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Chili's = People, Process & Technology

By Steve Simmerman | 02/01/2011 | 11:48 AM

So what does Chili's have to do with supply chain technology?

We all read and talk about the importance of balancing people, processes and technology when it comes to projects.  I read a very interesting article in the Wall Street Journal the other day about how Chili's (yes Chili's the restaurant chain) was addressing a very serious business issue (rising health care costs) and how they addressed not only the business issue, but the people (labor), the processes (the way food is prepared and served in their restaurants) and how they leveraged technology to help achieve the desired results. The other interesting component that was mentioned in the story was how all the changes being made were done "without compromising the guest experience" - something that is not typically mentioned in a traditional "people, process, technology" discussion. Whether your "customer" is an external or internal customer, not compromising the "guest experience" is a fascinating aspect that I would guess that not many of us really pay attention to at the start of a project.

Chili's took a very hard and strategic view of their labor model, their processes and how all of these components were essential to address the underlying business issues.  So many of us get caught up in our own little world that we don't often get a chance to read about how other industries are using some of the same words and techniques that we use.  When you consider the flow of material, the labor, the processes (and required analysis & engineering) at at Chili's restaurant, it truly is a microcosm of a supply chain. It's amazing how Lean and process improvement techniques are being applied across all kinds of businesses - even at your neighborhood Chili's!

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About Steve Simmerman

Steve Simmerman

Steve Simmerman is a Senior Director with JDA. Simmerman has more than 25 years of experience in the supply chain industry including software, consulting and material handling. He has focused his efforts on working with clients to achieve high performance supply chain results through partnerships and creative solutions. He is a member of CSCMP, WERC, and MHIA and is a regular contributor to several industry publications and events. Simmerman holds his undergraduate and MBA degrees from The University of Notre Dame.


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