Logistics management is an important functional area that is required to be carried out by businesses with a view to achieve higher level of success and effectiveness in their performance. Logistics management is concerned with the management of flow of materials within the organisation and ensuring that the products are delivered on timely basis to the final consumers. However, its management is highly crucial mainly because of the increasing level of growth and expansion as achieved by businesses in their activities. As a result, the management of their business processes have become highly difficult because of their increasing level of expansion into international markets which requires management of their business activities at much wider level. The customer base of the organisation increases significantly and there has also been rise in the level of the business processes such as warehousing, flow of materials from warehouses to stores or directly to customers etc. Because of such increasing level of business activities being carried out at global level, the management has become highly difficult and this has also created difficulties in the process of efficient operation management (Myerson, 2012).
This case study analysis is all about John Lewis Partnership whereby it has been indicated that the organisation has achieved significant level of expansion in its performance and this has created difficulties in the process of managing the organisations operations especially the logistics management process in catering to the needs and requirements of different stores of John Lewis. The analysis in this report is therefore focused towards different important aspects related to managing the operations at John Lewis Partnership so as to cater to efficient management of organisation’s operations.
Alternatives for Accommodating Changing Demands and Needs
An analysis of the given case on John Lewis indicates that the company has considered a newer system to perform the management of its delivery of products to different John Lewis stores. The analysis indicates that a newer warehousing system in the form of Semi-Automated National Distribution Centre (SANDC) is being considered to handle different items and meet out the requirements of different stores via such warehouse of the company. The analysis also indicates that there has been the consideration of adequate provision in meeting out the needs and requirements of individual customers by delivering the products at their home. This SANDC has been designed with a view to meet out the needs and demands of different John Lewis stores across the country. However, there have been changes in the demand being witnessed within the customers for the items that are being warehoused at SANDC. As for instance, there has been the demand from customers directly to meet out their requirements by sending the products directly to their home from SANDC (Hirata, 2008).
As a result of such changes in the demand pattern, there are fewer full bins that are required and there has been greater proportion of goods that need to be picked at the picking stations. This is mainly because of shift in the demands from final consumers directly as compared to orders from John Lewis stores. In order to accommodate this change, there is a need to perform direct level of consideration certain major strategies by the company. As for instance, there is a need to increase the number of bins that are being utilised presently in order to manage the picking of orders. This would allow for accommodating the order to large number of orders of diverse customers in a positive manner. Apart from this, the number of picking stations should also be increased so that there could be satisfaction of larger demands in future in a positive manner. In addition to this, there is also the need to consider alternative in the form of increasing the number of picker because a single picker accounts for picking up at the rate of 650 picks and puts. By increasing the number of picker, the increase in the demand from different customers could be efficiently addressed. These major alternatives are essential to be considered in ensuring that the management of customer orders is being performed in an efficient manner.
Home Shopping Area within SANDC
The case analysis of John Lewis above has indicated that the company is faced with significant level of rise in the demand from customers. There has been rise in the demands in a manner different from that of what has been expected by the organisation, and as a result, the management needs to be highly effective in incorporating any kinds of changes in the demand from customers. The SANDC is designed specifically in order to cater to the needs and requirements for product by the John Lewis stores, but there has been increase in the home shopping activities by consumers which requires direct delivery of products to consumers. In order to cater to the specific needs for home order requirement, it is important that there should be additional consideration that should be made with regard to meeting out the requirements from this specific area. It is essential that that a separate home shopping area that should be introduced so that it has separate bins and the entire management of the delivery process is being carried out in a highly efficient manner.
In terms of flexibility at SANDC is concerned, an analysis of the performance of the warehousing system across the company indicates that it has been operated at a large level and conveyor can travel upto 10 Km. this signifies that there has been extensively huge level at which the products are being managed at SANDC and as such, there is a scope for including the home shopping system that has been gearing up with higher demands in the present case of SANDC. The demand patterns as changed can be adjusted efficiently by the company depending on the level at which it is currently operating. There is a need for consideration of a separate section in meeting out the requirements from home shopping department of the company. The bins to be used including the space needed and also the conveyor should be extensively different in meeting out the needs of home shopping and the analysis of the case of SANDC indicates that there has been adequate level of flexibility available in performing the management of home shopping department (Fox, 2009).
