Rethinking Lean Service Paper

This paper by John Seddon, Brendan O’Donovan and Keivan Zokaei (originally developed for a Warwick University course) explores the development of ‘factory thinking’ in the service management literature, with its emphasis on standardisation and off-shoring in order to achieve economies of scale and reduce unit costs. It argues that the development of the ‘lean’ movement continued this focus on managing cost and activity. As a result, ‘lean’ became synonymous with ‘process efficiency’ and the opportunity for significant performance improvement as exemplified by Toyota was lost. By revisiting the ideas behind Ohno’s Toyota Production System, a systems service management archetype is instead proposed as an alternative.


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