1. INTRODUCTION One of the main reasons research into customer complaints is important is because of competition (Van Horne & Wachowicz, 2000). All Hypermarkets become highly competitive in terms of winning the customers. Hypermarkets which do not get feedback from their customers about their service run the risk of losing them. In addition, if the Hypermarket does not look into this area seriously, the Hypermarket will not have the knowledge to make the necessary changes to their service.
To maintain the good reputation for the Hypermarket and the deals between the supplier and the Hypermarket, there is a need to investigate and solve the issue of peculiar taste in frozen lambs sold in the Hypermarket in order to prevent such situation from happening again. Hence, this report will firstly describe the issue that occurs in the Hypermarket, which is the frozen lamb produce peculiar taste after cooking.
Then, the report will discuss four possible problems that lead to the situation which are failure to follow the criteria given for every product delivered, low quality product, improper checking when receiving the product and poor management of the stock storage. Besides discussing about the possible problems this report also will provide three solutions and recommendations to prevent this situation from occuring again which are discussion, send staffs for training and courses in handling the stock and service the stock storage. 2. 0 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
In the third week of September, 2011, the Hypermarket has received more than five customers’ complaints regarding the frozen lamb sold in the Hypermarket. Most of the frozen lamb produced peculiar taste after being cooked. As a result, the customers who bought the frozen lamb and ate them complained that they suffered stomach ache and diarrhea. Looking at these complaints, the Hypermarket feels that this issue should be looked at seriously; as it might cause negative consequences to the Hypermarket such as loosing more customers and decreasing in sales.
As such, the Hypermarket believes that in depth investigation and thorough report should be given to the Branch Manager so that this situation would be prevented. 3. FACTORS THAT LEAD TO THE PROBLEM 1. Failure to Follow the Criteria Given for Every Product Based on the customers’ complaints and discussion among the staffs, one of the possible factors that lead to the peculiar taste of the frozen lamb is failure to follow the criterias given by the Hypermarket. For every order made by the Hypermarket, there will be a list of criterias that should be followed by the supplier.
These criterias are significantly important and ought to be followed because it has considered every aspect when choosing a product (Rao, 1989). For instance, when the Hypermarket requests for frozen meat particularly frozen lamb, the supplier has been given several criterias that should be obeyed to. Some of the criterias are the frozen lamb should be safe to be cooked and kept in the freezer, for example. This is to ensure that the frozen lamb are safe to be used, produce good taste while cooking, and will not lead to unhealthy diseases such as diarrhea and stomach ache.
Since the complaints are focusing on the peculiar taste, this shows that the supplier has failed to meet the requirements needed. The frozen lamb has produced peculiar taste and resulted negative consequences to the customers. Basically, the Hypermarket believes that the problem aroused is due to the suppliers’ failure to ensure that the frozen lamb has meet the requirements. Moreover, following these requirements are one of the major issues that has been focused when choosing the supplier.
Thus, strict actions and improvements should be made on this area, so that this issue would not happen in future. 2. Low Quality Product Apart from failure to follow the criterias given, another factor that might contribute to the problem is the low level of quality product. According to Deloof and Jeggers (1996), quality can be defined a state of being free from defects, deficiencies and significant variations, brought about by the strict and consistent adherence to measurable and verifiable standards to achieve uniformity of output that satisfies specific customer or user requirements.
This means that having a good quality product provides a confirmation to customers that the product they buy are well measured, built and produced. It is important to have a good quality product; this will retain customers on buying that particular product because they trust the product. In relation with the problem faced byt the Hypermarket, the frozen lamb supplied by the branch might be considered as low quality product as it produces peculiar taste. This might due to the condition of the lamb itself, and how it is being run by the staffs.
Furthermore, the lamb might be received in unfresh condition, or it has been taken from unreliable sources. Therefore, this report is to ensure that the branch will reevaluate the supplier of the lamb, so that this situation could be prevented in future. Besides, having low quality product will increase company expenses, as customers will keep on returning the product that they bought (Long, Malitz & Abraham, 1993). Consequently, there will be another process of reevaluating the product which demand cost and time.
This will somehow decrease the sales of the product and increase the budget for that particular product which in this case, the frozen lamb. Hence, a thorough evaluation on where the lamb is taken from should be done to ensure the good quality of the frozen lamb that being sent to the Hypermarket. 3. Improper Product Checking when Receiving and Delivering The third possible factor that leads to the peculiar taste of the frozen lamb is improper product checking during receiving and delivering. It is off paramount importance for the sender and receiver to check on every product when they arrive at the storage place.
