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Management Journal Analysis: Customer Service

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Management Journal Analysis: Customer Service

Nancy Beth Suyak

University of Phoenix


To say organizational success is not dependent on its customer services is like saying crops in a field can survive without water. In every industry, there is some form of customer service. More and more organizations are "establishing lean compliance approaches as means of improving operational performance and enjoying subsequent higher standards of customer service" (White, 2001, p. 44). By taking a lean approach, manufacturing companies are revolutionizing product supply. Supply companies are minimizing cost associated with overhead expenses. Business is becoming less dependent on inaccurate forecasting and more dependent on real time demands. This paper analyzes four scholarly articles associated with customer service and the effects lean compliance is having on organizations and the customer services provided by them.

Analysis 1

The first article chosen, Lean compliance: Improving customer service and operation performance in a regulated environment by Tom White, gives insight to lean compliance, improving customer service and operation performance in a regulated environment. Specifically, this article looks at health care manufacturing. White (2001) explains the present issues with service problems and back orders. "The total impact on business is significant, not just in terms of performance, but in terms of establishing new products and maintaining marketplace reputation" (p. 44). One issue, which is a constant, lies in forecasting product demand. White continues, "no matter how hard organizations try, forecasting remains inaccurate. This makes it impossible to get products released and to the customers on time" (p. 44). The opportunity of positive organizational impact is not to be underestimated. An example of a positive impact was "a European vision care company did a 6-month improvement programme, Back orders reduced 93% and European supple chain inventory 40%" (p. 44). This showed, in manufacturing and compliance, a lean approach could revolutionize supply and customer demand. A challenge had by the pharmaceutical manufacturing company was the changing demands of the customer. Product demand is the driver for forecasting and production. Unfortunately, using a forecast approach only results in problems in production because forecasting is still estimation.

"Lean manufacturing delivers improved service and reduced cost by turning traditional improvement paradigms on their heads. Rather than delivering service by trying to predict demand, lean manufacturing looks to shorten supply lead times, making planners less dependent on forecast accuracy and more able to respond to real time demand" (White, 2001, p. 45). From manufacturing viewpoint, stationary production produces unnecessary expense for the company. From storage to handling and inspection, every aspect comes at a cost. White continues, "lean compliance builds on this knowledge and realizes benefits by creating aligned and effective processes" (2001, p. 45). A result seen from using this approach has been a decrease in the number of batch failures.

The lean manufacturing results in less handing of paperwork associated with batch. There are "fewer movements, tracking, expediting, and quality problems" with the manufacturing (White, 2001, p. 46). These changes result in a reduction of cost and lead-time. To see the opportunities lean manufacturing, there are two more concepts viewed: "the use of forecasting to condition supply chain inventory and e-kanban systems to trigger replenishment" (White, 2001, p. 46). When looking at the use of forecasting to condition supply chain, they use forecasting to drive production. Problems lie in the fact forecasting is never precise. Issues such as, "supply lead time, variability in supply reliability, the variability in demand, and volume of demand," make forecasting a failure (White, 2001, p. 46). The other concept is triggering replenishment.

The component of the inventory supply chain is replenishment of consumed supplies. "Kanban is where a signal to production that a fixed amount of product was consumed and needs to be resupplied" (White, 2001, p. 47). In the pharmaceutical manufacturing warehouse, there are thousands of SKUs (stock keeping units) in use and handled concurrently. The e-kanban system could simplify the replenishing process. The lean compliance approach is successful because it "addresses and deals with root causes of supply chain failures and cost associated with regulated supply chain" (White, 2001, p. 47). Being compliant and innovative is not enough because customer service is the source in keeping the competitive edge in the industry.

The solutions discussed in this article show changes are good and can be beneficial to the overall customer services. Customers would be getting their orders in a timely manner and organizations would be minimizing cost because supply chains would work on the real time demand of the product and not the estimated forecast of the consumer need.

Analysis 2

The second article chosen, Conflicts in the work-family interface: Links to job stress, customer service employee performance, and customer purchase intent by Richard G. Netemeyer, James G. Maxham III, and Chris Pullig, gives insight to job related factors, which effect customer service employee performance and customer evaluations. Specifically, this article reviews the stressors, which trigger job stress and how the stress affects job performance. "The changing workforce and the nature of the work itself have given rise to conflicts in the work-family interface that may affect the work performance of employees and organizations" (De Jonge & Dorrmann, 2003). An issue, which is common in customer service employees, is the tendency to take work home with them. This creates work-family conflict resulting in additional stress at work. The additional stress affects employee performance and evaluations completed by customers.

"The USA Today reports 32% of employees interviewed indicated balancing work and family demands was the leading job-related concern" (Armour, 2002). Given the state of fear, many employees have about job security, issues at home and the demands of balancing both, does permeate the work life and affect job performance. The article examines two stressors, work-family conflict (WFC) and family-work conflict (FWC) and its affect on customer purchase



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