With Slack’s model, this enables the different businesses to make direct comparisons with each other and decide whether or not they are in the position they want to be in. This will then allow them to make the decisions needed to change if they so wish to. There are five main performance objectives according to Slack (2001). These are Speed, Flexibility, Reliability, Quality and Cost. For a supermarket I think that the most important performance objective for them would be the reliability objective.
Although they are required to get products on the shelves quickly and only supply the best quality food, I think that the customer is more likely to come back and offer their loyalty to a company if they have all of the products available that they want to buy at all times. Reliability relies on processes being performed as they should be without any disruption along the way. If the company can provide for the consumer, then they are guaranteeing repeat business for themselves.
For the bank, I believe that speed is the most important objective as people want their money as soon as possible so, the quicker a bank can clear a cheque or transfer money, the more people might decide to bank with them. Some banks take a minimum of ten days to clear a cheque whereas others can credit your account instantly. As the money you are placing in the bank’s trust belongs solely to you then it should be up to you when you take it out and how much you take out at any one time also.
The notion of keeping the speed of the processes up between transactions will keep customers using the bank’s services and possibly recommending the services to others. It also set you apart from other banks so you can advertise this fact. If I were in charge of the supermarket, I would monitor our performance on customer satisfaction. From feedback, I could establish what we were doing well, and what needed improving, if anything. The customer is quick to complain but often reluctant to say what you are doing well.
They are the people who deal with the processes first-hand and so they are the people who know which areas need attention. They would be able to tell us if we needed more tills open during busy times (therefore needing to hire more staff or train some existing staff), if we keep selling out of a popular product then they will also inform us of this and so we can adjust our ordering sheets accordingly. I would also expect the staff to help inform us of any problems with processes by communicating well with their supervisors and managers.
Within the bank, I would monitor performance on how many new bank accounts were being opened a week compared to competitors. If the competing company were opening several more bank accounts a week than we were then they obviously have something that we don’t. It would be necessary as well in a bank to be aware of all of the new technologies becoming available on the market so that the customer service assistants can offer their expertise to the customer.
It would be necessary to often be one step ahead of the competitor so knowledge could prove to be a first-mover advantage in most cases. Both supermarkets and banks are similar in the fact that they are customer focused operations which provide services with an aim of making a profit. They do, however, differ in terms of their characteristics. Using Slack’s ‘Four Vs’ analysis of processes, we can compare the bank and supermarket process in terms of Volume, Variety, Variation in demand and Visibility.