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Lean Services: Appropriateness of Cellular Operations in Information Intensive Services

Gliatis, V. and Minis, I.

Accepted for publication in Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 2017


We investigate the appropriateness of cellular work structures for information intensive services under a wide range of conditions. In this study, we also consider important and unique service characteristics, such as the relationship of operator performance and workload or overwork. The approach uses experimental design and discrete event simulation. The results favor the cellular structure in service environments in which a) significant reductions in key operational parameters may be achieved by introducing work cells, such as in setup time, in task duplication, and in the number of administrative layers; b) no severe bottlenecks emerge; c) operators are cross-skilled; d) high information dependencies exist amongst tasks. The study concludes by citing important managerial implications that service managers and consultants need to consider before embarking into the establishment of cells.

Keywords: Cellular operations, lean services, lean cells, office cells, experimental design with simulation, state-dependent service operations