Logistics and Operations Management
Table of Contents
Introduction…………………………………………………………………. p 3
Customer Service………………. ………………………………………….P 4
Packaging…………………………………………………………………… p 5
Product Planning…………….…. ………………………………………….P 6
Facility Location…………………. …………………………………………..p 7
Storage and Materials Handling… ………………………………………….p 8
Conclusion…………………….…………………………………………….. P 9
The Case of Sony
Being that different organisations make use of different operational strategies or trade in different products, logistical operations used in each case may be varied (Inwent: 2015). However, some component activities are more recurrent than others. However, an evaluation of a case example will provide a better understanding of the components of logistic. It will also provide an understanding of the means by which each one of them can be optimised in order to improve the organisation’s overall performance. This report will make evaluate the case of Sony UK. The various component activities that are used by the company will be evaluated. From this evaluation, the performance objectives for each activity will be derived, and the efficiency of these objectives determined. Logistics are aimed at achieving the optimum potential for all the components of a business (Couriel: 2010: p. 4). This will in turn benefit the interests of the shareholders, suppliers and customers (Ballou 2010, 13).
As initially noted, the component activities applied by various organisations are varied. The case of Sony UK provides a unique approach that conforms to the varied types of products the company deals in. The component activities observed in the case of Sony UK include: (Naidu 2011, 6)
- Customer service
- Product planning
- Facility location
- Demand forecasting
- Storage and materials handling
Each of these activities represents a key aspect in relation to the company’s supply chain. Each one of these activities operates independently. However, the implications are intertwined to form an efficient system.
This refers to a portal by which the company and its customers can interact. Essentially, customer service is aimed at providing the customers with a chance to seek aid or issue complaints in relation to the company’s products and services (Tshohl 2011, 3). Notably, Sony Inc offers a lot of emphasis in relation to this activity. Being that the company deals with electronic devices, it should be able to provide a means by which the customers can gain help on usage of products or to report unsuitable aspects or malfunctions of the acquired product. Customer service involves the recognition of what the customers need and providing a means of helping the customers achieve this intended quality (University of Huston: 2011).
As a company, Sony Inc puts in a lot of effort in maintaining its customer services. Labour force set aside to help in achieving efficiency in this activity plays an important role in helping the organization arrive at an appropriate operational objective in terms of customer service. This efficiency is observable from the flexibility of the company’s customer service. Notably, the system developed to serve this purpose is able to offer customers with an aid in a wide range of issues. This flexibility is supplemented by the quality of the customer services offered. This quality is achieved through the employment of highly skilled support teams. These services are also very accessible as the various communication channels put in place ensure that the support teams are available around the clock. In essence, the operations surrounding the achievement of the goals set in relation to customer services are based on several important objectives. The first is in relation to the maintenance of quality in the form of professionalism and the use of skilled personnel. The second is in relation to the maintenance of proper customer relations. This is achieved by ensuring that the employees accorded this task maintain an acceptable code of conduct and level of respect towards the customers. The third is in relation to the delivery of timely assistance in order to preserve the patient’s time. This reduces the customer’s waiting period while ensuring that the timely services are of the required quality. In addition to these objectives, the company also ensures that the customers are able to access assistance on a variety of issues (Gilmore 2014, 12).
Essentially, this component activity captures value, variety, visibility and volume in relation to this component activity. Volume is captured by the substantial number of customer service employees, which increase the rate at which service can be offered. Visibility, on the other hand, is captured by the fact that the customer services can be reached easily.
Packaging is mainly important in relation to the protection it offers the product in question. However, the aspect of cost has to be considered. A careful balance has to be reached in terms of efficiency, cost and environmental effects of the packaging offered (Goodwin & Young 2011, 22). Sony has been noted to be one of the leading companies in terms of the maintenance of good packaging strategies (Turner 2007, 91). An instance of such success in packaging is observable in the packaging of Sony’s waterproof Walkman. This device is designed to be resistant to water, and is sold in the market in a water bottle. The customer can then reuse the water bottle as opposed to discarding it. In this case, a non-bio degradable packaging can be disposed of in an environment-friendly fashion. Apart from this instance, the company also focuses on ensuring that packaging for its products are biodegradable and at the same time protective for the equipment being sold.
The third Activity captures the need to ensure that a product is produced with the utmost efficiency. In addition to this, product planning also captures the need to budget for the production. Essentially, the cost of production reflects the cost of the final product. Product planning as a component activity allows the company to be able to effectively budget for the given product’s production (Kahn 2014, 21). This is in addition to the establishment of the outlook of the final product. Currently, the electronics industry is according a lot of emphasis on aesthetics as opposed to focusing on quality alone. Planning allows Sony Inc to develop products that are both good looking and are of the right quality. In addition to this, the company is able to plan for and develop products in the most appropriate value.
