1 Introduction 2
2 The Problem 2
3 Process design 3
Volume/variety requirements 3-6
Front and back office functions 6-7
Job design 8
Reducing queues/waiting time 9-10
4 Applicability to the investigation 10-12
5 Conclusion 12
6 Appendix one - Pareto Analysis 13
7 References 14-15
8 Appendix two - Assignment one 16
The first assignment contained in appendix two outlines a number of key challenges faced by Cobalt Housing.
The main issues include delays in the management of customer enquiries, responses are inconsistent, due to the range of staff involved, a high level of calls are transferred to the back office and there isn’t a clear divide between front and back office duties.
This assignment will focus on process design with particular emphasis on:-
The front office/back office functions, including some reference to office layout
Waiting times will also be considered, but not in any detail, given the word count constraints.
2 The problem
The current processes involved in Cobalt responding to front facing customer enquiries and a summary of the time delays is outlined in the first report in appendix two.
In addition, an Isikawa diagram or Pareto diagram, which is a quality tool, is useful to identify the main causes problems and potential causes. This is based on the idea that 20% of causes account for 80% of the problems (Madu, 2005). A Pareto diagram can also help service providers to better manage service delivery, as well as identify any areas which may be prone to fail (Khanh & Kanduampully, 2004).
A Pareto diagram for the operations challenge is contained in appendix one. This diagram indicates that the main issues relate to staffing, the environment, the lack of clear procedures/policies, the absence of a clear strategic approach to customer service delivery and technology to support service delivery.
Whilst this diagram is useful to identify the main issues, the difficulty is that the diagram can over simplify the problem, particularly if a large budgetary or time commitment is required to make changes.
3 Process design
Process design is concerned with conceiving the overall shape or nature of the process and their details workings (Slack & others, 2006).
Before looking at process design for the problem identified in appendix two, it is useful to provide a definition for Customer Contact. Chase (1978), concentrated on physical contact; however, it is important to clarify that in modern day, that customer contact can include face to face, use of the telephone or technology e.g. the internet. It is relevant to highlight this, as these types of contact make different demands on service delivery (Zomererdijk & Vries, 2007)
3.1 Process re-engineering
Hammer (1990) indicates that re-engineering cannot be planned in any detail or accomplished in small steps; however this “big bang” approach may present a risk to the organisation and Khanh & Kanduampully (2004) outline the importance of ensuring that processes are effective to assist the organisation to achieve both its operational and strategic objectives.
There are a number of principles to re-engineering, including placing the decision point where the work is performed, building an element of control into the process, having one person perform all steps within the process and capturing all information once and at source (Hammer, 1990).
A well designed system that specifies the way each process is to be carried out can potentially help to identify the roles and responsibilities of individuals as well as facilitating task repetition and the delivery of services in a consistent way (Khanh & Kanduampully, 2004)
Before embarking on a process of re-engineering it is important to consider the likely investment in technology and human resources (Ahire &