Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Added Value Design: SCM within the Hotel Service Industry
Increasing Operational Effectiveness Through Added-value Design by Brian West In his article, Brian West captures the essence of focusing on customer demand and satisfaction as a major brand differentiator. He highlights that together with functional requirements and material value in basic product performance, a quality assessment that is inclusive of a value statement on emotional benefits affects the decision making factor. He adds that custom design that is sensitive to customer input in ensuring individual customer satisfaction, has important implications for both the design provider and the user. He begins by putting across that, "The more value that businesses add to their core products and services, the better they do. But when they use design to add value, they do even better in a whole range of ways, including bigger profit, and market share." The article captures the hotel industry as growing and increasingly accessible. Previously, the hotel experience was better than what most people would have access to in their homes. However, as standards of living continue to rise, more and more people live a lifestyle in their own homes that is possibly greater than what is provided for in their hotels. It begs the question as to how the hotel industry can keep up with the growing demand for an experience that does not draw the consumer away from what they are used to and possibly, one that supercedes the expectations of the consumer. Perhaps the answer lies in the added value design of the service (the product) that they are trying to sell. Firstly, the product that they are trying to sell must meet the functional requirements that it is intended for. This means that for a consumer to make a decision as to whether they would like to buy the product, they must perceive that it effectively serves its purpose. Moreover, they must perceive that it is good value for the money that they spend. Lastly, it must provide emotional and psychological satisfaction. The latter is a very important aspect of consumers' growing and changing demand in which owners, developers and operators could stand to gain tremendously. They however need to be able to deliver this requirement whilst putting into consideration the ever changing economic conditions as well as the competition that they have to face within the market. How then do players in the hotel industry deliver quality while reducing the costs they have to incur as they satisfy the high bar that is set in selling their product to their consumers? Added Value design in the hotel industry lies in the characteristic of their product, the service. How can they make it a less tedious process to access their services which comes with the territory of a consumer's demand for the hotel service? When looking for excellent service in the hotel industry, a customer should not associate its accessibility with a struggle. The hotel experience is highly associated with convenience or a less hands on encounter. Once a consumer is within the 'confines' of the hotel, they need to be able to feel comfortable, relaxed, at home, and the basic needs which they would normally ensure that they have access to need to be met in such a way that they do not feel that they are out of their comfort zone; an unpleasant encounter where when they would like an experience where they can afford to be hands off, they are not able to maximise it to the fullest because the supplier has not ensured, high product value. This may include, the cleanliness of the hotel,food security and safety, the ability of the design of the infrastructure to deliver a serene and relaxed mood as well as quality food and perks like a room fitness kit and a room mini bar. In short, quality service delivery in the hotel industry plays a large role in ensuring a return on investments. The owner of a hotel through consumer information has to incorporate a large number of supplies in order to create an environment for the consumer that is in essence the service that they pay for in the first place. They cannot be hesitant because of the initial costs of incorporating finished products in this environment. They have to put in mind that the changes in consumer preference and demand influences their choice to purchase their product. As they select their products, they can look towards making choices that would cut costs on the time and effort that would be required in managing the product as well as maintaining it. The article gives the example of using easy to clean hardwood or hard surface floors that are easy to clean and do not require as much atttention as the traditional wall to wall carpets would. This would not only cut costs of manual labour, it would also appeal to the consumer with the pereception of cleanliness of the accomodation. Another example is offering a simole work out kit in the rooms of the guests in order to reduce the hustle of moving from one area of the hotel to another and enjoying the benefits of a work out from an individual's space in the hotel. Other examples include evaluating the consumer demand for food at ones hotel in order to stock up with the right amount of food to avoid wastage and events of food poisoning because of handling food that has overstayed. The efficiency of the staff also needs to be highly invested in in order to sustain the quality of the hotel. The staff should not only be trained to be efficient, but also to be able to keep up with the changing preferences and demand of the consumers. This way, the product design adds value to the product that is to be sold to the consumers in such a way that it is evitable that consumers would question the need to accrue the services as well as create an atmosphere where they are attracted to the product in question and are emotionally and psychologically motivated to accrue it. Supply Chain Management in the hotel industry therefore heavily requires for decisions to be made with consumer demand in great perspective. Value added design of the product goes a long way in selling the product in question. The costs that a vendor would need to incur are heavily determined by their ability to duplicate and supercede the conditions one can already acquire from the comfort of their own home or office environment. It is an investment that is initally costly with the changing trends, but if carefully planned for can ensure sufficient return on investment.