This stage is known as internal control where before we deliver the product to our branch or sell it in front of the customers, there is a need to check on every single product receive (Deloof & Jeggers, 1996). This is to ensure that every product is in their best condition. Sometimes the product might be over- looked from the outside. However, due to the delivery service the product might be damaged or having defects. Hence, it is very important to check on the product entirely so that these possible situation would not happen.
In conjunction with the problem of hampering the frozen lamb, some of the issues regarding improper product checking are; the branch and the hypermarket might not do proper checking when sending and receiving the frozen lamb. The branch should do thorough checking of the frozen lamb when receiving from the supplier before the frozen lamb are sent to the Hypermarket. Many external factors should be looked at while delivering the frozen lamb to the Hypermarket because through out this period there are numerous possibilities for the lamb to be defected.
For example, some of the frozen lambs might probably fall out of the storage in the lorry, and this has affecting the lamb as well as the taste of the lamb when cooking. Thus, whenever a product is received, there is a need to check each of the product condition, so that we could avoid any negative experiences with the customer. 4. Poor Management of the Stock Storage The fourth possible factors that contribute to the problem occured in the Hypermarket would be poor management of the stock storage.
Basically, There are five principles of stock storage that should be followed which are labelling, position, rotation, humidity and temperature (Doyle, Beauchat & Montville, 1997). For each product that being kept in the storage, it must follow closely this principles based on what type are they (Pitt & Hocking, 1997). For instance, the raw materials and ingredients stored in establishment shall be kept in appropriate conditions, as to prevent harmful deterioration and to protect them from contamination. In addition, items such as cleaning chemicals, other chemicals, and insect and rodent poisons in separate areas to food and food packaging.
There are two types of storage which are dry goods and chilled storage that could cater to frozen and dried products (Palmer, 1983). Knowing these principles of stock storage and the appropriate way of handling the storage, it shows that there could be some mishandling cases that lead to the peculiar taste of the frozen lamb. The staffs might not securely and completely wrapped all the frozen lamb in refrigerators and freezers. In addition, the workers might not use accurate trays or containers while keeping the frozen lamb.
Regenstein & Regenstein (1979) revealed that it is important to wrap all the frozen lambs in order to prevent cross-contamination and to maintain quality. Besides, the trays or containers should have enough space for liquid from defrosting items, or blood, from the lamb. Instead of the stock storage, the stock rotation of in the stock storage should be looked at as well. A suitable system of stock rotation should be applied to make sure older foods are used first to avoid spoilage. This applies to chilled and frozen foods as well as other products (Regenstein & Regenstein, 2000).
For example, foods with an expired ‘use by’ date, which you are returning to the supplier for credit, should be clearly marked to show they are not intended for sale or place them in a clearly marked container. In relation to the frozen lamb case in the Hypermarket, these principles might be overlooked and caused peculiar taste. The frozen lamb might be expired or not being kept securely in the chilled storage. As stock management is the utmost possible reason that leads to the peculiar teaste of the frozen lamb, strict actions should be given in this area so that this problem would not be happening again. . SOLUTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM 1. Discussion Apart from seeking for the possible factors that lead to the peculiar taste of the frozen lamb, the purpose of this report is also to suggest ways to improve and overcome this situation. The first strategy that should be taken to address the issue is by having a discussion between the supplier, the branch manager and the store manager. The discussion is effective to be conducted, as it involves a process of exchanging the ideas and opinions.
The involved parties could brainstorm and become more aware of the problem (Richard & Laughlin, 1980). Furthermore, it shows that through discussion allows every side to solve the problem and able to implement the strategies to overcome the problem. Besides, the discussion would be a form of verbal warning to the supplier and other branches that this situation should not happen again in future. In case it happens, everybody would be aware of the other consequences such as the cancellation of the deal where the Hypermarket could request to change to a new supplier. . Training and Courses for Staffs Secondly, after having in depth discussion in investigating the issue of the peculiar taste of the frozen lamb, there must be other follow up solutions that need to be done in order to prevent this situation from happening again. It is important to ensure that every staff in this area are well informed about the job scope (Maher & Graves, 2007). Every staff ought to attend a training and courses before being employed. The training and courses are designed to enhance the quality of every staff’s service.
