Engineered Management Processes

McAllister, Francis R.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 9
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2004
SYSTEM ENGINEERING Years ago, while attending Harvard's Advanced Management Program, Professor Robert Hayes introduced our class to the, then not-so-familiar, concept of systems engineering. First assignment-dinner at The Benihana of Tokyo Restaurant! Delighted, but a bit mystified with the assignment; we had dinner at Benihana. Back in class, Professor Hayes inquired about the assignment and persuaded us; that Rocky Aoki's business formula for Benihana was not necessarily Japanese cuisine, but rather the systematic way in which he moves more people-if you will, processes more people through his restaurants than his competition, by systematically linking all restaurant functions. For instance, the bar is a holding area in which patrons ideally wait no more, or no less, than 20 minutes. When seated, your table, which accommodates eight, is filled with eight even if you are a party of two. The Japanese chef is also the entertainment, and when, at the end, he cleans the grill, you are being subtly prompted that dinner is over. The bill accompanies ice cream, systematically delivered shortly thereafter. You are expected to pay promptly and depart, as there are eight more, mostly unacquainted, people who have waited 20 minutes in the bar, and who are assembled ready to be seated at your table. For me-this was electrifying. I understood the concept, concluded it was very powerful and felt prepared to conquer whatever, by means of its application. That was years ago and I can safely say I have yet to fully realize on the euphoria of that moment. Why? Well, I simply conclude: • The concept of systems engineering is simple and not revolutionary, but The application of systems engineering is far from simple and is revolutionary.
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