Planning for the product makes it possible to estimate the cost of production. This ensures that the production process is not subject to cost, but rather, cost only remains a variable in the production process. However, it is important that the production process be developed carefully. Hasty plans may be very inaccurate and may present problems for the company. However, product planning does increase the speed of production. Similarly, in such a case, the speed of production is predetermined and, therefore, speed becomes absolute in determining the quality of the final product (Buzacott et al 2013, 105). This increases the dependability of the production process and that of the final product.
This component activity makes use of quality, time management, resource management and planned production as its main objectives. Time management involves considering time as a factor of production. Essentially, planning ensures that the production process can be completed in accordance with specified deadlines. Quality management objectives, on the other hand, are based on the initial specification of expected production standards. Product planning can be used to specify the quality of the final product. Essentially, the production process is carried out in accordance with product specifications and within the most suitable parameters as established in the product planning process. The third objective, resource management, ensures that the production process is conducted within the specifications of the budget. Notably, product planning considers the available resources and the required resources. Production is then conducted in line with these establishments. Essentially, this can help to save the company a lot of resources by reducing the cost of production. At times, these reduced costs can be transferred to the customers. Planning also makes use of demand forecasting techniques. This means that the company can estimate the level of production with respect to the expected demand.
Sony is a multinational company. Sony UK is just a branch of the company that serves the UK market. As a company with a global market, Sony requires a very large facility in which it can be able to manufacture its wide range of products for its vast market. Therefore, the company needs to secure a location that has all the resources, including land, to help it sustain its production. It is for this reason that the company owns a number of factories across the globe (Sony 2011). While most companies in the technology industries have their factories based in China, Sony has its factories located in several countries. Only recently, the company has proposed to set up a factory in India. This variety of locations for its factories help to provide a variety of options for the company. This helps it reduce the risks involved in having only one key factory. This strategy also helps to increase the rate of production. In addition to this, in some cases, it helps to reduce the distance between the point of production and the customers. This is helpful in reducing the cost of supply. Facility location helps to cater for time utility. This is especially observable from the fact that the strategic location of warehouses, factory and transport facilities play an important role in the delivery of products to the market (Crandal Crandall & Chen 2014, 58). In as much as this may not improve the quality of the products, strategic location does improve accessibility. However, transport does play an important role in ensuring that the company is able to unify all its premises and to supply its customers (Sreevinas & Sriivinas 2013, 7). This is an important aspect in relation to logistics operations.
Storage and Materials handling
In as much as packaging helps to protect products from damage, any efforts to provide the best packaging will be pointless if the equipment used in handling them is not carefully selected. Electronic devices can prove to be fragile. Therefore, storage facilities used should be suited for the storage of delicate items. Similarly, the machinery used to handle these products should be specially developed to handle such levels of delicateness. Sony makes use of very effective equipment. This ensures that the integrity of the equipment being handled or stored is maintained.
In addition to this, the use of specialised equipment can prove to be important in time management. Specialized equipment is able to perform tasks involving the handling of goods faster and easily. This is good in helping the organization save on time, which can then be directed to other projects that will add benefit to the company. Proper storage facilities, on the other hand, can help to preserve the quality of products. Similarly, better storage facilities and equipment can increase the number of products being handled, therefore, providing room for other materials. This helps to boost the speed and efficiency of the entire production and supply process (Rios 2011, 61). Therefore, volume and value are sustained through such facilities. It is also notable that proper handling of products helps to reduce costs involved with the handling and storing goods or damage to goods (Coyle Langley & Gibson 2008, 31).
When selecting such equipment and storage facilities, it is mandatory to consider their dependability. This is in relation to their dependability in relation to their ability to perform the task for which they were acquired. Similarly, the aspect of cost comes into play. High cost of storage and handling of equipment will increase the company’s expenditure. However, if the gains from this equipment is more, then such expenditure would be considered worth the trouble. A more preferable approach would be the acquisition of multipurpose equipment. This makes it possible to acquire the maximum value the equipment secured.
Sony has been able to remain in the market for a long time. This has been attributed to the fact that the company makes use of small but effective decisions. For instance, the activities noted in logistic operations may appear to be minor. However, the implications of such small techniques may lead to a chain of events that will see a company prosper. Sony provides a perfect emulation of a company that makes use of logistic strategies to improve its performance. Such strategies improve the organization’s performance at the production and supply level (Farahani Rezapou & Kedar: 2011, 25). The noted component activities; customer service, packaging, product planning, facility location, demand forecasting, and Storage and materials handling represent some of the component activities Sony makes use of in order to achieve maximum value from its production and supply process. Notably, each of these activities is related such that the success of the logistics operations is on the proper coordination each activity, while ripping the benefits simultaneously (Government of Canada, 2015). Essentially, logistics help to bring together the dimensions of time, space and place in accordance with specified plans, coordination techniques and organization (Gleissner and Femerling, 2013, 3).
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