enables the capability of manufacturing diverse lot sizes. With the advancement of systems, more lot sizes were produced, resulting in increased capacity and meeting consumer demands. Although consumer demands could be projected due to the production of similar commodities, forecasting was significant in determining the changing customer trends.
The game demonstrated that the assessment of trends correlated with the precise ordering of raw materials as holding charges were below19% of the cumulative annual expenses. In turn, this strategic supply management decision was utilized in the supply of woolen scarves to reduce inventory costs. The bidding of high quantity interfered with profitability and quality. Fewer returns were amassed, leading to reduced profit margins. To address this concern, the other strategic decision focused on hiring qualified work personnel. Throughout the entire game, the employment of skilled staff resulted in increased revenue and quality production. The initial utilization of unqualified employees and ineffective suppliers resulted in late deliveries, and customer dissatisfaction as only 74% of consumers were satisfied with the services. Consequently, there was a need to integrate a supplier management strategic decision that targeted to employ skilled employees and reliable suppliers. The selection of suppliers was then performed through the weighted score method. Suppliers A and B charges were similar though supplier A provided quality products and supplier B had more product differentiation. Supplier A was selected because his products aligned with the company’s overall strategy. The organization’s capability to accumulate profits aided in product quality, further enhancing the organization’s distinctive competencies.
While playing the game, I identified that it was critical to managing time since reliability is a crucial factor in time management; I decided to integrate it into inventory management. I discovered that it was not worthwhile to eradicate the non-value adding operations as this interfered with company profits leading to reduced returns. Therefore, in order to enhance profitability, I strategically bid on the contracts that would increase the efficiency of mass production. The contract management with the consumers specifically focused on quality and the high unit, which in turn led to increased returns and efficient mass distribution that contributed to high net worth.
SECTION B: Supply Chain Operations
Premier Foods was instituted in the 18th century, and it has since been launching various food products. It is situated in Hertfordshire, U.K. (Corporate Site – Our History, 2020). Mr.Kipling cherry Bakewells are some of Premier Foods’ most popular desserts. They are pastry cases that contain raspberry jam, icing, a scrumptious layer of almond sponge, and a cherry at the top. Premier Foods PLC desserts main ingredients constitute of flour, sugar, eggs, almonds, preservatives such as Sulphur-dioxide and cream. The firm’s supply management is focused on reliability and effectiveness (Corporate Site – Home, 2020). Since 2008, the supply chain consulting group has offered program endorsements to Premier Foods PLC with its supply chain activities and resources. The company’s raw materials are mainly sourced from U.K. suppliers (Mutiso, 2017). This enables the company to maintain high standards and ascertain a rigorous process of auditing and controls (“Corporate Site – Our Supply Chain,” 2020). The firm invests in advanced technology to ensure efficient delivery throughout the year and utilizes its brands in providing the management of the ecological footprint (Annual Reports.com, 2007). Premier Foods PLC believes that the sustainable quality of its commodities relies on the sustainability of the supply chain; hence it continues to endorse its development (Premier Foods Annual report and accounts, 2019). The supply process comprises several phases in Mr. Kipling cherry Bakewells supply chain.
The ingredients are mixed to form the batter. The mixer continues the process for approximately 10 minutes. This is done to allow air to be trapped so that it rises. After the mixing process, the batter is then covered into the mold. Oil is poured into the baking mold to prevent the batter from sticking on the mold during the baking. The mold is packed with batter through an automatic system that gauges the amount of batter and its weight. This ensures that the proportions of the desserts do not significantly differ. The molds are conveyed through the conveyor belt to an oven. The humidity and temperature levels are regulated to ensure proper cooking of the dessert. The crust is sprayed with water to increase consistency before being allowed to cool down. After the baking process, the cooling process is done so that the dessert releases moisture. The moisture is emitted through suction pumps fixated to the walls in order to prevent any condensation. Cream and jam are added to the pastries, and then a cherry is added on top before packaging is done. The Mr. Kipling cherry Bakewells are then packaged in quantities of six cakes per package. After packaging, the pastries are ready for distribution where they are transported to various centers, including supermarkets, wholesale and retail stores.
Critical Concerns in The Planning and Operations of This Supply Chain
Sustainability issues are a common concern for Premier Foods PLC. The firm is currently initiating measures on how it can address its food waste and packaging issues (Premierfoods.co.uk, 2020). In 2017, Premier Foods PLC’s overall food production was approximately 336,668 tonnes, and its total food waste was estimated at 8012 tonnes, which is equivalent to 2.4% of the food that was manufactured (“Corporate Site – Our Supply Chain,” 2020). This high food wastage has negative consequences on the company’s supply chain productivity (Sales drop for Premier Foods, 2020). The firm’s ineffective packaging technologies also contribute to sustainability issues since multiple packages either constitute of plastic material or materials that are unrecyclable (Foodmanufacture.co.uk, 2020). Further, water wastage is yet another challenge that occurs within the supply chain operations in addition to the firm’s transportation operations that interfere with carbon intensity and the ecological footprint (Corporate Site – Reduce our environmental footprint, 2020).In 2008, the company disposed approximately 30000 tonnes of waste material in a landfill (Cooper, 2009). Although it can be debated that Premier Foods PLC is making efforts to address sustainability concerns, there is still much that needs to be addressed. Since the company lacks appropriate advanced technology to execute the activities within the supply chain effectively, sustainability issues remain a challenge. The firm’s business information system is not adequately efficient, and it interferes with proper inventory management, preventing the ability to track consumer demand accurately.
Therefore, it is apparent that Premier Foods PLC needs to initiate further sustainability developments to minimize the possibility of food wastage or environmental degradation. Additionally, the company’s personnel should be educated on the significance of reducing food wastage and conserving the environment (Groceries.asda.com, 2020). The firm should also upgrade its inventory systems to improve its capabilities in projecting precise consumer demand (Shin, Wood & Jun, 2016). It should utilize a ledger to monitor its transactions with U.K. suppliers in order to identify consumer trends. This will ensure direct interactions between the supplier and the firm. The firm should also introduce new technologies that encourage invention in packaging design that contributes to sustainability (Premier Foods Annual report, 2019). This can be achieved through the elimination of single-use packaging, ensuring that 70% of the plastic is recycled and shift to reusable or compostable plastic wrapping. The integration of advanced transport systems such as electric vehicles will aid in the management of the environment as the total carbon intensity will be minimized (Bakker & Trip, 2013). Currently, the company has consolidated its logistic activities to a single supply center, and this has resulted in a decline in the carbon emissions by 1260 tonnes (Premier Foods Annual report 2019). Proper equipment can be utilized to optimize out-bound and inbound logistics and transport processes. To further enhance sustainability, the business has targeted to decrease its water wastage. Advanced technologies ascertain the quick performance of diverse firm operations. With technical integration in production, operational activities, and distribution, the company will enhance sustainability (Oprea, 2012). To illustrate, the implementation of automation software could enable the instant identification of company resources being wasted. Sufficient firm infrastructure can improve Premier Foods PLC’s ability to optimize the value of the entire supply chain process. Conclusively, if Premier Foods adopts a sustainability strategy with better inventory management, its supply chain could be enhanced efficiently. The probability of food and water wastage would significantly decrease, in turn, fostering increased profitability.