Acme Mexico City Employee
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In effort to increase profits, Acme Home Improvement expanded operations into the international market. Acme Mexico City (AMC) opened a new store in Mexico City, Mexico and will be providing customers with all their home improvement needs. Acme Home Improvements operations analysts working with the AMC advance planners have proposed a standard day assignment schedule. The proposed schedule is complaint with Mexican law and corporate policy in scheduling part-time employees 50% of a day’s total scheduled hours. The proposal is also complaint with the advance planner’s imposition not to schedule 30 employees on the floor at any time in order to control costs and does not schedule part-time employees to start shifts after 7pm. The proposal also provides an hour lunch break to all full-time employees scheduled and takes into account qualitative market factors. Qualitative market factors include scheduling customer service employees based on market trends, customer demographics, and store shifts. To improve the proposal’s cost effectiveness, I recommend using AMC advance planners estimated schedule during the periods between 7am and 11am because the proposal has scheduled additional staffing that is not need. Once this change is made, the proposal will provide even lowered staffing costs and scheduling flexibility within operating hours that need additional coverage.
To develop this customer service employee scheduling proposal, the Acme Home Improvements operations analysts and AMC advance planners used linear programming. The linear programming technique made allocating hours to full-time and part-time employees fair and accurate within limitations. And linear programming is also a great tool to use during non-typical days that requires store staffing to reflect changes in the environment. Introduction
Acme Home Improvements began international operations by opening the Acme Mexico City store in Mexico City, Mexico. Acme Mexico City (AMC) advance planners in North Carolina have provided the estimated minimum number of customer service employees needed on the floor, along with the maximum number of customer service employees that can be scheduled. Acme Mexico City will be opened from 7am to 11pm daily and will have full-time and part-time customer service employees scheduled. In compliance with Mexican law and corporate policy, the hours of part-time customer service employees is restricted to 50% of a day’s total scheduled hours. Given these facets, Acme Home Improvements operations analysts working with the AMC advance planners have proposed a standard day assignment schedule developed using integer linear programming.
Acme Mexico City has to staff the store’s floor with an accurate number of customer service employees to provide customers with the best service possible and also offer a fiscally low-cost daily schedule. The daily assignment schedule proposed by the Acme Home Improvements operations analysts is compliant with the restrictions set by Mexican law and corporate policy. The proposed schedule is complaint with scheduling part-time employees 50% of a day’s total scheduled hours, does not exceed 30 employees on the floor at any time, does not schedule part-time employees to start shifts after 7pm, and provides an hour lunch break to all full-time employees scheduled. Based on compliance with Mexican law, corporate policy and planner’s restrictions, the schedule proposal of the operations analysts is sufficient. The operations analysts’ proposal offers a low-cost daily schedule and takes into consideration qualitative store operational facets.
In creating a low-cost and operationally effective customer service employee daily assignment schedule, the qualitative factors of the home improvement retail industry have been taken into consideration. We must take into consideration that in the operating hours of an Acme Home Improvements store there are different shifts which correspondent with business trends. Under normal operating circumstances, the United States Acme Home Improvements stores would have an opening shift (task focused), service shift (customer oriented), and a closing shift (store recovery). These different shifts depict the number of customer service employees and the time frames they are scheduled. The home improvement retail industry has two types of customers; the professional/contractor and the “do-it-yourself” individual. These customers differentiating shopping trends and support needs are taken into consideration when scheduling employees for the floor. In evaluating the proposed schedule, business trend, customer demographic and operating shifts were taken into consideration when allocating customer service employees during operating hours. Schedule Shifts
The majority of professional/contractor customers shop during early hours of the morning which is known as the opening shift (7am-10am). Professional/contract customers are experienced and have knowledge of the merchandise that they need and where it’s located in the store given their visit frequency. Given these facets, the number of customer service employees on the floor is much higher than is needed. The proposed employee numbers are higher than needed and I recommend the AMC advance planners schedule estimates for the times between 7am and 11am be used. Using AMC advance planners estimated schedule provides lower staffing costs and gives you the ability to utilize the employees at a different time during store operations if necessary. It’s also important to have consistent full-time customer service employees scheduled during these times because of the relationship (bond) developed with the professional customers. Before entering the service shift (3pm-7pm), the store will experience the “down-time” period (11pm-2pm) because the professional/contract customer has finished their shopping and the “do-it-yourself” customer is still at work/pre-occupied. During the “down-time” period, full-time employees take their lunch breaks and the part-time employees are preparing the store for the “do-it-yourself” customer.
Between the hours of 3pm-7pm (service shift), it’s recommended that the number of customer service employees scheduled minimally needed or higher on the floor. The service shift is when the majority of “do-it-yourself” customers shop and they need the most assistance to locate merchandise and request advice on home improvement projects. In the proposal, the number of customer service employees scheduled between 3pm and 7pm is sufficient and effective to handle the increased customer needs and traffic impact on the sales floor (merchandise presentation and availability). At the end of the service shift, customer volume will significantly decrease and the closing shift (7pm-11pm) will began organizing and re-merchandising the store. The closing shift is commonly known as the “recovery time” because customer service employees will focus on merchandise presentation, filling shelves, re-merchandising and departmental cleaning. The closing shift has fewer customers services employees scheduled and utilizing the large number of employees from the service shift is essential in recovery. The most important time within the closing shift is between 7pm and 8pm because employees are used to significantly impact the recovery processes and insures that the closing team shift successfully recovers the store for the next day.
I recommend the assignment schedule proposed by the Acme Home Improvements operations analysts and by adjusting the schedule based on my recommendation the schedule will be even more cost effective. The proposal is also compliant with the restrictions set by Mexican law and corporate policy. The schedule proposed is unbiased and treats full-time and part-time employees fairly in allocating work hours. Part-time employees are scheduled 50% of a day’s total scheduled hours as required by Mexican law and corporate policy. Part-time employees earn $500 per day and full-time employees earn $1100 per day in salary and benefits. The pay rate for part-time employees is quite fair in comparison to full-time employees’ rate of $550 for 4 hours and I assume that the $50 is the benefits (leave, insurance, etc.) earned. Having full-time employees earning benefits that part-time employees can not earn is very fair and assumed common practice in the home improvement retail industry.
Acme Home Improvements operations analysts and AMC advance planners used linear programming to develop the proposed assignment schedule. Linear programming is a mathematical technique used to calculate the best away to attain a desired outcome and there are several commercial software that make the technique easier to use. In this case, linear programming allows us to be proactive in developing schedules that are more cost effective and can also be used to create schedules for non-typical days. A non-typical day could be a day when weather factors increase or decrease business activity and linear programming could be used to adjust staffing needs based on the desired outcome. Also, a non-typical day could be a holiday where business activity increases dramatically and linear programming could be used to calculate the increased staffing desired. Linear programming is a tool that provides results in a proactive setting and can also be effective when reacting to sudden environmental changes.