The Southeastern Theater Company

By Gagnon, Roger | Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies, July 2014 | Go to article overview

The Southeastern Theater Company


Gagnon, Roger, Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies


CASE DESCRIPTION

The case concerns planning job/staffing needs and schedules for employees and management for a medium-size movie theater. The students are required to: (1) analyze the amount of time required to perform work activities; (2) recognize that the amount of work and time required may differ by season, day, or even hour; (3) recognize that particular work activities can only be performed by certain classes of workers or management; (4) calculate how many employees of each type are needed to complete the work required; and (5) create feasible schedules for each type of employee. This case is designed for level three and up and is appropriate for undergraduate juniors and beyond. The case can be taught in two class hours in an operations management, production management, services management, or human resources management course. It is expected to require about three hours of outside preparation and necessitates familiarity with spreadsheet software

CASE SYNOPSIS

One of the more difficult, but necessary, business areas to instruct is : how to design jobs--how to combine work tasks, not on an assembly line, into jobs; how many employees to have for each job category; and how to schedule them on a seasonal, daily, and even hourly basis. Production/operations text offer suggestions (e.g., job enrichment, job enlargement, team assignments), but few specific examples, problems, or cases are available. This case portrays an environment that all students have visited-a movie theater. The case requires the students to recognize the various job skills required; determine the amount of time required to perform various work activities and that this capacity can fluctuate by season, day, or hour; calculate how many employees of each type are needed to complete the work required; and create feasible work schedules for each type of employee.

COMPANY HISTORY AND OPERATIONS

Because of the growth in cinema attendance and revenues Wendell Carrington and Bill Meyers, formerly involved in restaurant and hotel management, established The Southeastern Theater Company (SETC) in 1995 in Atlanta, Georgia. Their dream was now to design, build, and operate movie theaters throughout the Southeast; they currently own and manage 15 such theaters with revenues exceeding $50 million. Typically their theaters have 15 or 18 screening rooms and have been located in larger, southern cities (e.g., Atlanta, Georgia; Orlando, Florida; and Memphis, Tennessee). Their newest design, which seems to fit well in medium-sized cities, their new target market; adjusts for the recent, national economic decline; and requires less land at lower costs. It incorporates a 12-screen theater having digital, surround sound and stadium seating in all showing rooms. The problem facing the SETC owners and senior management is how many employees are needed to operate such a theater in their newly constructed, Charlottesville, Virginia location. The employee staffing decisions for this theater will be the template used for other theaters of the same design. Management acknowledges that a general manager is needed, but is uncertain as to how many assistant managers, ticket sales employees, projectionists, ticket collectors, and concession workers are needed. Management also recognizes that the staffing needs are not simply proportional to the number of screening rooms or total number of theater seats, since the new theater design has fewer screening rooms, each with less seating capacity than those of SETC's other theaters, yet the total weekly operating hours will be the same.

THE MOVIE INDUSTRY

The U.S. cinema industry has experienced steady revenue growth, expanding from $4.9 billion in 1992 to $9.5 billion in 2002 (Motion Picture Association, 2002). Admissions have grown from 1.2 billion to 1.6 billion annually (Motion Picture Association, 2002). During July 2002, 107 million Americans (45%) reported going to the movies (at least once) that month. …

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