Lean Management in a Salon

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1.0.About the organization
Yellow Nails Salon is a privately run business which specializes in nail care and started off as a nail-bar 5 years ago. It is a small setup with 10 service staff, one main work floor, 2 treatment rooms, a storeroom, a pantry and a restroom. The owner visits the salon every day for a couple of hours to keep an eye on the over-all running of the salon and to ensure work is being done up to the standard. The salon services about 20 customers on weekdays and up to 40 customers on weekends/peak seasons, and receives about 20% turn-away customers daily.

1.1. Main products and services
The core services provided by the salon are different types of manicures and pedicures. Since 2010 the salon has grown in popularity and seen a demand from regular clients to offer more varied services, so hair treatments, massage services, hair removal and specialized facials have been introduced. The salon also stocks nail polishes which the customers can purchase.

1.2. The customers
The client base consists of women from low to mid-income families residing in the area. These are women that like the convenience of having a salon close by that they can visit regularly and pamper themselves, yet not blow a hole in their pockets by doing so. A lot of the customers treat their salon time as a requirement rather than an indulgence and slot it in as a job in their busy schedules.

1.3. Order qualifiers and order winners for the company
The order winners for the salon are the prices offered along with the decor and environment. There are no other salons in the area with a matching stylish interior while offering similar competitive rates. Any salons that offer this type of ambience will be too pricey, and those that are not, will not have the same sort of interiors. The order qualifiers are the experience of the staff, the services offered and the location.

2.0. Challenges
One of the biggest challenges faced by the business is that a lot of customers have to be turned away because the salon is unable to accommodate them in several ways. While a lot of similar salons thrive on new and walk-in customers, in Yellow Nails, unless you have pre planned the visit and booked, you will not be attended to, even if is it a case of adding an extra treatment during your visit. Appointments are made and not kept, yet the staff is obligated to sit idle until the customer arrives and turn away walk-in customers.

Another major problem is that a lot of time is taken up by each customer alone as a single specialist attends to a customer at a time, while other staff waits for their booking to arrive. There have been occasions when it has been witnessed that some roll-on wax has been thrown away because it has dried up so the attendant has had to open a new case, which is also the case with other beauty products. Seemingly, there is quite a bit of wastage due to old stock being kept. Another issue seems to be that though the staff is very friendly and their work is of a high standard, the space around them is not very organized, resulting in longer waiting time for the customer, even between services.

Along with these challenges, the cost of operations is high, as the owner gets the spa products from Switzerland which she visits periodically and stocks up on her visit and has also invested heavily in treatment machines, which require regular maintenance. These factors show that it is quite important for the business to structure its operations more effectively in order to generate more desirable profits.

2.1. Evidence
Having been to the salon many times and witnessing the problems on a first-hand basis, there is no doubt that the problems observed do truly exist. Many businesses have challenges which are buried under a shiny exterior, but when the customer starts facing it directly, you know it’s an issue that needs to be dealt with immediately, possibly more critically in a service-based company.

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