Friday, March 11, 2005

What would you say you do here?

Note: this rant is pretty lengthy. Unless you are really, really bored, I suggest skipping to the yellow sections.

Since the quarter has come to a close (except for those pesky finals...), i find myself now able to rant about my business class. This past quarter I've been taking Business Management 630 because its required for my degree. The class wasn't too bad--it was pretty easy and sometimes informative. It was the kind of class that a friend could summarize for you in about 10 minutes, saving you 10 weeks of lectures and homeworks.

The real problem for me arose with the group work. I'm an engineering major so this is nothing new to me. I'm in 4 different group projects this quarter and 2 of them are pretty huge. As it turns out, business groups are a little different...

Our group came to be after several posts to the class message board. We agreed to meet to discuss the upcoming assignments. We were required to complete 2 group projects. The first was due 2/1. We then could choose one additional case out of three to be due 2/17, 3/3, or 3/8.

The first case went pretty well, which is easy to say because by 'pretty well," I mean pretty awful. We met three times before we could agree on the topic. Each time someone would dissent yet refuse to offer a better idea. Finally, two of us made a decision and challenged the others to come up with something better. That reminds me: a wonderful precedent was set with the first few meetings. No one, besides me, would every show up on time. Never. Additionally, only once during the rest of the quarter did everyone actually show up. The average attendance at a group meeting was 2 of 5. I never missed one. I'm not sure if it helps or hurts but I guess we only had 5 group meetings. To add pain to...pain, we only needed two meetings.

So anyway, the first case is due 2/1. Naturally, we meet the week before and delegate tasks and deadlines. I volunteer to do the hard shit and compile the document if everyone sends me a piece. Little to my surprise, I receive the bits and pieces of the report the night before it's due. Here's where the fun part comes. My part for this report was to generate a bunch of 'value stream maps' which are basically process control charts. They're a bitch. The other 4 members each had to write approximately 2 paragraphs answering questions. Two of these members are esl (english as a second language) and two are not. Here are their submissions. Can you guess who is who?
Transportation in this company such as the moving of person from one workstation to other workstation should be eliminated because it spends a lot of time and it doesn't improve the product and customer satisfaction. For example, the time to takes the completed material from mixer to proffer which takes about 10 feets should be eliminated so it won't takes so much time. The way to eliminate the transportation is by using value stream mapping to reconfigure the production line to make it more efficient from each process to the other process.
Next, the dough is sent on a streamer line thirty feet across the room to the deep fry area. Here all the donuts receive their golden brown color from the fryer which fries donuts at a rate of ten per every minute. Immediately after, the donuts are taken three feet to the cooling area where a batch of two hundred sits for approximately five minutes. From this point the donuts are decorated by hand at an approximate rate of ten minutes for two hundred donuts. After total completion of the donut making process, the donuts are then taken to the packing area and delivered to customers. Since The donut company is a large quantity supplier its main customers are businesses that sell to consumers. Some of the more affluent companies that it sells to includes Kroger, Heinnens, and Tops.
The Donut Shoppe needs lot of improvement in the processing section, such as:
  • Buying the ingredient in the smaller size. For instance, the distributors send the product daily instead of weekly, so the donut factory have a lot of space to do their production process.
  • The batch sizes need to be smaller, because it helps the factory to save lots of processing time.
  • Proximity in the factory. The factory need to placed the mixer close to the fryer
  • Giant fryer so it helps the factory to friend lots of donuts in one time and it can minimize the time.
  • Make the based of the donut dough and mixed with the other flavor follow the order, so it can save lots time and energy
  • Make premix packet so it can save lots of time because the do not need to measured the ingredient by scale anymore before they put in the mixer.
  • Cross trained person so they not only can do one thing in the factory but they can be flexible to help other.
The steps that we recommend The Donut Shop to implement in order to make these improvements on the process of the preparation of it's donuts is first reorganize it shipment orders from its supplier to start to receive it's ingredients in smaller quantity and on a daily shipment. Then, they should restructure the process room to organize the process line in a simpler form which minimize the traveling time of the work in process. Finally, they develop a rotation program for its employers in order them to improve the process line with a smaller work force. By implementing these steps to improve the process line of The Donut Shop the process time and the quality of the product offer to consumers.

OK, so you can probably guess--it's not too hard. It is, however, hard enough to be disturbing. This is a 600 level management class for crying out loud. My 12 year old brother could make fun of these people. How is it that my degree is going to be of equal worth to the 4 people that wrote that crap? I wish I could say it was a fluke, but the 2nd project didn't turn out any better.

Ah, the second project. The team elected to do the 3rd case, due 3/3. Again, the week before we delegate roles and set deadlines. Since only one person showed up (late) to the meeting, this was done mostly through email. Each person confirmed his/her task. I received no information until the evening before it was due. What did i receive you ask? Thanks for asking, let me show you:
Husni and I feel that we should not do the McLoed case and do the Broadway Case instead. The reason for this is because we do not have sufficent amount of time to finish this project.If anyone have any objectives to the notion please let us know so we can figure out a way to come to a conclusion. Ifnot we should meet tomoorw after class for about 15 mins to come up with a meeting time that we all can meet this weekend.
Pardon me but, yes, I have an objective. My objective is to kick your ass. Ohhhh, I meant I have an objection. I already did my part of the assignment. Bailing out the NIGHT BEFORE IT IS DUE is ludicrous. WTF?! Seriously, I haven't pulled something like this since 2nd grade. Even then, it wasn't a group project. The gloves came off.

I replied with my objection, which was met with silence. So we setup another meeting to work on the last project due 3/8. Here's the response I got:
From: Group Idiot 3
I will be there for sure
----- Original Message -----
From: michael
Date: Wednesday, March 2, 2005 11:38 pm
Subject: Re: group case two, part one

If we meet Sunday, at 3pm, is anyone besides Husni and me planning on showing up? Or if we meet after class tomorrow? We can have lots of meetings, but we had two for this project and each time, 2 or 3 people didn't show. This project is only 10 points so I'd like to waste as a little time on this as possible.
And for sure you weren't.

It was about this time that I met with my professor to discuss the discord within the group. He basically told me that I should have chosen a better group. Thanks buddy, real helpful.

So I hack together the last project and the guy still doesn't send his piece until 9pm the night before it's due! AHHHHHHRRRRRGGGG it's so frustrating. I'm not sure I am communicating effectively here. I can't muster the strength to show you the crap they wrote the second time around--it made me feel dumber.

I'd say the real clincher here is that each assignment was worth only 10 points...and interestingly enough: for the first assignment, I rewrote everything so that it was coherent. we got an 8.5/10. I didn't do this for the second assignment (i left the whole thing a bloody mess) and we got the same damn 8.5/10. Oh well.