Analytics or Intuition
Financial Management and Budgeting – Analytic approach is used
I am an employee of the Aramark Corporation. As the MIT-Sloan Management Review article suggests, the majority of the leading companies utilize an analytic approach to financial management and budgeting (LaValle, Lesser, Shockley, Hopkins, & Kruschwitz, 2011). The Aramark Corporation is not an exception as careful use of analytic tools is required to estimate appropriate budgets for each department and project of the company. A custom-made financial management system is used by the finance department to track all the transactions and predict future needs based on previous results.
Strategy and Business Development – Analytic approach is used
Due to a wide variety of services and products that the Aramark Corporation provides to its customers, each new development has to be analyzed in detail to avoid uncontrolled expansion into markets that would not be able to sustain it. Every time a new product or service is proposed, the current market is analyzed by providing surveys to customers and retailers, as well as researching similar products available for sale. The most demanded products are then approved for further development. Additionally, if an older product shows signs of becoming obsolete or unwanted, it is then discontinued.
Customer Service – Analytic Approach is used
Over the last few years, the Aramark Corporation focused on providing a better customer service experience. To understand the issues that the original system had, the management ordered an electronic survey system that would ask the customers about the issues they experienced with customer support. Over the course of six months, customer service became greatly improved through the elimination of redundant steps in the customer service routines and separating the customer service team by specialization and other changes.
Obstacles to Analytics
Lack of Management Bandwidth Due to Competing Priorities
While the company utilizes analytics in almost all of its aspects, they are not always used to their maximum potential. Aramark Corporation has a number of distinct priorities that are not always easy to balance. The two primary ones are food services and provision of uniforms. Both have very different requirements, but hold equal importance to the company. During market research, analytics teams have to be divided, which reduces their capacity to analyze large amounts of data. Unfortunately, this issue can only be mitigated through expansion of the analytics department, which may be costly.
Lack of Executive Sponsorship
Despite the company’s reliance on analytics, the financial support of analytic initiatives from the executives is relatively low. The analytics department is operating at the minimal capacity and when a member becomes ill or cannot continue working for some reason work often stalls. However, as a possible solution, the analytics team is developing a proposal for expansion to avoid such issues. It is likely that it will be approved in the near future due to the high importance of the department.
Ability to Get Data
The primary method of data gathering for the Aramark Corporation is sending out surveys. While before the popularization of the internet, this process was slow, it was also easily understood by all parties. Currently, the company has to maintain both physical and electronic types of surveys, which slows the process of data gathering. When electronic surveys were first introduced, there was an attempt to fully transition to them, but a portion of our client-base was not able to adjust to the new system so to not lose their input, the old system was maintained. A possible solution to this issue could be in an automated survey scanner software that would analyze the paper versions of the surveys.
LaValle, S., Lesser, E., Shockley, R., Hopkins, M., & Kruschwitz, N. (2011). Big data, analytics and the path from insights to value. MIT Sloan Management Review, 52(2), 21–32.