Mrs. Fields’ Cookies – Case Analysis.
Mrs. Fields’ Cookies is a case that was initially created in 1989 and revised in 1993. Even though it is nearly two decades old it contains a lot of educational value by providing look into an international company that has grown from just one small store to a huge organization with over 500 stores in 25 United States, and five countries on four continents. The company was created by Debbi Fields who opened her first store in Palo Alto, CA and grew her business with her husband Randy along her side. In this paper I will evaluate the development of the company as well as the early information systems that were used in the management of the organization. As the time progressed and company grew the founder, Debbi Fields realized that she needed to create system in order to be able to delegate and allow for the stores to be run more independently of her, as she realized that she couldn’t be in more than one place at once. Because of this a very structured system was put in place that allowed for proper reporting all the way from the store manager, through district manager, regional director of operations, store controller and ending with Debi and Randy Fields. Each one of the individuals listed above had tasks that needed to be completed in order to assure that the quality and efficiency of the organization was not compromised. Despite of that there was a minimal push for the hierarchy across the company and everyone was able to communicate with Debi directly and as needed. In my opinion lack of hierarchy provides problems with an oversight and control, however in this case the management was able to put in place system that enabled for effective cooperation of 105 district sales managers, 17 regional directors of operations, and four senior regional directors who reported to Debi and Randy (as of 1987). There was a clear cut operational process for each of the individuals across the company. The store managers – each manager is responsible for setting daily production levels. In order to make the process successful Mrs. Fields’ Cookies had software in place that was supporting this decision making process. Each morning the manager would enter various information into the system which would calculate number of batches that needed to be produced. The manager had ultimate say in all the decisions though and could override the system in order to express his/her perspective. The managers were provided with a corporate email and voice mail system that enabled them to communicate with the headquarters and Debi, who regularly contacted each of the managers, which provided personal touch to the operations. Other than preparing daily productions and continually updating the home office on the production levels and working with the system on setting production and sales daily tactics, the managers were responsible for hiring decisions at their locations, process which was supported by the IT system. The system provided guidance on who to hire based on the matching criteria’s for the candidates. Once again store managers could ultimately override the system in making the final decision. Worth emphasizing is that many store managers were relatively young for their position with average age of 20 to 25 years and attrition of nearly 100% every 12-14 months. District store managers – they would oversee operations at six stores producing 50 pages of reports which would be further passed on to the regional directors that would provide oversight and direction for the districts. They would be responsible for assuring that trends are properly analyzed and direction is provided to the store managers. Each district store manager was looking into each of the stores separately taking into consideration individual situation at the given location. Regional Directors – on average they would manage approximately six district managers and what is quite interesting would also manage their own store in order to have a...
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