This case is about Hazel, an employee that has worked for a Fortune 500 company for nearly 15 years. She suddenly finds herself unemployed and in need of a job.
After many months of searching for employment unsuccessfully, she began to mow the lawns of her neighbors for income while she continued to look for employment. When she failed to gain employment, she decided to go into business for herself maintaining neighborhood lawns.
In the beginning, the business was slow, but once the word got out about her lawn service business, she began to obtain many clients. Hazel believed that she could earn a living from her new business and eventually hired 2 part-time employees.
Case relevance to operations management
There are many aspects of this case that has relevance to operations management. The concept of being in business for herself came about when Hazel was forced to use current resources in order to survive after losing a position that she relied on for a very long time. While the overall concept of running a business was not Hazel’s initial convection, however it was derived from her need for income and for her neighborhood’s demand for lawn care services. Meeting the demand of the neighborhood meets Hazel’s needs and a company evolved from that. From a consumer’s standpoint, Hazel’s work was just as good as professional lawn care services and probably less costly. While for other consumers, the freedom of not having to be personally responsible for doing one’s own lawn was more valuable than having to pay for it. Hazel was able to beat out competition without having to put forth much effort or cash into advertising and building her business; instead business became a steady flow of production forcing Hazel to have to hire part-time workers to meet demand for her services.
Key issues of case
The key issues/problems of this case are:
1. Hazel lost her job after 15 years of working for the same company.
2. Hazel along with 400 co-workers was terminated.
3. Hazel searched for a job for eight months and became discouraged.
4. Hazel started a side lawn business but could not devote time to both it and her job search, so she was forced to make an important decision.
5. Hazel decided to start her own business but was fearful.
Hazel’s lawn business is in an extremely good place. She has been able to take a situation that could have potentially ruined her livelihood and make it a great success. In order to continue with her success Hazel should investigate her competitions’ prices and services. This would enable her to see what other services are being offered. Creating a website that could be linked to one of the search engines or even to a home improvement website would help. These strategies could help her with advertising and acquiring additional business. Hazel could also post her business cards on community boards, distribute flyers and door hangers in the neighborhoods. The flyers could have affidavits of satisfied customers in the neighborhood. By holding contest and lawn giveaways would boost customer interest. Lastly, Hazel should affiliate herself with services like tree trimming services that would not be direct competition for Hazel’s business.
Hazel case questions
1. In what ways are Hazel’s customers most likely to judge the quality of her lawn care services?
Hazel’s customers are most likely to judge the quality of her lawn care service as good work. After every job she gets referrals and callbacks. It stated that some switched from their professional lawn care services to use Hazel’s services. Her continued growth shows that her work was of quality and worth her price.
2. Hazel is the operations manager of her business. Among her responsibilities are forecasting, inventory management, scheduling, quality assurance, and maintenance....