In performing the changes in the operational system in meeting out the organisational needs for home shopping, there are changes that are required to be faced by SANDC in ensuring that operational changes are carried out efficiently. The implementation issues in this respect in making changes to the operational layout is mainly the selection of a new location within the premise of SANDC for this home shopping requirements, and secondly, there would also be issues in terms of higher level of costs faced in the infrastructure development of the company. This is mainly because there would be significant level of changes required especially in respect to existing infrastructure of the company. This can therefore be regarded as a major issue in the process of performing the implementation of changes and it is therefore regarded as a major implementation issue in the process of addressing additional demand requirements from customers. This operational change is however considered important mainly because the future is likely to witness a significant increase in the requirements of the company.
Need for Continuous Improvements
Continuous improvement is highly essential from the point of view of achieving highly efficient performance levels within organisation. Businesses should aim at devising strategies aimed at achieving enhanced level of improvements in their performance and in respect to the given case of John Lewis in managing the distribution system, there is a need for achieving continuous level of improvements with respect to its performance. This initiative in the form of SANDC is being undertaken at John Lewis with a view to achieve improvement over its performance levels in the form of efficient meeting out of the requirements of different John Lewis stores across the country (Douglas, 2010).
Although the analysis has indicated that there has been significant level of improvements being achieved at John Lewis in the form of including SANDC operation, yet there has been the scope of achieving further level of improvement in it. In terms of efficiency, there can be the application of skilled and efficient technical personnel that could manage the stocking and disbursement of products across SANDC. The application of technology is applied at SANDC in the form of basic technological equipments such as conveyor, bins uplifting machines etc. However, the attainment of higher level of efficiency can be possible by way of considering specific technologies in managing specific organisational information. As for instance, in tracking of inventory, there could be the application of technology in the form of RFID technological systems, as its application would enhance the operational efficiency performance of the organisation (Aartsengel and Kurtoglu, 2013).
The improvement in the service levels can be ensured by way of focusing especially towards the operational areas at SANDC. This is mainly in terms of utilising larger number of tote bins, increased human resources and planning for enhancing the number of entry and exit points for the stock. This would not only ensure the meet out of requirements of different customers, but there would be higher level of efficiency that could also become possible in respect to the performance of the entire organisation. This suggests that service levels can be enhanced by way of increasing the number of equipments and skilled people that are currently being utilised in performing the management of SANDC. It is also essential that there should be higher emphasis that should be placed towards achieving sustainability performance levels and this could be achieved at SANDC by making it sure that there is adequate application of environment friendly equipments that should be performed in managing organisation’s operations (Cushman, 1997).
The areas that may be worthy of examination are mainly the current functions that are carried out in order to perform the management of organisation’s operations. Apart from this, the additional consideration of newer operational area aimed at managing the home shopping requirements of customers is also quite crucial from the point of view of achieving higher level of success. Thus, there is a need for achieving continuous level of improvement in this respect in ensuring that better meet out of requirements across different John Lewis areas could be achieved.
Fundamental Reasons for Success
An analysis on the case study on John Lewis company indicates that there are certain important factors that become the primary factor behind the success of the company as against other companies. As for instance, the analysis indicated that John Lewis has a different nature of ownership which has been a crucial factor that has contributed towards the attainment of higher growth levels. Because of share of each and every employee in the profitability performance of the company, there has been positive level of contribution being achieved from each and every member supporting the performance of the organisation. As a result, it accounts for positively contributing towards the growth of the organisation in a positive manner. Apart from this particular factor, there are certain other reasons that have primarily contributed towards achieving higher level of growth and success of the firm. As for instance, the significant level of presence of the company across the entire UK has also been a competitive factor which allows it in serving large customer groups. The company has also performed the management of its operations especially the distribution system as highly efficient which allowed it in meeting out the needs and requirements of each of its store in an efficient manner. This has therefore contributed in a positive manner towards the enhanced level of performance and ultimately the growth of the company (Larkin, 2008).
