Mar 27, 2016 1412 Words  Pages

Hogsmeadow Garden Centre is a popular tourist area of the UK, which mainly sells garden-related products in shops and high-quality food in restaurants. In the past few years, Hogsmeadow Garden Centre was expanded and the number of customers sharply increased. However, the sales revenue and profitability hadn’t grown as fast. The aim of this essay is to discuss the main micro-operations at Hogsmeadow Garden Centre and its main input resources, transformation process and outputs, the problems faced by Don Dursley in managing and developing his centre and the solutions to improve the profitability of his business.

The main micro-operations of Hogsmeadow Garden Centre are indoor sales area, outside sales area and the Honeydukes Restaurant. For every micro-operation, there are inputs, transformation process and outputs. First, the input sources of the indoor sales area are staffs, like managers, cashiers, the materials or finished goods purchased from suppliers, customers, information and the sales area. The transformation processes are serving customers, keeping stocks, taking care of the plants and selling the goods. The outputs are the satisfied customers, the goods being sold, like pets and aquatics, seeds, indoor pots and plants etc. Second, the input resources of outside sales area are staffs, customers, price tags, the materials or goods purchased from suppliers, like the seeds of the plants. The transforming processes are providing professional information and knowledge of plants, keeping stocks, taking care of plants and selling the goods. The outputs are well-informed and satisfied customers and the goods and plants being sold. Third, the inputs of the Honeydukes Restaurant are customers, staffs, like managers, cashiers, waiters and food makers, seating areas and the raw food from suppliers. The transformation processes are preparing food, ordering food, taking money, clearing tables and washing up. The outputs are the high quality food and well customer services.

Throughout the main micro-operations of Hogsmeadow Garden Centre, Don Dursley was facing not a few problems in managing and developing his centre. First, inventory control is a great problem. It is hard for Don Dursley to determine the demand for the products, so he was always confused with the amount of products to be ordered. The demand varies by seasons and the limited life of the plants, and they are uncontrollable. If he order too much, some plants may be threw away, the cost will rise. If he order too little, customers will turn away because of not sufficient products are available. It is difficult for him to determine the best operating level. Second, the queuing time of the Honeydukes Restaurant is long. Sometimes, more than 20 people queues at weekend and the customers have to wait for 15 minutes to purchase food at peak times. It makes not a few people turned away as they see the queue. The major reason of the problem is the make-up time for the children’s lunchboxes are long, as they are made according to their preference. Third, the staffing is not able to deal with the changing demand. Although Hogsmeadow Garden Centre has flexible staffing, the variations of staffs required are too large, the quietest times can be as few as 20; the peak times can be large as 80. It is difficult for Don Dursley to determine the right number of staff. Besides, some categories of staffs of the centre are professionally qualified, some professional activities cannot be replaced by other staffs. Therefore, determining the right number of staffs is a preliminary stage, getting the right number of staffs with the right mix of skills is his final goal. However, with the rapid growth, many staffs can only specialize in one job, it created a great problem for Hogsmeadow Garden Centre.

To improve the profitability of Hogsmeadow Garden Centre, it is necessary for Don Dursley to make some changes. Here are some recommendations for him to make changes. First, there are some strategies can be used in inventory control. The main problem of the inventory control is unable to respond with the changing demand. It is suggested the shops in Hogsmeadow Garden Centre to place more orders with smaller order batches each time. It is not necessary for the shops to place order in a fixed period of time, at the beginning of the season for Hogsmeadow Garden Centre. It is possible to place orders when the stocks reach minimal stock level, which means the minimal amount of safety inventory that are willing to keep on hand before replenishing the suppliers. (Colleen Rodericks, n.d.) This strategy is particularly beneficial for selling perishable goods, as it can reduce the inventory level of the shops. It enables the shops to lessen the problem of losing money by discounting and throwing away for the perished stocks. At the same time, it is important for the shops to use First-in-first-out (FIFO) method for perishable products. FIFO method means selling the oldest products first, and the selling the new purchased products later. (Colleen Rodericks, n.d.) It is crucial for products with limited-life, like plants. As the oldest products are supposed to perish earlier, it is better to sell them earlier so as to reduce throwing away the perished products. Reducing the order batches and using FIFO method can reduce the products to be thrown, the costs of inventory can be reduced and the profitability of Hogsmeadow Garden Centre can be improved.

Then, Honeydukes Restaurant also has to make some changes to improve the profitability. The major problem is the queuing time for customers to purchasing food is too long, it makes people turned away. There are some ways to improve this problem. First, it is necessary to reduce the choices for the children’s lunch boxes. As Christine Wilson mentioned, the children’s lunch boxes are time-consuming to make up, and it give rise to the long queues. Therefore, it is suggested the choices of children’s lunch boxes to be reduced to three. Since the lunch boxes becomes standardized, the make-up time can be reduced. Second, the cashiers should be increased. At peak times, the customers will take up 15 minutes to purchase food, it can show that the demanded capacities for cashiers exceeds the optimum capacity. As a result, it is suggested to increase a cashier at peak time, in order to decrease the queuing time for purchasing food. Third, the restaurant should implement trainings. At peak times, the staffs’ capacities are not sufficient to deal with the demand. This problem not only can be solved by increasing staffs, but also reducing the lead time. If the staffs are more skillful, the lead time of the meal can be reduced. The most effective way to make the staffs to become more skillful is training. After training, the lead time of the meal is supposed to be shorter and the customers’ time spending in the restaurant can be reduced, so that it can reduce the customers turning away. As we can see, reducing the choices of lunch boxes, increasing cashiers and implementing training can reduce the queuing time for purchasing food, the customers turning away reduced as a result. Therefore, the profitability can be improved.

Last but not least, Hogsmeadow Garden Centre should have a better capacity planning. The main problem for staffing is it cannot deal with the fluctuations in demand. Capacity planning is an efficient way to determine the staffs required. The first step for capacity planning is forecasting sales for each shops. The forecast should base on the historical data of sales in the corresponding months, and predict the sales for each month in the future. And then the labor required is projected in response to the forecasted sales. This can help to estimate the workers require easily and accurately. Chase strategy should be used, which means matching demand and supply of the workforce. Besides, similar to Honeydukes Restaurant, Hogsmeadow Garden Centre should also implement training to the staffs. But their aim are different. The aims of training the staffs of the centre are not just shortening the lead time, but also enabling the staffs to learn different skills. Increasing different skills for staffs can enable them to take different roles in the centre, so as to increase flexibility.

To conclude, the main problems of the Honeydukes Restaurant, inventory control and staffing of Hogsmeadow Garden Centre have been investigated in this essay. With the recommendations suggested, it is believed that the profitability of Hogsmeadow Garden Centre can be improved.

Colleen Rodericks (n.d.) Inventory management techniques and best practices. Inflow Inventory. Retrieved 25th March 2016, from