Operations Management Case Study

A central theme of contemporary operations management is focus on the customer.  This is commonly understood to mean that if a company does focus on its customers and it if is able to consistently deliver what the customer wants in a cost-effective manner, then the company should be successful.  The hard part is to be able to truly understand what the customer wants.  Translating what the customer wants into a deliverable product (meaning some combination of goods and services) and designing a set of processes that will consistently deliver the product in a cost-effective manner are every bit as difficult.  Finally, connecting the management of these products and processes to obtain desired business outcomes of the organization is a further challenge.
The Setting: Quality at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company
Ritz-Carlton.  The name alone evokes images of luxury and quality.  As the first hotel company to win the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the Ritz treats quality as if it is the heartbeat of the company.  This means a daily commitment to meeting customer expectations and making sure that each hotel is free of any deficiency.
In the hotel industry, quality can be hard to quantify.  Guests do not purchase a product when they stay at the Ritz: They buy an experience.  Thus, creating the right combination of elements to make the experience stand out is the challenge and goal of every employee, from maintenance to management.
Before applying for the Baldrige Award, company management undertook a rigorous self-examination of its operations in an attempt to measure and quantify quality.  Nineteen processes were studied, including room service delivery, guest reservation and registration, message delivery, and breakfast service.  This period of self-study included statistical measurement of process work flows and cycle times for areas ranging from room service delivery times and reservations to valet parking and housekeeping efficiency.  The results were used to develop performance benchmarks against which future activity could be measured.
With specific, quantifiable targets in place, Ritz-Carlton managers and employees now focus on continuous improvement.  In this case study, you will deliver a presentation that addresses the following questions.
  • Make a list of hotel attributes that are important to you as a customer.  Think like a customer and brainstorm a list of attributes that are important when it comes to selecting a hotel in which to stay.  Briefly discuss each attribute.
  • Now, think like the operations manager and translate those attributes into a measurable process.  Associate with each attribute/customer requirement a measure that would ensure that the process meets the requirement just as Ritz-Carlton did.  Refer back to the House of Quality example on page 51.  You do not need to create a house of quality, but you need specific, quantitative measures such as the target values in the house of quality example.  See the Critical to Quality (CTQ) tree attachment for examples of quantitative measures.
  • Create a service blueprint for a process that meets your requirements.  Describe it by using a flowchart similar to that show in Exhibit 9.6.  Your flowchart can be any part of your process you select (a process of a customer’s stay from start to finish, a process for hiring employees, a process for dining services, a process for housekeeping, etc.).
Your Case Study Assignment will be written in the form of a memorandum.  The Purdue OWL site has a section on memos that you should review (General Introduction, Audience and Purpose, Parts, Format, and a Sample). 

The memo should be formatted as follows:

  • Use the sections in the Purdue OWL format (Heading Segment, Opening Segment, Context, Task Segment, Discussion Segments, Closing Segment, and Necessary Attachments).
  • Although this is a business memorandum and not an APA paper, you will be doing research to organize your thoughts and support your assertions.  We need to document those sources to give proper credit to the authors and avoid plagiarism.  You must use at least 2 scholarly sources in your research and they should be documented in APA manual 7th ed. format (an APA handbook is on reserve at library and an additional copy is at the reference desk the book can be only used in the library you cannot check it out of course you can purchase a copy at any book store for your own reference).  APA resources are provided in the Supplemental Materials folder located below.
  • Remember, this is an organizational communication document so it should flow.  You don’t want to merely state the question number and then answer it.  Make your thoughts and analysis flow with a coherent purpose.
  • The flowchart should be inserted into the memo but you can refer to it as a separate attachment in your memo.  See the Flow Chart Examples file for examples of acceptable and unacceptable flow charts. 
Here are some answers to other potential questions related to the Case Study Assignment:
  • The minimum number of references is two.  They can be any credible and scholarly references.  Remember, these should be business-related references and not just references for hotel services.  Be sure to cite the references in your memo.
  • The flowchart should be drawn either in Word, PowerPoint, Excel or some equivalent drawing tool and inserted in the memo.  Do not hand-draw flowcharts.
  • Make sure you are constructing a flowchart and not a picture/image.  Do not use SmartArt from PowerPoint.  See exhibit 9.6 for an example of a sophisticated flowchart.  The flowchart must be your own creation, not something you get off the internet.
  • Make sure that in question 2, you identify quantitative (numerical) measurements.  
  • There is no minimum page number requirement.  Use the grading rubric to ensure you proficiently meet the grading criteria.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.