Taco Bell's solution to this problem was similar to what would be found in a major factory: standardize procedures, eliminate bottlenecks, and work to optimize staff efficiency. Employees at Taco Bell are divided into two categories: Service Champions (drive-thru) and Food Champions (food preparation). Service Champions are trained to follow a specific script as they greet customers and take orders. They enter orders into the point-of-sale system, make drinks when needed, and handle payments. When processing orders for more complex menu items, Service Champions may assist Food Champions in food preparation. The script goes a long way toward eliminating botched orders. Beyond that, it comes down to teamwork, to everyone working together to create a seamless process free from mistakes. In this instance, speed and accuracy of service are as much a part of quality as the finished food. Taco Bell has essentially maximized its service speed, unless, miraculously, it can figure out how to speed up its customers.
All organizations create products
goods, services, or ideas
for customers. Thus, organizations as diverse as Toyota, Campbell Soup, UPS, and a public hospital share a number of similarities relating to how they transform resources into the products we consume. Most hospitals use similar admission procedures, while online social media companies, like Facebook and Twitter, use their technology and operating systems to create social networking opportunities and sell advertising. Such similarities are to be expected. But even organizations in unrelated industries take similar steps in creating goods or services. The check-in procedures of hotels and commercial airlines are comparable, for example. The way Subway assembles a sandwich and the way GMC assembles a truck are similar (both use automation and an assembly line). These similarities are the result of operations management, the focus of this chapter. Here, we discuss the role of production or operations management in acquiring and managing the resources necessary to create goods and services. Production and operations management involves planning and designing the processes that will transform those resources into finished products, managing the movement of those resources through the transformation process, and ensuring that the products are of the quality expected by customers.
The Nature of Operations Management
Operations management (OM)
the development and administration of the activities involved in transforming resources into goods and services, is of critical importance. Operations managers oversee the transformation process and the planning and designing of operations systems, managing logistics, quality, and productivity. Quality and productivity have become fundamental aspects of operations management because a company that cannot make products of the quality desired by consumers, using resources efficiently and e
ffectively, will not be able to remain in business. OM is the “core” of most
organizations because it is responsible for the creation of the organization's goods and services. Some organizations like General Motors produce tangible products, but service is an important part of the total product for the customer.
Historically, operations management has been called “production” or “manufacturing” primarily because of
the view that it was limited to the manufacture of physical goods. Its focus was on methods and
techniques required to operate a factory efficiently. The change from “production” to “operations”
recognizes the increasing importance of organizations that provide services and ideas. Additionally, the