As part of the consultation, a few operations management issues have been identified and recommendations have been presented.
Carter's Bakery differentiates itself from its competitors by specialising in high quality decorated fruit cakes, instead of making a variety of products. This suggests that Carter's Bakery is focussing on its quality objective (Waters 2002, Slack et al 2007) and this is reflected in the bakery's processes and procedures which place an emphasis on quality. However, the need to maintain quality has raised the operational management issue of design. Carter's Bakery is currently operating on a batch process which means that there is little room for variation and flexibility (Waters 2002, Slack et al 2007). This process is appropriate for the volume of orders that Carter's Bakery is processing, and the high volumes can only be output by a batch process. However, the bakery also decided to capitalise on growing sales by producing smaller cakes to retail shops for family purchases and this is when the operations design issue became apparent to the owners. Due to the high demand for the later product, the bakery had to increase production, and even this was not enough to sustain demand. The batch process can no longer sustain the operations of the bakery as the process requires certain periods of rest which do not allow for the bakery to meet demand. For instance, it takes three hours for one batch of small cakes and four for the larger cakes, which means that there is a period when the equipment cannot be used to generate cakes. The increasing demand for smaller cakes calls for a different design in the form of mass processes which are appropriate for high volume and low variety goods (Waters 2002, Slack et al 2007) such as the cakes being made by the bakery. The mass process was appropriate when the business started as they could predict the demand, and therefore produce in batches and use less storage space. The mass process is also repetitive and predictable (Waters 2002, Slack et al 2007), which would enable the Carters to fulfil their private and family requirements. In addition to this, there is evidence that Oven 1 may require some maintenance which suggests extensive use, and also poses as a major quality issue. Oven 1 is acceptable for the 1kg cakes but not for the 2kg cakes, which demonstrates the creation or the need for another operations design to maintain the quality of the 2kg cakes. Therefore the first issue is that which is related to the processes within the bakery which are no longer appropriate for the bakery.
The expansion of the bakery has also presented a layout issue which needs to adapt to the growing demand and the new market the bakery is attracting. It seems that the current layout is based on the product layout which locates the transforming resources for the convenience of the baking process. The product layout worked well with one type of cake and fairly fixed demand levels. When demand levels rose, the bakery could not cope with two different sizes of the cakes. Even though the transforming products were similar, the size of the cake and the speed of service delivery were compromising the quality of the cakes. This essentially requires that the bakery obtains another line of equipment to maintain service delivery. The Carters are reluctant to employ more staff