Most students view Tuffy’s Smoothie Bar as a place where they can stop and get a smoothie, a milkshake, or other quick to-go snack. What most students do not realize is how Tuffy’s Smoothie Bar operates, and what truly goes into running the operation. First of all, Tuffy’s Smoothie Bar is located in Recreational Services, is open to students Monday to Friday from 9AM to 10PM, and is closed on the weekends unless special events are occurring. The Smoothie Bar is closed in the summer, since many students are not on campus.
One big consideration for Tuffy’s is its inventory. Inventory management is very important within supply chain. It is essential for any business to have an effective system in place in order to keep track of inventory, because it is not wise to hold too much or not enough inventory. Let’s explore how inventory and supply chain management are applied at Tuffy’s.
Lots and Lots of Smoothies!
Tuffy’s is best known for their drink specials of the month. They usually base their drinks on which month it is, or if there is a holiday approaching. They have also created drinks based on the inventory and new materials that have. They have 11 pre-made smoothie’s available, and customers can also “create their own”. Although the name of Tuffy’s includes Smoothie Bar, it consists of more than just smoothies. Tuffy’s has other beverage options, which include coffee, tea, hot chocolate, bottled juice, soda, water, and lemonade. Tuffy’s also provides many food options as well, which include seven trail mixes, bananas, apples, scones, nutrigrain bars, pop tarts, cookies, and much more!
Photo: Senior Erika Chuburko retrieving one of Tuffy’s trail mixes.
One Step Closer
To take a step further into Tuffy’s would help one understand how Tuffy’s operates and more specifically, how their inventory is taken. Senior Erika Chuburko an intern at Tuffy’s, where she manages the entire operation and has a close look into Tuffy’s inventory. I was able to ask Erika some questions regarding Tuffy’s inventory:
Rose: How often do you check inventory?
Chuburko: Inventory at Tuffy’s is taken once a week. One thing that helps [make] taking inventory an easier process is a Transfer sheet, which is completed each day.
Rose: Describe what the Transfer sheet is that is completed each day.
Chuburko: The transfer sheet is an Excel spreadsheet that lists all the items in our inventory that come from the stock room in Convo and there are pre-determined par levels for each item. At closing, the workers go through and determine how many of each item we need to order for the next day to reach par level. For example, the par for bananas is seven bunches so if there are two bunches left at close they enter “five” into the transfer sheet. The closers then email the completed transfer sheet to me (Erika) and I date and revise it and then email it to the two Convo stock room coordinators.
Rose: Are there any specific days of the week that inventory comes in?
Chuburko: Yes, the Pepsi order comes on Thursday, and the Eagle’s Nest order comes in usually on Tuesday or Wednesday depending on if they have everything to fill the order. It can also depend on if they have to wait on deliveries. We get deliveries of fruit, juices, milks, ice cream sherbet, and other food and paper items every morning.
Rose: Do some items come in quicker than others?
Chuburko: Trail mixes take longer to get in because they are ordered by the Convo stock room and sometimes they maintain an inventory of our trail mixes and order when they are low. Although sometimes they do not order until I (Erika) order a trail mix that they are out of over in the store room then we have to wait usually about 1 week. Most other things come in pretty quickly.
This is another aspect that many businesses must consider: not all inventory will arrive the next day or on the days that a business may need it. It is important for a company to know what days certain inventory will arrive so that it can plan their orders accordingly. Having a set schedule helps the company run smoother and have a more efficient workflow.
Rose: Is there a certain process that happens when ordering items? Does it differ depending on the product?
Chuburko: There are three different processes for ordering based on what the order is for. We do nightly transfer sheets, like mentioned above, that are filled out by the closing staff and those are filled out in an Excel spread sheet and emailed to me for revision and then turned in to the stock room to gather and deliver the next morning. I complete the Nest order every Monday and fill in the Excel spread sheet and send it to the Eagle’s Nest where it is gathered and I am notified when it is ready for me to pick up. Finally, I fill out the Pepsi order usually on Tuesday mornings and it is done on a paper order sheet that is taped to the backside of the Pepsi cooler and the Pepsi rep comes in and records the order.
Rose: Do you have to bring in stock/inventory yourself or do people come in and fill your orders?
Chuburko: The daily order from the transfer sheet is delivered by the Auxiliary driver and put away by them as well. I pick up and put away the items from the Eagle’s Nest order and the Pepsi order is delivered to Tuffy’s by the Pepsi driver but is usually put away by me.
Understanding who delivers the inventory is another key concept to understand when operating a business. It is important to know if the manager, another employee, or an employee from the supplier is in charge.
Photo: AU students enjoying their smoothies at Tuffy’s.
As you can see, there are a lot of steps that must be taken in order to operate a small business such as Tuffy’s Smoothie Bar. There are numerous processes that must be taken into consideration in order for the Smoothie Bar to stay functional throughout the week on campus. This demonstrates how important Supply Chain Management is in every business, and in everyday operations.
Tessa Rose is a senior Marketing Major with minors in Hospitality Management and Supply Chain Management at Ashland University. She has worked at the Campus Bookstore since her freshman year, and plans to graduate from Ashland December 2014. Tessa is also involved in NSMH student chapter, and is a member of Alpha Delta Pi.