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Harvard Bookstore Case Study

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The Harvard Bookstore is a locally owned, independently run bookstore in Cambridge. Against all odds and global market trends, it has survived the rising popularity and demand of eBooks and online bookstores such as Amazon. This is partly due to the unique Espresso Book Machine that it has invested in, which creates perfectly bound paperbacks of any eBook within minutes. In this report, we analyse the business, identifying its strategy and thinking behind its actions through the use of Operations Management theories, with particular focus on the 4V’s. The main purpose of a transformation process is to add value through processing inputs into outputs of goods or services. The Harvard Book Store performs two forms of materials processing as…show more content…
There may thus be exceptions; if a ‘bestseller’ is released, it will lead to a sudden and unexpected increase in demand. Another example of rise in demand would be the Christmas period. In these particular scenarios, the bookstore will have to quickly adjust their resources in order to meet the demand. In order to react to these changes in demand, the company can hire extra staff during high demand seasons in order to be able to meet the needs of the customers. For the Harvard Bookstore, having the Espresso Book Machine can be a form of ‘capacity cushion’, absorbing the unexpected demand by printing out the books requested by customers. As printing resources do not have a particular use by date, having a high amount of stock should not pose an operational…show more content…
Here, depending on the purchase, we have either a low or high visibility. If the customer buys a book already in store, the visibility will be low as the product was produced prior to the customer purchasing it. The only contact this client will have with the seller is when paying; only experiencing the change of possession. The second alternative is when the customer buys a book from the Espresso Book Machine. In this case, the degree of operational visibility is high as the whole process is exposed to the customer. The purchaser experiences the whole production process: from the selection of a desired item, the item becomes physical and, after payment, is owned by the customer. There is clearly a high customer contact as the bookstore prints out the book on the spot; the client seeing it being transformed. The thinking behind these two options is that this provides the customer with alternatives. A client that wants a quick experience and a relatively standard product can pick an item on a shelf and purchase it quickly. Also, a client that wants a specific product and that is willing to spend a little more time in the shop is able to do so as
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