Title: Enhancing resource utilisation in service industries: the application of the Vanguard Method of systems thinking

Authors: Ayham Jaaron; Chris J. Backhouse; Susan C. Morton

Addresses: Industrial Engineering Department, An-Najah National University, P.O. Box 7, Nablus, West Bank, Palestine ' Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, UK ' Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, UK

Abstract: The headwind of the global economic crisis on organisations is dictating a new form of more economically viable and sustainable models of operation. However, many of the really innovative models of operation take place in the softer re-working of certain consultancy-led systems methodologies. This paper examines the Vanguard Method (Seddon, 2003) as applied to service operations by investigating its impact on organisational resource utilisation and cost reduction. Two longitudinal case studies, carried out over two and a half years, were conducted in two UK private sector organisations using semi-structured interviews, at different levels, followed by the collection of documentary evidence. The case studies show significant improvement in their organisational ability to utilise resources and reduce costs. In addition, analysis shows that demand predictability, waste reduction, and demand one stop resolution were the main factors associated with cost reduction. The value of this paper is the identification of factors promoting the cost reduction of applying the Vanguard Method to service organisations. [Received 6 August 2012; Revised 3 April 2013; Revised 11 September 2013; Accepted 11 September 2013]

Keywords: Vanguard Method; systems thinking; resource utilisation; cost reduction; service operations; service design; waste reduction; demand predictability; one stop resolution; longitudinal case studies; services; UK; United States.

DOI: 10.1504/EJIE.2014.066938

European Journal of Industrial Engineering, 2014 Vol.8 No.6, pp.861 - 883

Available online: 15 Jan 2015 *

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