Kristen’s Cookie Company (A1) Harvard Case Solution & Analysis


As we can see there are one tray, one mixer, and one oven at present; consequently, during processing time, the mixer is idle. As mixer has a good capacity to contain three dozen mixtures at once, therefore the mixer is not needed. Buying an oven at our own expense is also not feasible as this is just a start up. As a result, there is a need to buy tray but the number of trays should not exceed more than three.

kristen cookie case study solution

kristen cookie case study solution


The cookie production capacity depends on the output of the bottleneck, which  is the oven in the case of Kristen. It is evident by the baking time that the oven takes 9 minutes for processing the orders. Kristen can rent out another oven only if there is good number of orders. In case Kristen is getting a good number of orders, then the oven can be taken on rent, which will help Kristen in processing two orders simultaneously, almost doubling the cookie baking process with the same processing time.


a.      Managing Business without Room mate

If Kristen plans to manage the business on her own, then she has to do all tasks. This becomes 8 minutes cycle time for Kristen and 4 minutes for her roommate. Together, this makes 12 minutes that exceeds the 10 minutes time calculated for each dozen processing. In this case, Kristen’s operational bottleneck is causing further delay in the process. This brings a new capacity to the process and now the new hourly capacity according to the time taken becomes 60 / 12 = 5 dozen cookies in one hour. Nevertheless, the total idle time will decline as nobody will be sitting idle.

b.      Rush Order versus Crash Priority

There should be no premiums for the rush order, as the tray is already in the oven. By the time, the cookies bake, the mixing and cleaning for the crash priority will be done. Then they can add the next slot into the oven without compromising on the rush order even.

c.       Delivery Time and Safety Margin

As noted earlier, the total process from mixing and spooning to collection of receipt takes a total of 26 minutes.  This means that a dozen orders will be completed in 26 minutes and so the delivery time will be 26 minutes. However, for the safety margin for one dozen  while anticipating any mishap, may be 2 to 3 minutes depending on the severity of the situation. Safety precaution is very important because the customer will be very happy if he receives an order before time, but he will be very angry if the order is delayed even for a minute. Therefore, in the case of one dozen order or two dozen orders, the safety margin must be kept.

For example, if the crash priority order comes in when the rush order is placed in the oven. This will now take more time. So, Kristen needs to add in more time for the delivery now e.g. 10 minutes (per dozen processing capacity hourly) in the regular order delivery time. This makes the delivery time for the crash priority order to be 36 minutes.

d.      Factors to be considered

If the cookie business attracts new customers and increases demand for new orders at present; then it can be considered to expand the cookie business. Initially, customers may be given a door to door try so as to promote the cookie business, and the tag line of the business should be “oven fresh”, “Right from the oven in your hands”. This will benefit Kristen in promotional activities for the new cookie business. Once the demand is high, there should be a plan to buy another oven out to improve the process and prevent operational bottleneck.

e.       Standard cookies: Production System and order taking process

This type of production is subject to the issues of low price and stale, which will go against what Kristen has planned for her business. This will mean that the client can buy cookies at anytime by themselves rather than placing orders except for the case when there is a huge order at disposal. As there will be no more customized cookies, due to standard cookies; therefore, if....................................

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