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Importance of Process Strategy

Introduction

Process refers to the procedures undertaken to ensure a product or service meets the end user needs. It is mainly concerned with planning, developing, implementing, documenting, and reviewing the system procedure. This is meant to make sure that the product is availed at the right place and time, as well as in the intended manner. All procedures have an impact (direct or indirect) on the product or service. A new concept of continuous improvement aims to set benchmarks against which performance should be measured (Russel, 1995).

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Pretzels are snack foods with unique shapes and a hard, shiny outer surface. The production of pretzels is machine-intensive. Pretzels are considered healthy mainly because they are fat free. This has led to the growth in their market base thus realizing a whopping $560 million a year within the United States market alone. Pretzels are unique in their shape, texture, flavor, and even the moisture level. The hard pretzels with low moisture levels are appealing to the consumer as they have a longer a shell life compared to the soft pretzels. Pretzels are made by using pretzel dough. The main ingredients include flour, yeast, water, sugar, and shortening. All these ingredients have a significant impact on the product (Heizer & Rende, 2011).

Bill of Materials

The bill of materials, also known as BOM, is a list of raw materials or inputs components, as well as the quantities required in manufacturing the product. In the case of pretzels, their bill of materials would be as follows: flour might be the most important ingredient containing starch and protein. Gluten is a product of adding water to flour, which can be stretched. Therefore, it facilitates pretzels to be made in unique shapes. The flour used in pretzels preparation is called soft wheat flour. This flour has about ten per cent protein content. The flour accounts for between 60 and 75 per cent in the dough, and this is the critical component in pretzel’s recipe. Yeast and leavening agents are also other materials. Yeast is added to the dough to trigger the production of carbon dioxide during fermentation. Leavening agents also assist in the metabolism during fermentation. These agents are broken down to carbon dioxide when exposed to water. Shortening is a form of solid vegetable fat and oil. It is associated with volume increase and allows the dough to be soft for a while. In addition, shortening gives the pretzels the crumbly texture. Fat facilitates the dough to remain palatable for long. Fat accounts for about 3 per cent of the dough recipe. Other important ingredients include water making up 30 – 35% of the dough recipe. Salt, sugar, and additives are responsible for the pretzel’s taste (Hoseney, 1994).

Process Strategy

Process strategy is a plan that aims to ensure that cost, quality, and production flexibility are enhanced. Process strategy enhances the product to meet customer requirements and attain the forecasted cost and managerial goals. Four main process strategies can be used. They include process focus, repetitive focus, product focus, and mass customization. Process strategy mainly aims at low volume of output, yet high variety (Booth, 1990). Product focus is appropriate for the pretzel industry and can be depicted in the flow chart as shown below:

Product focus is appropriate for the pretzel industry

Product focus

Essentially, this implies that the product organizes facilities. The strategy entails high volume of output and low variety. The production-runs involved are long to enhance efficiency. The product focus is machine-intensive and thus suitable for pretzel production. This strategy also enhances a scenario of few but similar inputs with the output varying in shape, size, or packaging. Product focus is characterized by special purpose equipment, and in essence, the pretzel production has ever since been done by use of automated machinery. Pretzels production is faced with numerous standardization measures. This is also a key characteristic of the product strategy. In this case, there are few new or unique orders, and most instructions are the same. In the product focus strategy, inventory levels are low. The product focus also enhances simple scheduling and establishing output rate to meet the forecast. Thus, it is appropriate for the pretzel business (Heizer & Rende, 2011).

However, in the product focus, fixed costs are quite high. A company adopting the product focus should ensure that it effectively attains over-absorption of fixed costs. This will ensure that there is maximum utilization of the plant and a guarantee of high returns. In addition, an improvement in the pretzel-making machine should focus on design. This will facilitate the production of pretzels (Booth, 1990).

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Once the dough is an oven, it takes approximately 14 minutes to prepare 12 pretzels. The total time in producing the 12 pretzels is 36 minutes. Thus, it takes about (36/12) 3 minutes to produce a pretzel. Assuming that 6 hours are available at night, which is (60*6) 360 minutes; then the total available production at night will be (360/3) 120 pretzels. It takes 30 minutes to complete an order of six pretzels. Hence, this translates to (300/30*6) 60 orders per day. For the break even point: (TC=TR) TR=$3*120/6=$60 while TC=$10. Hence, the BEP will be (60/10) six.

Conclusion

Process strategy is a plan that aims to ensure that cost, quality, and production flexibility are enhanced. In the production of pretzels, process strategy is implemented using the product focus.

References

Booth, G. (1990). Snack Food. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Heizer, J. & Rende, B. (2011). Operations Management Flexible Version with Lecture Guide & Activities Manual Package. New York: Prentice Hall.

Hoseney, C. (1994). Principles of Cereal Science and Technology. St. Paul: American Association of Cereal Chemists.

Russel, M. (1995). Snackmakers Feel the CRUNCH. Food Engineering, pp. 86-93

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