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Operations Management Assignments

Introduction

The objective of this report is to identify a key operations management issue in not for profit organisation in Melbourne Victoria by the name ‘Eastern Volunteers’. The report identifies the current issues which the not for profit organisation is facing and provides recommendations to bring upon a change in the same by the virtue of recommendations that are included in the report.

The report begins with a brief background information of the not for profit organisation and then moves on to discuss the internal environment of the not for profit organisation. Further, the concepts of the operations management has been applied to gain a deeper understanding of the specific issues which the not for profit organisation is facing in the contemporary times. The last parts of the report provide a set of recommendations which can be used by the organisation to overcome the identified shortcoming. The report ends with a brief conclusion that ties the contents of the report together (Berry 1992).

Background Information of the Company

Eastern Volunteers was originally incorporate in the year 1976 under the name Volunteers unlimited. There primary objective is to provide transportation services to the old aged, needy and disabled people especially in those areas where public transport is relatively weaker. These parts include the outer suburbs of Melbourne and other areas.

Specific Operational Issue

The main operations issue that the not for profit organisation “Eastern Volunteers” is facing relates to creation of a schedule that allows them to ferry more service users per trip. This is more significant because the organisation is limited by funds and also the number of volunteers, drivers and vehicles are fixed and hence a judicious use of the resources is desirable. Although, the organisation deals in providing a number of other activities as well, this report only discusses the transport service and the related issues for the purpose of simplicity (Whitford 1998).

Flow Chart of the Operations of the Organisation

 
     Situation Analysis of the Operations in the organisation.The main issue that concerns the organisation relates to the fact that they are limited by the number of vehicles, the number of drivers and also the number of volunteers that make up the staff. As an example, if a service transport request is made from Burwood to Hawthorn on 7th Dec 2013 at 11:30 am and another request is made from Box Hill to West Richmond at 1:00pm, then the management can potentially plan a common vehicle to address both the needs at the same trip. It might involve requesting one of the clients to adjust their timing slightly, but can offer and result in savings for Eastern Volunteers as a whole. Another added advantage of this implementation is the fact that service users build up their own network by meeting different people which one may assume that they would appreciate. Also, there is a greater possibility of increasing the word of mouth publicity for Eastern Volunteers.

Opportunities to change the current operations in the organisation

The opportunity for eastern volunteers lies in ensuring that there is a better mechanism of fulfilling the service request. One of the possible measures is to use dedicated software which would automatically detect the best possible route and timings given the service request of a particular day. On the contrary, an organisation like Eastern Volunteers will have to carefully work out the cost structure to use dedicated software like that. The current situation demands a manual schedule which provides them almost the same benefit which the expensive dedicated software would provide (Grönroos 2001).

Resources to be utilised for improving the current operations

Eastern Volunteers need a dedicated volunteer who would be carefully planning the service requests for transportation for the users on a daily basis. As stated above, the organisation would ultimately like to move to use a state of the art technological tool to serve this purpose. However, given the financial constraints, the company would not be able to afford such a tool, but they would certainly like to make use of that in the future.

Technology and Human Resource Issues

The section above denotes the need of the human resource and the technology. Both the types of resources are desirable for the not for profit organisation. However, the plan of action would to start with the manual system first to overcome the identified shortcoming and then move on to the technology phase at a later stage (Varey 1995).

Application of the Operations Management Issue

The above identified issue is applied to the five main performance objectives of operations management:

Performance objective of operations management

Speed:

The resolution to the above identified issue would increase the level of efficiency of Eastern Volunteer services and will also reduce the time per request. Hence, performance is likely to be improved by a proper resolution is achieved.

Flexibility:

The issue discussed above involves a great degree of flexibility as the plans of the service users can never be anticipated or planned. The management would always have to be pro active to be able to manage adequately.

Dependability:

The trust of the service users is directly contingent upon the quality of the service they receive. Hence, the service users are depending upon Eastern Volunteers in order to avail their respective services.

Quality:

It has to be ensured that in order to save on two trips, the quality of the service experience is not affected. The volunteer drivers must not show assigns of panic that they are in a hurry to take the other service user as well from another location. Thus, everything should be planned in a comprehensive manner and in the case of a service user not agreeing to share the vehicle; it should not be forced upon him or her.

Costs:

The primary objective of providing a resolution to this issue is the fact that it will result in saving extra costs involved for the organisation. Hence, it is directly related to improving the performance of the organisation (Eastern Volunteers 2013)

 

Changes to performance and outcome

The changes would be to make aware the service that they are encouraged to book a service request at least two to three days in advance so that the management and operations team are in a much better position to plan the trip and the visit properly. Also, the change would include ensuring that no close service requests are left unattended by the management and the operations team. Also, as ‘Eastern Volunteers’ grow, there would be a required change to increase the number of volunteers, volunteer drivers and the number of vehicles as that would be the need of the hour (McQuire 1999).

Recommended improvements

The number of service requests made in the last six months would be analysed to judge the number of service requests in the coming days. Although, the accurate number of service requests cannot be known, the analysis of the last six months can provide a fair idea. Also, a dedicated professional is desired by ‘Eastern Volunteers’ who would essentially look after managing the service requests of the upcoming latest requests of the new service users.

Cost Structure

The current costs involved for ‘Eastern Volunteers’ pertaining only to the transport services accumulates to monthly expenditure of 2000 AUD. This structure does not have any provision for adjusting for two service request at the same time as is proposed in the current report. Although, it would difficult to estimate by how much the same can be reduced. The organisation would like to target spending 1400 AUD monthly. That would result in savings of 7200 AUD annually which the organisation can use in other marketing endeavours and promotion of the organisation (Eastern Volunteers 2013).

Recommendations

A number of changes are recommended in this report which can be utilised by the management and operations team both to improve the service quality offering of the organisation and also to address the specific issue at hand which is highlighted in the report.

Ø  Covering two service requests at the cost of one, especially those request which lie in close proximities.

Ø  Hiring or using the service of a dedicated professional who would only be responsible for managing the service requests by using a dedicated city map on a daily basis (Greene 1994).

Ø  Using the manual system initially and then using a modernised technological method to address the issue at hand.

Conclusion

This report highlights the importance of effectively addressing and dealing with a operations management issue confronting an organisation. The concepts that has been applied are specifically related to the not for profit organisation ‘Eastern Volunteers’. It has been learnt by the virtue of this report that an organisation needs to be highly proactive while anticipating the concerns which the company might face. There is also a need to assess carefully the identified shortcoming so that the efficiency of the organisation can be improved in an overall manner.

References

Berry, LL & Parasuraman, A 1992, ‘Services marketing starts from within’, Marketing Management, Winter, pp. 25–34.

Eastern Volunteers 2013 , ‘Welcome to Eastern Volunteers’, About Us, Eastern volunteers retrieved from http://www.easternvolunteers.org.au/about/ Accessed 10th Dec 2013.

Greene, WE, Walls, GD & Schrest, LJ 1994, ‘Internal marketing: The key to external marketing success’, Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 5–13.

Grönroos, C 2001, ‘Managing internal marketing: A prerequisite for successfully managing customer relationships’, in Service Management and Marketing: A Customer Relationship Management Approach, 2nd edn, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, pp. 330–55.

McQuire, L 1999, Australian services marketing and management, Macmillan Education Australia, Melbourne.

Varey, RJ 1995, ‘Internal marketing: A review and some interdisciplinary research challenges’, International Journal of Service Industry Management, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 40–63.

Whitford, B 1998, Customer Service Excellence: How Organisations in Australia Are Exceeding Customer Expectations, Beaumont Publishing House, Subiaco, WA.

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