A Critical Analysis of the Implementation of Lean Principles in the Service Industry

4993 Words Feb 27th, 2012 20 Pages
A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF LEAN PRINCIPLES IN THE SERVICE INDUSTRY
The operational systems of organizations can be viewed as open systems, which interact with their respective environments on a continuous basis. In this context, these systems comprise synergetic and interdependent subsystems of input, process and output with the main objective of these systems being to efficiently and effectively deliver goods and/or services to their demanding customers (Yasin and Wafa, 2002). Confronting the challenges of global competition, companies have to reduce costs, improve quality, and meet their customers’ ever-changing needs (Canel et al., 2000). Even though lean techniques were developed for the manufacturing firms and
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However, Chase et al (1998) identified lean themes as total visibility; respect for people; flexibility; continuous improvement (kaizen); synchronisation and balance; responsibility for the environment and a holistic approach. These two are similar as one must have respect for people while specifying value by putting their needs into consideration, the value stream needs to be identified and made to flow continuously and this can be achieved through synchronisation and balancing, the pull system depicts the flexibility approach and lastly both emphasize continuous improvement.
The lean principles can be applied to service operations, as service operations are “organized systems of production processes” with the same potential for improvement through implementation of lean precepts as manufacturing operations (Benson, 1986 in Duclos et al., 1995). Manufacturing employ processes that add value to the inputs used in creating final products, which is in a way similar to services (Canel et al., 2000). Silvestro et al. (1993) classified service processes into three major headings of professional, service shop and mass. These three majors headings are further classified into six different dimensions of equipment/people focus as the main element of the service delivery is provided by equipment or people; customer contact time per transaction; the
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