Maintaining Competitive Advantage
Competitive advantage is mainly the strength point of the organisation and it is concerned with the key determining factor leading the entire organisation to higher level of success. The maintenance of competitive advantage is quite important for businesses to succeed and in this respect, the analysis of the case of John Lewis indicates that the company has specific competitive advantage that allows it in remaining a successful company. As for instance, its analysis indicates that the major competitive advantage as available to John Lewis is mainly in terms of its stronger network that it has developed in the market of UK. The stronger presence along with its reputation in the industry has been a contributing factor towards competitive position of the firm in the industry. In addition to this, the focus of John Lewis towards the sustainability factor has also contributed positively towards achieving improved level of performance by the company. These are the important factors that have become the primary competitive factor that has resulted into the attainment of significant level of competitive advantage by the firm in its operations (Nilsson and Rapp, 2005).
Suitability of the Company’s Formula of Success
The given analysis of the case of John Lewis indicates about the performance of the company and has also indicated about the formula of success of the firm. The formula as considered by John Lewis is mainly the performance of significant level of growth of its firm initially and this is supported by high class operational management systems that allows for managing the entire operations in a positive manner. This particular approach has been highly suitable especially in respect to other firms in the retail industry as they could also initially consider the application of such growth strategy of performing the business expansion. This should be followed by the application of specific technologies that are aimed at achieving higher level of excellence over the performance of entire organisation in a positive manner. The important factor in this strategy of achieving growth and success is that it requires considerable level of efforts from all the employees, and management working within the organisation. The efforts from all of them is essential as evident in the given case of John Lewis and such synergistic efforts are crucial from the point of view of meeting out the objective of achieving higher growth and success levels (Taylor, 2011).
Supply Chain Challenges during Demand Fluctuations
Supply chain management is crucial in respect to large organisation mainly because they need to perform the delivery of products and services across different departments and business units that are functional. An analysis of the given case of John Lewis in particular indicates that the company has various business units that spans across UK and it is essential that they should be provided with finished products on timely basis. However, in the instances of fluctuations in the demand of the company, it is highly difficult to efficiently meet out their demands because being a retailer, it is difficult to maintain the preservation of stock for longer time period. This would therefore create problems to the supply chain partners in meeting out such fluctuating demand. The management of stock at SANDC would be difficult under demand fluctuations and ultimately, there would be challenges in the form of timely meet out of requirements of various business units of the firm. The investment in the supply chain would support overall customer services and resource utilisation objectives in the sense that it enables the timely delivery of products to the retailers and ultimately, final consumers would get them on timely basis (Gattorna, 2003).
Prerequisites for the Operations of Lean Systems
In respect to performing the management of operations of lean systems, there are certain major prerequisites that are crucial. Lean system is concerned with the elimination of waste by way of focusing towards achieving efficiency with respect to all the processes. As a result, there are certain major prerequisites that must be fulfilled in ensuring that lean systems are properly accounted in performing the management of organisation’s operation. This mainly includes the attainment of efficiency in respect to the employees by utilising skilled employees in the process, and there should be measures and policies that should be devised aimed at achieving operational effectiveness so that the minimisation of wastes in the process can be ensured.
A critical analysis as carried out above has indicated about the case of John Lewis which suggests that the company has achieved significant level of growth and it has considered the adaptation of a new system known as SANDC with a view to perform the management of operations of the organisation in a positive way. The company has considered the application of this system with a view to meet out the requirement for finished products of different business units of the organisation that spans worldwide. The analysis indicated about the alternatives that are essential to consider from changing demand patterns at the company, and the analysis also indicated that there should be a separate dedicated area for home shopping. It is also identified crucial that there should be continuous improvements that should be achieved in respect to organisation’s operations.
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