1) Scheduling and sequencing are typically viewed from a technical perspective; that is, they are focused on minimizing quantitative measures such as lateness or cost. However, schedules also have intangible effects on customers, employees, and the perception of service quality. Discuss what some of these intangible effects might be and how managers should consider them when constructing schedules. Some intangible effects of schedules on customers, employees, and the perception of service quality could be, employee morale (overworked, underworked); customer/buyer satisfaction with rate of production/delivery of service; perception of efficiency of potential clients and ancillary support systems. Managers need to take into account that constructing schedules will impact stakeholders in different ways (Collier & Evans, 2013).
Where a quicker delivery time might make a customer happy, a salaried employee working 14 hour days to meet that demand may ultimately be causing more harm to the company in the long run. One of the best methods for developing schedules is an Activity-on-Node model. In this model, we can see the earliest start (ES) latest start (LS) earliest finish (LS) and latest finish for each activity of the project. Some of they may be able to run concurrently, which leads us to determining what the “critical path” would be. The critical path is the shortest time between activities that the project may be accomplished (Collier & Evans, 2013).
2) Select two of Deming’s 14 Points and discuss the importance of them to operations managers (as well as all managers) in today’s business environment. Deming’s steps 13 (Encourage Education and Self-Improvement) and 14 (Take Action) are the two that I find the most respectable attributes in operations managers and normal managers, alike. I have seen first-hand what sort of morale detriment can occur when self-improvement and education are not fostered in top-performers. For example, employee John Smith decides he wants to obtain his Project Management Professional PMP™ certification. His company has a training budget that allows for such training, but Smith’s manager cannot rationalize the need for the certification, based on Smith’s current duties. Smith then decides to take vacation time and pay out of pocket to achieve this certification, nearly $2000 of his own money spent on professional development.
Several months later, Smith’s company is awarded a substantial Earned Value (EV) contract from the DoD, in which a requirement was that there needed to be a certified PMP™ on the project team. Smith’s manager lacked the foresight to see the benefit of such a certification, and to this day, Smith has not been formally reimbursed for what ultimately led to the acquisition of a multi-million dollar contract. Needless to say, Smith’s regard for that manager severely diminished. Taking Action stood out to me as well, because I have seen what cost-plus contracts can do to a company. The “chaos is cash” mindset that melds into the minds of managers whose incumbencies are those contracts can be sickening.
I once witnessed a company with a directorate that was so focused on this mind-set that deliveries were constantly late or with error, and it was considered the norm to have such things occur. DoD contractors are normally evaluated by the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (CPARS), and this company was consistently in the unsatisfactory rating. With a new directorate and management, this company was able to climb that rating system two levels for the first time in over a decade. I attribute this to those whom replaced the previous directorate and managements “Take Action” attitude in correcting that horrific “cost-plus” mindset.
3) Explain how service quality is measured. Specifically, discuss how you may have experienced each of the five SERVQUAL dimensions as a consumer of services. “Service quality is consistently meeting or exceeding customer expectations (external focus) and service-delivery system performance criteria (internal focus) during all service encounters” Collier & Evans, 2013). The 10 dimensions of SERVQUAL are as follows:
Understanding/knowing the customer
In regards to reliability, I have had amazing reliability with MESA/BOOGIE guitar amplifiers. My MESA amp has lasted over 10 years with no issues. In regards to competence, USAA’s customer service and knowledge of their own products/services continues to amaze me every time I speak to them over the phone. I would also attribute the courtesy, responsiveness, and communication dimensions to USAA, as well. Their representatives are always well spoken, pleasant, and prompt to return inquiries.
With understanding/knowing the customer, I would say Pacific Caliber is high on my list. We at Pacific Caliber can recognize the true, earned-value potential in the candidates we place with our clients, because we have been subject matter experts in those fields already. Much of this has to do with military affiliations and core values, as well. Access would go to Cotixans™ Mexican Restaurant. They have amazing food, 24/7, and are adjacent to my home. Security would go to Lockheed Martin’s private flight-test facilities, that is all I can comment on that.
Collier, D., & Evans, J. (2013). OM4 (4th ed., Student ed.). Mason, Ohio: South-Western Cengage Learning.
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