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Stocking Sets Daniel Holbrook, an expediter at the local warehouse for Furniture

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Stocking Sets
Daniel Holbrook, an expediter at the local warehouse for Furniture City, sighed as he moved boxes and boxes of inventory to the side to reach the shelf where the particular item he needed was located. He dropped to his hands and knees and squinted at the inventory numbers lining the bottom row of the shelf. He did not find the number he needed. He worked his way up the shelf until he found the number matching the number on the order slip. Just his luck! The item was on the top row of the shelf! Daniel walked back through the warehouse to find a ladder, stumbling over boxes of inventory littering his path. When he finally climbed the ladder to reach the top shelf, his face crinkled in frustration. Not again! The item he needed was not in stock! All he saw above the inventory number was an empty space covered with dust!
Daniel trudged back through the warehouse to make the dreaded phone call. He dialed the number of Brenda Sims, the saleswoman on the kitchen showroom floor of Furniture City, and informed her that the particular light fixture the customer had requested was not in stock. He then asked her if she wanted him to look for the rest of the items in the kitchen set. Brenda told him that she would talk to the customer and call him back.
Brenda hung up the phone and frowned. Mr. Davidson, her customer, would not be happy. Ordering and receiving the correct light fixture from the regional warehouse would take at least two weeks.
Brenda then paused to reflect upon business during the last month and realized that over 80 percent of the orders for kitchen sets could not be filled because items needed to complete the sets were not in stock at the local warehouse. She also realized that Furniture City was losing customer goodwill and business because of stockouts. The furniture megastore was gaining a reputation for slow service and delayed deliveries, causing customers to turn to small competitors that sold furniture directly from the showroom floor.
Page 443
Brenda decided to investigate the inventory situation at the local warehouse. She walked the short distance to the building next door and gasped when she stepped inside the warehouse. What she saw could only be described as chaos. Spaces allocated for some items were overflowing into the aisles of the warehouse while other spaces were completely bare. She walked over to one of the spaces overflowing with inventory to determine what item was overstocked. She could not believe her eyes! The warehouse had at least 30 rolls of pea-green wallpaper! No customer had ordered pea-green wallpaper since 2018!
Brenda marched over to Daniel demanding an explanation. Daniel said that the warehouse had been in such a chaotic state since his arrival one year ago. He said the inventory problems occurred because management had a policy of stocking every furniture item on the showroom floor in the local warehouse. Management only replenished inventory every three months, and when inventory was replenished, management ordered every item regardless of whether it had been sold. Daniel also said that he had tried to make management aware of the problems with overstocking unpopular items and understocking popular items, but management would not listen to him because he was simply an expediter.
Brenda understood that Furniture City required a new inventory policy. Not only was the megastore losing money by making customers unhappy with delivery delays, but it was also losing money by wasting warehouse space. By changing the inventory policy to stock only popular items and replenish them immediately when sold, Furniture City would ensure that the majority of customers would receive their furniture immediately and that the valuable warehouse space would be utilized effectively.
Brenda needed to sell her inventory policy to management. Using her extensive sales experience, she decided that the most effective sales strategy would be to use her kitchen department as a model for the new inventory policy. She would identify all kitchen sets comprising 85 percent of customer orders. Given the fixed amount of warehouse space allocated to the kitchen department, she would identify the items Furniture City should stock to satisfy the greatest number of customer orders. She would then calculate the revenue from satisfying customer orders under the new inventory policy, using the bottom line to persuade management to accept her policy.
Brenda analyzed her records over the past three years and determined that 20 kitchen sets were responsible for 85 percent of the customer orders. These 20 kitchen sets were composed of up to eight features in a variety of styles. Brenda listed each feature and its popular styles in the tables below.
Floor Tile Wallpaper Light Fixtures Cabinets
(T1) White textured tile (W1) Plain ivory paper (L1) One large rectangular frosted fixture (C1) Light solid wood cabinets
(T2) Ivory textured tile (W2) Ivory paper with dark brown pinstripes (L2) Three small square frosted fixtures (C2) Dark solid wood cabinets
(T3) White checkered tile with blue trim (W3) Blue paper with marble texture (L3) One large oval frosted fixture (C3) Light-wood cabinets with glass doors
(T4) White checkered tile with light yellow trim (W4) Light yellow paper with marble texture (L4) Three small frosted globe fixtures (C4) Dark-wood cabinets with glass doors
Countertops Dishwashers Sinks Ranges
(O1) Plain light-wood countertops (D1) White energy-saving dishwasher (S1) Sink with separate hot and cold water taps (R1) White electric oven
(O2) Stained light-wood countertops (D2) Ivory energy-saving dishwasher (S2) Divided sink with separate hot and cold water taps and garbage disposal (R2) Ivory electric oven
(O3) White lacquer-coated countertops (S3) Sink with one hot and cold water tap (R3) White gas oven
(O4) Ivory lacquer-coated countertops (S4) Divided sink with one hot and cold water tap and gar bage disposal (R4) Ivory gas oven
Brenda then created a table (given on page 445) showing the 20 kitchen sets and the particular features composing each set. To simplify the table, she used the codes shown in parentheses above to represent the particular feature and style. For example, kitchen set 1 consists of floor tile T2, wallpaper W2, light fixture L4, cabinet C2, countertop O2, dishwasher D2, sink S2, and range R2. Notice that sets 14 through 20 do not contain dishwashers.
Brenda knew she had only a limited amount of warehouse space allocated to the kitchen department. The warehouse could hold 50 square feet of tile and 12 rolls of wallpaper in the inventory bins. The inventory shelves could hold two light fixtures, two cabinets, three countertops, and two sinks. Dishwashers and ranges are similar in size, so Furniture City stored them in similar locations. The warehouse floor could hold a total of four dishwashers and ranges.
Every kitchen set always includes exactly 20 square feet of tile and exactly five rolls of wallpaper. Therefore, 20 square feet of a particular style of tile and five rolls of a particular style of wallpaper are required for the styles to be in stock.
Page 444
Formulate and solve a binary integer programming problem to maximize the total number of kitchen sets (and thus the number of customer orders) Furniture City stocks in the local warehouse. Assume that when a customer orders a kitchen set, all the particular items composing that kitchen set are replenished at the local warehouse immediately.
How many of each feature and style should Furniture City stock in the local warehouse? How many different kitchen sets are in stock?
Furniture City decides to discontinue carrying nursery sets, and the warehouse space previously allocated to the nursery department is divided between the existing departments at Furniture City. The kitchen department receives enough additional space to allow it to stock both styles of dishwashers and three of the four styles of ranges. How does the optimal inventory policy for the kitchen department change with this additional warehouse space?
Brenda convinces management that the kitchen department should serve as a testing ground for future inventory policies. To provide adequate space for testing, management decides to allocate all the space freed by the nursery department to the kitchen department. The extra space means that the kitchen department can store not only the dishwashers and ranges from part c, but also all sinks, all countertops, three of the four light fixtures, and three of the four cabinets. How much does the additional space help?
How would the inventory policy be affected if the items composing a kitchen set could not be replenished immediately? Under what conditions is the assumption of immediate replenishment nevertheless justified?
****************************************************************
The book used is ‘Introduction to Management,” by Frederick Hillier and Mark Hillier. It is found at the end of Chapter 10. Please make sure to use a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel.
Page 445

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