Elizabeth Snow a sophomore at BU found her allowance insufficient
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Elizabeth Snow, a sophomore at BU, found her allowance insufficient to meet her needs and wanted to make some money.
Living in a dormitory with 1500 other students, Elizabeth and Pat, her roommate, had already established a dorm-wide
reputation for baking fresh warm cookies “like Mom makes at home.” Elizabeth conducted some market research and
determined that there was sufficient demand in her dormitory to sell as many cookies as she could make at a price of $6.00
per dozen. She would sell the cookies only in quantities of a dozen (12 cookies), although she baked 13 in each batch (a
“baker’s dozen”) to allow for breakage. The cookies just needed to be made to each customer’s requirements in terms of
ingredients and to be fresh from the oven. She decided to make four types of cookies: chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, and
deluxe chocolate chip or deluxe oatmeal raisin. About 40% of customers wanted chocolate chip cookies, 35% wanted
oatmeal raisin cookies, and 25% wanted deluxe chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin cookies, which were chocolate chip or
oatmeal raisin cookies to which coconut and nuts were added.
The Production Process
Elizabeth enlisted Pat as her partner. They decided to take orders each day between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Customers
could phone or stop by their dormitory apartment to place an order and would be informed of the time they could come by
to pick up their cookies. About half of their customers ordered by phone, which took an average of three minutes. All
phone orders were taken by Pat. When customers came to the apartment, the order taking generally took longer – about
five minutes. All in-person orders were taken by Elizabeth.
The cookie making process began at 8:00 p.m. and was relatively simple, consisting of several common steps for each type
of cookie: mixing, spooning, baking, cooling, and plating. Elizabeth was responsible for steps prior to baking and Pat was
responsible for steps after baking.
At mixing, which required four minutes per batch of one baker’s dozen (13 cookies), the ingredients for the cookies were
measured out into a bowl and mixed using a wooden spoon. Deluxe cookies required four additional minutes at the mixing
stage. Elizabeth had two bowls, each large enough to mix one batch of cookies.
At spooning, the cookie dough was spooned onto a cookie sheet. Elizabeth and Pat had six cookie sheets, each large
enough to hold 13 cookies. The spooning task took about 55 seconds. It took Elizabeth five seconds to place the cookie
sheet in the oven.
Baking, which took 10 minutes, was done in the apartment-size electric oven. The oven held only one cookie sheet. Baking
was a completely automated task and required none of Elizabeth’s or Pat’s time.
Pat removed cookies from the oven and did a visual inspection as she placed them on the kitchen counter cooling area,
which could accommodate five cookie sheets. The removal from the oven and inspection took about one minute. Cookies
required another five minutes to cool sufficiently for them to be removed from the sheets. Cookies that cooled longer than
ten minutes often broke, and although their customers did not complain about broken cookies because, as one customer
noted, “they taste the same whole or in pieces,” Elizabeth and Pat wanted to sell only perfect-looking cookies. Removing
the cookies from the cookie sheet and placing them on a paper plate took one minute per dozen cookies.
Customers picked up their cookies at Elizabeth’s and Pat’s apartment door. When customers came to pick up their cookies,
Pat took their payment (cash only!), which took about two minutes, on average.
The overall process flow diagram with task times inside each box is given below for convenience:
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