An exploration of process variability and its management: a case study of four star hotels

Eggins, Timothy William (2013). An exploration of process variability and its management: a case study of four star hotels. University of Birmingham. D.B.A.

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This thesis suggests how service operations that experience arrival time and process duration variability can configure resources and design processes so that a throughput time appropriate for customers is maintained. It does this by exploring four star hotel operations, an under-researched area and uses observation, an under-used research method, to identify causes and reasons for variable throughput time. Several theories are brought together in a unique way to categorise and analyse the findings. The conclusion is that four star hotels can focus on reducing variability arising from their actions but that customer variability generally needs to be accommodated.

Customer variability is accommodated by using flexible capacity in the form of labour, space and equipment. Service encounters are shortened to allow employees to process customers more rapidly when demand is high. Physical space to contain customers is provided to allow them to exercise choice as to the length of time that they spend on activities. Labour is flexible and cross-trained; moving labour to satisfy demands of customers present is a key operational aim in hospitality. This is supported by ensuring that sufficient equipment and materials are provided to meet the needs of customers. Future research could be conducted to investigate approaches to influencing customer variability while maintaining perceived satisfaction with service.

The findings reveal useful insights for operations that experience variable arrival and processing rates. People are the greatest source and least controllable source of variability. It also confirms the utility of some key operations and service management theories.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > D.B.A.)
Award Type: Doctorates > D.B.A.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: Birmingham Business School
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management


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