For example, every staff needs to understand analytically on how to run dry goods and frozen products. The staffs should be aware that the stocks that will be expired in a short time should be marked clearly. This is to avoid the products from being arranged and displayed in the shelves. Furthermore, the staffs should aware that expired or nearly expired product will cause negative consequences to the customer if they happen to buy them. In the case of frozen lamb in the Hypermarket, one of the possible reasons that lead to the problem is perhaps the lamb has reached the expiry date.
The selected staffs must know how to manage and arrange frozen foods such as lamb in order to retain the quality of frozen lamb in the Hypermarket. This proves that through training and courses the management of the every product sold in the Hypermarket could be enhanced tremendously. These types of training and courses are also valuable in maintaning the quality of every staff’s service. Apart from merely learning how to handle the product in practical, there is a strong need to provide sufficient theoretical input of it to every staff. Hence, it would be beneficial to conduct a test at the end of the training and courses.
The purpose of the test is to set a standard (Hind, Moss & McKellan, 2007) before the Hypermarket employ somebody into the field. Therefore, every staff have to pass the test and this will somehow maintain the quality service offered by the Hypermarket. Consequently, such situation like having frozen lamb with peculiar taste could be prevented from happening again. 3. Service the Stock Storage Regularly Finally, one of the utmost important ways to solve the problem regarding the peculiar taste of frozen lamb in the Hypermarket is servicing the stock storage regularly.
It is known that stock storage is a place where all the products are being kept (Palmer, 1983). The importance of having storage is to ensure the availability of the products. In the storage, all products are being storaged according to the type of food whether they are dry goods or chilled foods. In addition, the shelf life and date codes of items can be determined based on the correct storage conditions, including temperatures and labels (Doyle, Beauchat & Montville, 1997).
For instance, food with a short shelf life in which food poisoning organisms can grow such as frozen foods are labelled with a USE BY date (Pitt & Hocking, 1997). It is an offence to have on display, or sell, food after the use by date has expired, even if it appears to still be fit to eat. These are some of the rules that should be followed in the stock storage. To ensure that the storage is safe for every product to be kept; therefore, regular servicing should be done.
Regular servicing is to prevent defects and deficiencis of the products such as cockroach bites at the edge of the packaging or for chilled food, there will be bacteria in the food due to inappropriate temperature (Regeinstein & Regenstein, 2000). Doyle, Beauchat and Montville (1997) also suggested that the storage should be serviced at least once a month in order to maintain the cleanliness of the storage and safety of the products. Instead of servicing the storage as a whole, the place where we keep frozen foods is most important to be serviced monthly.
This is due to the condition of the food like frozen foods tend to produce excessive water and smell due to their type of food. For example, frozen lamb will definitely produce blood and water but in frozen condition. These excessive waste will stay in the storage even we have taken out the food from the place. So, to clean up the storage twice a month is appropriate in order to avoid contamination from happening to the frozen food. Besides, packaging and wrapping materials and catering disposables to be used for food should also be kept in clean, dry, pest and contamination free stores (Pitt & Hocking, 1997).
Thus, in relation to the frozen lamb in the Hypermarket, regardless of the supplier, the branch manager and the hypermarket, the stock storage in every place should be serviced regularly to prevent contamination. As a result, any incident like peculiar taste from the frozen lamb could be avoided from happening again in future. 5. CONCLUSION In summary, this report has elaborated three main areas that should be looked at in order to solve the issue of peculiar taste for the frozen lamb in the Hypermarket which are problem, factors and solutions.
The report has identified that the peculiar taste produced by the frozen lamb result several consequences to the Hypermarket. Some of them are; the customers suffer diarrhea and stomach ache after eating the lamb and several complaints about similar issue have received. The Hypermarket believes that this issue should be investigated in order to retain customers. There are four factors that have been identified which are failure to follow the criteria given for every product delivered, low quality product, improper checking when receiving the product and poor management of the stock storage.
Thus, to solve this situation as well as address these factors, this report has come out with three solutions which are discussion, send staffs for training and courses in handling the stock and service the stock storage. It is hoped that this report will be beneficial to all parties especially the Hypermarket in addressing the issue of peculiar taste produced by the frozen lamb. To ensure the success of a business, everybody should play a big role in making that happen. (2780 words)