Applying lean enterprise principles to optimize delivery of customer service
Author(s)McClellan, Hannah Elizabeth
Leaders for Manufacturing Program.
Deborah J. Nightingale and Stephen C. Graves.
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Many companies have realized significant value through the application of lean principles to manufacturing and supply chain operations. Dell Inc. in particular garnered international fame for its ability to manufacture and deliver computers using a lean, direct-to-customer approach that provided a tremendous competitive advantage. The Author suggests that these same lean principles can be applied to improve a firm's service and support operations, while acknowledging some important nuances of applying lean in a customer service environment. The Author calls to light a key differentiator between lean manufacturing and lean customer service. Specifically, while customers use relatively consistent value systems to assess manufacturing operations, different customer segments typically value customer service in very different ways. Thus, lean customer service must begin by thoroughly characterizing the value expectations and contributions of each customer segment. After characterizing these value systems, a firm must design a support channel architecture aligned with the value exchange system of the entire customer population. After designing a lean channel architecture, lean principles may be tactically applied to optimize performance within individual channels. This research project focused on improving customer service operations at Dell by using lean principles to: 1. Establish a data-driven, strategic architecture for Dell's consumer support division and 2. Identify operational improvement opportunities to drive the tactical execution of that strategy. The project began with a benchmarking study of customer service strategies at companies such as Best Buy, Apple, Fed-Ex, Amazon.com, GM, and Comcast.(cont.) The Author then proposes a "Lean Support Channel Architecture" using on-line and retail service channels to offload demand from the call centers, effectively eliminating waste from call centers. Finally, the Author examines how lean principles can be tactically applied to a retail service channel to enable the cost-effective delivery of retail support in line with the support channel architecture proposed.
Thesis (M.B.A.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management; and, (S.M.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Engineering Systems Division; in conjunction with the Leaders for Manufacturing Program at MIT, 2008.Includes bibliographical references (p. 73-74).
DepartmentLeaders for Manufacturing Program at MIT; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering Systems Division; Sloan School of Management
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sloan School of Management., Engineering Systems Division., Leaders for Manufacturing Program.