Applying lean philosophy to the redesign of service delivery process : A case study in the telecommunication industry

University essay from KTH/Industriell ekonomi och organisation (Inst.)

Abstract: Lean is an umbrella term for a powerful combination of techniques to maximize customer value by minimizing waste and achieving continuous flow through a sustainable culture of continuous improvement. The term ―lean is used in the U.S. for what was originally created as the "Toyota Production System" by the Japanese carmaker. It is so fashionable since it was born that it’s been widely used in the manufacturing industry during the past decades all over the world. No matter in the opinion of insiders or outsiders, this is a magical word stands for discovering and eliminating discreet wastes, reducing resources requirement and time demand for production, making the manufacturing process efficient and cost effective and eventually building the sustainable competitive advantage of the organization. There’s already a world of books discussing the implementations. But as for the service delivery process, especially within the telecom industry, there’s no qualitative research carried out to check the validation of lean tool yet. Most researchers still remain on the theoretical level, arguing and debating on the applicability. The objective of this research is to fill in this research niche, check the possibility of using lean tool, naming VSM, to study and redesign the service delivery process in a qualitative way. The research question comes to how to apply the tool in a qualitative way and exam the both sides of the coin. The author investigated on the service delivery process performance in the Business-As-Usual projects and the key performance indicators of the case company business unit to find out any inconsistencies. One of the powerful lean tools - VSM is used step by step, node by node to identify existing discreet wastes. Based on the lean philosophy and literature reviews, potential possible improvements are proposed to eliminate the wastes, afterwards an ideal new VSM is created, with which it is able to dramatically reduce the resources required to seize customer value, satisfy the same amount of customer demand, increase customer satisfaction, make the company focusing on continuous improvement, and in the end move the company to a higher position in the field with stronger competence to win more market share. This research work is conducted as a single case study under the lean philosophy by collecting and studying qualitative data using various semi-structured interviews and archival data analysis. Six applicable solutions to lead the organization lean is proposed, and based on which, a brand new Optimization Focus Matrix is introduced to have a broader applicability. Possible benefit, difficulties in implementation and potential risks are also presented. The thesis ends with conclusion, answer to the research questions and discussion on the thesis limitation & future research direction.

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