Sweet & Simple Self Service

Yesterday afternoon I explained to my 12-year-old son how I envisioned him learning how to manage our employee break room. I told him I’d show him the ropes, and that if he eventually wanted to take it over, I could talk to our owners  to see if the would allow it.

My goal here is two-fold (at least). First of all, I think it will help give my son a much richer understanding of how the math he’s doing in school applies to the real world in terms of solving actual problems and/or making informed business decisions. If he likes it, maybe he can take over operations completely and make some money in the process.

Secondly, it gives me an opportunity to teach another person how the whole “activity system” works. After all, they say teaching is the best method for attaining deeper levels of knowledge about a subject matter. In turn, he might eventually train others to use the system, and would certainly be expected to provide input about how the system (all parts of it) could be improved over time.

So, we stopped by my office briefly yesterday so I could give him a high-level introduction to the operation. I started by showing him how to do “pull-forwards” on the inventory items, both in the drink cooler and on the dry goods rack. He jumped in and gladly did most of the work. No restocking was needed since it was the weekend, but I showed him where I keep the back stock of inventory.

We then found a key fob that we use in our lab, which I had my son use to create his personal account. He saw that he got 200 loyalty points ($2) as a bonus for signing up, after which he added $5 in value to his card by inserting cash into the bill acceptor. He then proceeded to purchase a Jamaican Lemonade and some Kansas City Bacon World Peas.

This was only the tip of the iceberg in terms of what he needs to know to help manage break room operations, but his feet are now wet (well, maybe just a little moist). I can hardly wait to show him all the other dimensions, such as running inventory movement reports, restocking, researching new items, adding new items to the database, making shelf labels, putting slow moving items on sale, and processing incoming orders.

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About burtaycock

Father of 2 great boys, interaction designer, doodler, student of life.
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