The paper, Rethinking Lean Service by John Seddon and Brendan O’Donovan examines the progress of factory thinking in the service management literature, with its emphasis on standardization and off-shoring in order to achieve economies of scale and reduce unit costs. It has immense implications and consequences for management in organizations. It is a masterful re-inspection of lean in the light of the latest learning in systems thinking.
This paper argues that the advancement in the study of Lean, which is creating more value for customers with fewer resources, has helped to focus on the same basic management assumptions, by managing cost and workers’ activity, organizational performance is likely to improve. It further argues that lean is included into the business as usual of conventional service management. As a result, lean became identical with process efficiency and the opportunity for significant performance improvement as demonstrated by Toyota was lost (Seddon et al. 34). By revising the ideas behind Ohno’s Toyota Production System, a systems service management archetype, Core Paradigm, is instead proposed as an alternative. It also explains the emergence and codification of lean after archetype.
The literature about the differences between manufacturing and service management is given, discussing that service organizations should be treated differently to manufacturing organizations. Therefore, it was concluded that the organizations must be understood and managed as systems; the change is treated as emergent rather than planned (Seddon et al. 34).
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