Meal-kit delivery business UCOOK was launched just five short years ago with a clear mission to support local, small-scale food producers. With the onset of lockdown, the relationship with this artisanal supply chain has been brought to the fore as small businesses battle to make ends meet. It’s this challenge that has given rise to UCOOK’s most recent offering, the UCOOK Market Box.

UCOOK CEO David Torr says that the company feels a responsibility to assist in providing a lifeline for small farms and businesses to ensure their survival. “The Market Box has created a way for many of these small businesses and farmers to sell produce that would ultimately have gone to waste. We have purposefully maintained a very low margin on the box which allows UCOOK to pay the smaller suppliers what they are due. In addition, we’re sourcing products from many small outlets meaning that the box has the capacity to support multiple suppliers of the same product.”

The UCOOK Market Box was developed in partnership with the Oranjezicht City Farm Market in Cape Town and brings the freshest seasonal ingredients and artisanal food products directly to the homes of Cape customers. The contents of the box changes weekly to embrace seasonality and reduce wastage, but always includes a curated selection of organically grown fruits and vegetables, pasture-reared meats, line-caught fish, GMO-free pastured eggs, fresh dairy, artisanal bread and other local ingredients.

Market Box procurement manager Ryan Ausker adds that “This project aims to showcase the incredible work farmers and food producers do in our communities. By supporting regenerative farming practices we can revolutionise our local food system and have a meaningful impact on people’s livelihoods”.

Customers have a choice of a Large or Medium Market Box, or speciality Vegetarian and Plant Based Box offerings. Prices start at R850 and each Box is designed to supply a family with up to 4 days’ worth of fresh market produce. Customers also have the option to add on a specially curated selection of artisanal food products to their Boxes.

Source: (SA Wine Industry, 2020)

UCOOK made a contribution during COVID-19 and has continued to grow and expand their business operations.
Exercising control is vital in ensuring that UCOOK market box delivers to high standards. Outline the control process for UCOOK market box by including realistic examples for each step (8)
Describe any six (6) criteria required for effective control (6)
The article states that different products are included in each week’s box. Explain the different types of decisions and suggest which type of decision is used to decided what is included in each box. Motivate your answer (12)

Due to COVID-19 the Oranjezicht farmer’s market experienced issues.
Conduct an analysis of the market environment for UCOOK market basket by identifying, explaining and applying the elements to the article (for UCOOK)

Ryan Ausker is procurement manager at market box.
Outline the skills he needs to possess to successfully perform his functions. Include examples related to the article for each skill (9)
Based on the article, identify which level of management David Torr and Ryan Ausker are respectively (2)
Differentiate between the levels of management identified in question (3.2) by considering the following factors: responsibility, main function, time orientation, positions held, and time spent on management functions (10)
Explain how UCOOK’s market basket is adding value to consumers and helping the business obtain a competitive advantage. Your discussion must include a general description of the services as well as a discussion on the primary activities (8)

Management theory is an important component of understanding business behaviour.
Since the start of COVID-19 and the subsequent levels of lockdowns the way in which farmers at the Oranjezicht market operates, and the inclusion of their products at UCOOK changed.
Illustrate and explain the congruence model of organisational behaviour in the context of this article.

Answers on the Above Case Study on UCOOK

Answer 1: Quality can be achieved through effective control measures in operations and in the given case study of UCOOK, the role and implication of the control process is significant for the company in ensuring quality delivery of its services to the end customers. Control process that can be utilised by the company includes establishing standards, performance measurement process, comparing the actual performance with that of this standard and taking corrective actions to achieve further improvement over the performance.

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