The impact of scientific management principles on food hub

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Jose, Dean
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Richard Stone
Committee Member
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Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering

Food hubs has seen substantial growth in past few decades but the overall operational efficiency and effectiveness is a concern for the managers of these facilities. The physical layout and infrastructure of the facility along with training to the operators is one of the critical part of improvements that will improve the efficiency of these facilities. Regional food hubs even though different from large-scale food hubs, effectively need both operational efficiency and effectiveness. Currently, the food hub is reliant on volunteer labor without any specific training materials to help them acclimatize to their respective job. The lack of training provided to the volunteers causes volunteer frustration and operational errors. The ad-hoc labeling system used in the food hubs to hold the material there is another area for concern.

This thesis proposed a scientific management approach to management of operations as compared to the ad-hoc methods followed currently. This thesis analyzed the current workflow method, infrastructure layout of the facilities and the operating procedure followed by the workers and compared the efficiency with the addition of scientific management techniques like training and standard operating procedure for workers along with improved layout of the facility.

In order to check for the current efficiency, Task Analysis and Time study techniques were used. A scaled down simulation of the regional food hub was set up in the lab and a control group performs the task as it is performed in the food hub currently. The experimental groups performed the task in the modified method using scientific management principles like training, standard work procedure and process improvement. The four-group experiment helped the experimenter compare the efficiency of the current and the proposed method and find out which factor is making more of an impact on the identified KPI’s like time to stack, time to pack, number of errors while stacking, number of errors while packing and team interaction.

The experiment designed was a 2*2 factorial design, consisting of 60 participants divided into four treatment groups. The treatment groups had all combinations of the two independent variables ‘Training’ and ‘Process Improvement’. Each treatment group had five teams with three members each. The above-mentioned KPI’s were studied. The results shows that for time to stack and pack, both training and process improvement significantly reduce time. For Number of error while stacking, both training and process improvement are significant whereas for time to pack, only process improvement significantly reduce the number of errors. Both Training and Process Improvement is significant in improving the Team Interaction score.

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Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2017