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Gr 12 IB - BM Field Trip - Annamrita

On the 1st of September 2017,  IB Business Management Students visited the Anamrita Centre in Tardeo. Anamrita is an NGO that produces Mid-May meals for Municipal Schools in Mumbai; it is associated with the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISCKON) trust. The Centre was run by Dr. Ravindra Khatanhar, a retired dentist and part of Administrative Advisors of the Anamrita Project. We were hosted by Ms. Madhuria, the daughter of Dr. Khatanhar, who you assumed the role of Lead Resource Mobilization Manager.

This field trip was extremely unique because other than increased awareness about the cause,  through discussions with Ms. Madhuria and an exclusive tour of the facility we got to learn about the Business concept of Operations Management. We began with an interesting discussion about the background of the ‘Mid-day Meal’ Product. In 1995, the government ruled that free in-school meals were compulsory to incentivize children from low-income families to go to school. However the teaching faculty became increasingly involved with preparation of meals and the quality of education suffered. These mid-day meals had to prepared with the staple ingredient of that region so that the children would be comfortable with the food and costs could be controlled, in Maharashtra this ingredient was rice and so Mid-Day Meals had to be different variations of rice preparations.

After an enriching discussion about nature of the product and the inspiring vision of the organization, we were taken on a tour of the kitchens. Ms. Madhuria gave us a lot of interesting trivia about large-scale food kitchen; such as the meals produced were steamed which adds to the nutritional value of the meals. We went on to enter the kitchen and learn about the protocols taken to ensure safety and hygiene in the work place; we had to fill out a form revealing any infectious diseases that we had and put on hair-nets and aprons before entering the kitchen. We were really impressed by the advanced cooking utensils like insulated containers in the kitchen considering that the whole initiative was funded by donations. We learned about the cooking process and were shocked by the high level of output where 80,000 children were fed by this centre. We also learned about quality control measures like the extensive rice cleaning process.

We also saw their store room and got a sense of their stock management process, we were taught about how the stock was organized so that the FIFO (first in first out) system could be implemented and quality like freshness of the food could be maintained.  What impressed most students was the colour-coded, child-friendly locks on the food containers, they were colour coded to denote the food they contained and how many it served and child-friends so that students could open and distribute it themselves. Additionally, this tour not only enlightened us about the operations concept in business but also shed light on topics like human resources and stakeholder conflict.

After our tour we had an insightful discussion with Dr. Khatanhar who informed us of the functional limitations of a charity like conducting for-profit activity, and also about the malpractices and corruption in the industry.

So all in all, this was an extremely unconventional way of learning about operations but proved to be extremely effective and memorable! I think I speak for all the business management students when I say that  Learning the practicalities of how businesses manage their operations department in sync with all the other departments will really enhance our theoretical knowledge.