The Production Line Approach
The production line approach pioneered by McDonald’s refers to more than just the steps required to assemble a Big Mac. Rather as Theodore Levitt notes it is treating the delivery of fast food as a manufacturing process rather than a service process The value of this philosophy is that it overcomes many of the problems inherent in the concept of service itself. That is service implies subordination or subjugation of the server to the served; manufacturing on the other hand avoids this connotation because it focuses on things rather than people. Thus in manufacturing and at McDonald the orientation is
toward the efficient production of results. not on the attendance on others.” Levitt notes that besides McDonald’s marketing and financial skills. the company carefully controls the execution of each outlet’s central function-the rapid delivery of a con tenthly uniform high-quality mix of prepared foods in an environment of obvious cleanliness order. and cheerful courtesy The systematic substitution of equipment for people. combined with the carefully planned use and positioning of technology enables McDonald’s to attract and hold patronage in proportions no predecessor or imitator has managed to duplicate Levitt cites several aspects of McDonald’s operations to illustrate the concepts.
- The McDonald’s french fryer allows cooking of the optimum number of french fries at one time.
- A wide-mouthed scoop is used to pick up the precise amount of french fries for each order size. (The employee never touches the product.)
- Storage space is expressly designed for a predetermined mix of prepackaged and remeasured products.
- Cleanliness is pursued by providing ample trash cans in and outside each facility (and the larger outlets have motorized sweepers for the parking area).
- Hamburgers are wrapped in color-coded paper.
- Through painstaking attention to total design and facilities planning everything is built integrally into the (McDonald’s) machine itself-into the technology of the system. The only choice available to the attendant is to operate it exactly as the designers intended.