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Harvard Case Studies Operations Management

2395 words - 10 pages

McDonalds case Part BI. IntroductionMcDonalds is a very famous fast-food restaurant with more than 31,000 worldwide branches. Its main dishes are hamburger and fries. McDonalds has limited choice of food but in turn it serves its patrons fast. However, the restaurant is about 41 years olds now and consequently it becomes penetrated and mature, it has more competitions and tough challenges.In Operation management term, McDonalds has highly qualified operating system, its kitchen and its management, to serve high volume customers. As years goes by, the demands change. People become more mobile and have dynamically changed their schedules to eat from at dawn to midnight and also become more selective. They don't want static menus anymore. They want broader choice of sandwiches or burgers at their lunch or dinner time, and, the most crucial thing, they still expect fast service as before or even faster. To handle this challenge, McDonalds has upgraded its kitchen system into Just-In-Time kitchen System named Made-For-You. The Goals of this new system are:Improved food quality, including health concern and food safety requirementsMore flexible and compatible with new menusBuilt better and faster customer serviceUsed human resources ,e.g. crews/employees, more effective and productiveII. Made-For-You System versus Old Process SystemII.a. Technology and Process DifferencesThe ProcessIn the old way, McDonald's was used to applying Make-to-Stock for preparing its food to customers (Look at Exhibit 1)In this process, finished products were kept in the metal warming bin (storage) until a customer order the product(s). How many products are going to be kept is its manager's prediction/forecast. In early years, demands were not so complicated, just around Big Mac and/or fried fries.Since early 2000, McDonald's uses Make-to-Order system to meet with changing demands which need more variety, yet still want fast speed of service (Look at Exhibit 2)In this new process, some materials are precooked and stored at WIP, for example meats are stored at "Universal Holding Cabinet". As customer places order, crew(s) assembles the order and when it's finished deliver to the customer. The new process enables McDonald's to serve its customers with fresher and more variety menus.The TechnologyTo execute its new process, named Made-For-You, McDonald's has replaced its kitchen equipments with newer and improved high performance machines and tools as described:Technology Comparison

Old technology

Made-For-You Technology


Cycle Time


Cycle Time


Regular grill

100 seconds

Clam Shell Grill

32 Seconds


Side Loading

20-30 seconds


11 Seconds


Heat Lamp

Universal Holding Cabinet

Information Flow

Manual, with microphone and bell

Monitor screen showing orders

The DifferencesIn summary, the main differences from several aspects can be explored in the following table.


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