Shlar of Newton is an organization catering to patients’ dietary needs. The company’s mission is to seek new ways everyday to improve the lives of patients. The decision to implement steam table serving system just started out as a simple initiative to improve the quality of life of patients. Initially, the top management did not realize the magnitude of change required to implement this system. However, when they gradually began to understand the various interconnected variables involved, a decision to make a significant organizational change to facilitate the new system was finalized.
It was agreed that organizational change would be effected in accordance with the company’s mission and values (Free Management Library 2008). The company also decided in advance that organizational change would not come at the cost of weakening or compromising established and successful operational methods that have been its cornerstone for years, unless a significant reason is put forth. This included current practices in the kitchen floor, dining room or managerial functions.
The cost factor involved in organizational change was analyzed and sufficient funds were allocated in the yearly budget to pursue the necessary actions. However, no expansion in manpower was initially foreseen by management as the new equipment did not need expert assistance. Introduction of Steam Table To begin with, new steam table equipment, utensils and other allied accessories had to be purchased. There were a lot of choices in brands as well as features to consider when it came to choosing the right hardware. The senior staff members in the kitchen were consulted in this regard to understand their requirements.
Steam tables could be powered by gas, hot water bath, as well as electricity. Each one had its fair share of advantages and disadvantages. Steam tables functioning on water bath were comparatively inexpensive, but not very efficient for our requirements. The gas-powered steam table was quite efficient, but it lacked in features. The electric steam table was finally chosen for its efficiency as well as features; certain models of electric steam tables also had a cold-storage compartment, which could be useful to store fruits and refreshments (Steam Table world 2008).
After conducting an exhaustive research on the numerous brands available in the market, “Eagle Group” brand was selected based on its reasonable pricing, durable hardware, favorable customer service reputation and free installation offer. The steam table is an expensive piece of machinery which needs professional maintenance from time to time. Hence, an annual maintenance contract was signed with the same company to facilitate periodic maintenance, repair and refurbishing. The new equipments installed in the facility also were insured to cover for accidents and unforeseen events.
The steam table system required a more robust power supply to meet the added power requirements. Hence, this required hiring electricians to upgrade the power supply in the premises. A training program was also designed to make kitchen staff comfortable using and cleaning the new steam table equipment; its features as well as emergency measures to handle a hardware malfunction were also clearly demonstrated. As steam tables as well as steam table pans needed regular cleaning, a staff member was needed to accomplish this task.
The same staff member who was responsible for cleaning the trays in the previous tray passing system received appropriate training and took over the new responsibility. Soon after installing the steam tables, there was a noticeable raise in temperature due to the heat generated by the new equipment. So, the management decided to rectify the situation immediately before it started making patients uncomfortable. Hence, additional air-conditioning equipment was installed to lower the temperature to comfortable levels.
These problems were solved smoothly because the management understood that organizational change was a long process that needed to be approached with extreme caution and sensitivity. It anticipated unforeseen expenses and was well-prepared, as it viewed the expenses an investment towards its stable future. Merits of Steam Tables The primary advantage of implementation of the steam table system is the availability of fresher food, which is tastier and more nutritious to the patients. The steam table also acts as a quality-check mechanism, wherein food items that are not preferred are not requested by patients and they stay on the counter.
Hence, food items that are not favored by patients can be avoided or improved in future, thereby eliminating food wastage. In the conventional passing tray system, the food items that are not preferred by patients would have been served anyway and eventually wasted. This system also helps understand patients overall food preferences better and more effectively cater to their needs. Moreover, reducing food wastage would eventually benefit the patients as cutting down on our expenses would translate to cheaper food bills on the long run.
The steam table system affords patients the freedom of choice to consume the food they want. This has been shown to psychologically as well as physiologically improve the patients’ condition (Hay 1932). Shlar of Newton also firmly believes that right food, in combination with medical treatment, plays a critical food in treating a person’s illness. Although talking a small stroll to the steam table counter to take food may sound insignificant to the average person, it can serve as a mild form of exercise that is critical for most patients.
In the field of health care, it is important to understand that even the minutest of factors can add up and lend a patient a better lifestyle. Hence, the most marginal benefits could be treated as significant when it comes to health care, since the quality of life of a human being is at stake (Sullivan & Atlas 1998). Organizational Resources Our management team is spearheaded by the Nutrition Care Manager and Director of Dining, working in coordination with a dining service agency named Morrion Service Dining. The Nutrition Care Manager, Tina Miller works out the menu by rigorously analyzing our patients’ nutritional needs.
She constantly experiments with different combination of food items to ensure that the menus do not stay stale, while also meeting nutritional needs of patients. Hence, the responsibility of managing the fine balance between taste and nutrition is handled by her. Tina Miller gives a lot importance to ensure that the quality of food served meets the higher standards of hygiene and health, since we understand the importance of food in healing patients and improving their quality of life. Nutrition Care Manager also briefs the serving staff about specific food allergies of various patients, thereby eliminating any food-allergy related incidents.
The Director of Dining, Timothy Smith takes care of maintaining the dining hall that serves the patients food. He keeps operations in dinning hall running smoothly by handling infrastructural demands of the facility by making sure that the water, electricity and staff charges are paid on time. He also coordinates with staff to ensure that the dining environment comprising of basic amenities and furniture is well kempt. He also interacts with patients to get their perspective on things, and duly works on their complaints and suggestions.
The Director of Dining also conveys the patient’s grievances to the dining service agency and constantly works with them to bring about changes. Timothy Smith also functions as a company representative while dealing with public relation initiatives and external agents such as Health Inspectors. Teamwork at Shlar of Newton Morrion Service Dining is very customer-friendly and takes frequent inputs from our managerial team. The company has been working seamlessly well with them for quite sometime and are satisfied with the quality of their food as well service.
The Director of Dinning and Nutrition Care Manager often pay surprise visits to asses their kitchen conditions, and until now they have fared quite well on our satisfaction scale. The company also frequently interacts with the nursing staff to get their inputs on patients’ specific requirements. It employs only legitimate chefs and other kitchen staff, while paying a lot of attention to kitchen hygiene. The kitchen staffs also have been well-trained to cater to patients’ unique demands and also exhibit the highest standards of professionalism expected in this sector (Kongstved 2007).
Besides all these resources, we have also accumulated a powerful knowledge base over time, by learning from patient feedback and behavior. Post-implementation Phase Although a lot of positive changes were envisioned out of the stream table system, a monitoring mechanism had to be designed to measure the impact of the new system and justify its implementation. The company already had a system for regularly measuring its performance, so as to constantly improve service and ensure business sustainability.
It was designed in-house as quality measuring system based on several aspects such as patients’ satisfaction, nutritional value, and nurses’ feedback. Patients, nurses and doctors were also encouraged to fill out questionnaires to measure improvement in quality of service to improve on the current system Quality-check Mechanism Patients as well as the nursing staff reported that they were more satisfied with quality of food, after the enforcing organizational change. Some doctors also reported subtle improvements in few patients’ psyche, although there is no empirical evidence to support this claim.
It was also observed the overall quality of food factor went up from 3. 77 in 2007 to 4. 1 in 2008. This improvement was quite steep compared to last year’s marginal improvement from 3. 58 to 3. 77. Although a multitude of elements had contributed to our success, this year’s surge in performance can most certainly be attributed to the steam table system. These figures explicitly convey that the organizational change has impacted the company positively. Hence, the efforts and expenses incurred have been worthwhile in improving the company’s brand image as well as quality of service.
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