Do You Really Need to Know What Business Service Management?

Business Service Management is an approach for managing information technology that also covers technology investments of the business to track, monitor, manage and view the investment side of technology as well as the operational side of technology from the perspective of the business. It helps to increase the business value for better management performance of information technology and business processes.

Business Service Management solutions help to bring the business perspective and context to the IT environment to understand how their IT infrastructure and technology investments support the business. From an administrative point of view, it really comes down to minimizing or even making invisible the functional processes of the technology and focusing on what IT service management does in a business capacity. The business executive needs to understand what the technology is doing without making it necessary to understand all about the basic technology itself. There are many software based companies describing different offers around business service management. There are many BSM software vendors who concentrate on the business process layer and typically come out of a specific business vertical where they understand all the business processes that make work for that particular industry.

Business Service Management is about the integration of systems management with business management. It is the creation of service level agreements and operation level agreements underpinning companies rights, rules, contracts, policies and thresholds for business services, applications, processes, activities and transactions much the same way it’s done for a server based and or network based application and devices. Business service management helps to enable technology based operations and support staff with empowering information which would help to understand the impact on the business. It also useful to technology at all levels prioritizes restoration, improve communication and establish deeper relationships with their business peers.

Lastly, BSM is all about delivering and maintaining quality IT and business services, applications, processes, activities and transactions to the business so business goals and objectives are met according to requirements.

Now you may realize that it’s really important to know about BSM as it can define and describe your business processes, discover and map the business processes to IT components, measure end-to-end performance for business processes, measure the reasons for downtime and its business impact and create dependency maps and maintain relationships between business processes and IT components automatically.

The Time Management Game in the Restaurant & Food Services Industries

A well known experienced restaurateur once summarized the restaurant, night club and affiliated food industries as “In the restaurant business you (the owner) have to be there (on-site on the premises inspecting and supervising). Otherwise the hams start walking out of the freezer all by themselves. This may be one way of looking at the food service trade yet at the end of the many restaurants, cafe and bistro owners may wonder who got the best deal. For all the hours put in they just as well worked for someone else and not had the headaches and responsibilities owning and running a business entails. Putting in such hours is not only hard or impossible on a family life, but in the end may well work out to a wage below the minimum wage of their state per employee hour worked.

How can an owner of such a business manage and juggle their workload so that all in they are putting in reasonable and human work time hours?

It is common and popular route now for those wanting, or always wanting “to open a restaurant” to go the franchise route. It is not so much that you are buying a restaurant or any other business when you purchase a franchise. It is that the purchaser is obtaining for the value of his money proven systems. It is the systems that are on the table – not the food service or hospitality business.

Two areas of emphasis that owners and operators typically spend a fair amount of time and wasted time every working day are firstly time spent with vendors and suppliers.

The second is in the preparation of ingredients themselves or on items that lack profitability for their venture.

For purchasing one stop shopping and automated point of sale systems are the way to go. Sure its as if you are driving all over town getting the best bargain – however in most cases your most limited commodity overall of yourself in your business is your time. Time wasted is not only money thrown down the sink but also your precious, limited time squandered. Make it a point to try to deal with one vendor only or in the cases of specialty items – as few vendors as possible, and on an appointment basis only. Preferably on top of that you can schedule one block of time per week – at your preference for that purpose.

Food preparation is another area where time can be saved even if you feel that you must make “everything from scratch”. Often owners and managers of food and hospitality service industries not “leveraging” their suppliers enough or “reinventing the wheel” when if they only asked their favorite suppliers or even outside specialty providers if they might not supply basically that identical product or service.

In the end delegation and systems employed can both save your business as well as your health and sanity.

Business and Industry in Coventry

During World War II in the middle of the 20th century Coventry had the dubious honour of being the UKs third most bombed city after London and Plymouth. The reason that Coventry was so heavily targeted during the war was its industrial base in munitions and military vehicle production. Sadly, as with so many other UK cities, that industrial production base has virtually disappeared leaving only a few truly industrial scale companies operating in the city. Having played an important role in the UK motor industry for many decades with such illustrious names as: Hillman, Standard, Rolls Royce and Triumph – cars, motor-bikes and pedal cycles. Coventry now only produces vehicles for niche markets following the recent closure of the French owned Peugeot car production plant at Ryton. Coventry city council is currently securing inward investment to attract new businesses to replace those that have disappeared or are in decline.

Car production does continue in Coventry, although for how long is a matter of much speculation. Although currently owned by the Ford Motor Company, Jaguar has its corporate headquarters in a production facility at its Browns Lane site in Allesley. Since opening in 1941 it has become the main veneer production plant for Jaguar cars, as well as having its head offices and heritage centre. At nearby Whitley is the Jaguar Design, Research & Development Centre, where all the companies engineering work is carried out. In total, Jaguar employs over 2500 people in the city. Ford Motor Company is currently trying to sell off Jaguar, in order to clear other company debts. One of the most familiar sites in all major UK towns and cities is the famous black cab or Hackney taxis. These are made by the LTI company who are based at Holyhead Road in Coventry. LTI have been making taxis for sixty years, in which time over 100,000 have rolled off their production line. LTI employs nearly 500 people at its production plant, making it a significant employer in the city. Formed by the amalgamation of two companies and now owned by AGCO, Massey-Ferguson is one of the best known manufacturers of farm tractors in the world. They began making tractors in Coventry in the early 1950s and now have their headquarters in Stoneleigh, near Kenilworth. The company now makes tractors and a range of combine harvesters and quad bikes.

Ericssons is a telecommunications company with premises in the New Century Park, not far from the city centre. Having subsumed the former Marconi and GPT works in the city, it now employs over 2000 people, manufacturing and engineering networking and switching gear for international telecommunications clients. Another international telecommunications company – Cable and Wireless – has its UK training centre in the business park at Warwick University, on the outskirts of the Coventry. The headquarters for Dunlop Aerospace are located in Coventry to the north of the city near the M6 junction 3 at Longford. Where it not only manufactures aerospace braking systems but also designs and markets them. It currently has contracts for braking systems to BAE, Lockheed-Martin and the Airbus A380 aeroplanes.

Along with many other cities that have seen their manufacturing base eroded over recent years, Coventry has attracted some service industries to the area to provide alternative jobs. Being very close to the centre of England and having excellent motorway links to the rest of the country, Coventry has become a major distribution centre for many delivery and courier companies. Parcel Force has its national depot at Coventry whilst TNT, DHL, ANC and UPS all have depots in the city employing several hundred people in all.

Coventry has a long association with the textiles industry, particularly wool and silk, dating back to medieval times. Whilst several small textiles companies remain in Coventry it is currently best known for its Courtaulds factory and the development the Grafil carbon-fibre that is used in sports and automotive equipment and Tencel – the cellulose fibre made from wood-pulp.

As well as the textiles industry, Coventry was, up to the mid 19th century, the centre of watch-making in the UK. During its heyday in the early 1800s it employed over 75,000 people and was making 200,000 watches a year. As the century progressed watch making declined, the market becoming flooded with imports from the USA, until by the turn of the century the trade had all but ceased. Many workers went on to find employment in the rapidly developing bicycle manufacturing businesses, which at his time employed nearly 40,000 people in Coventry alone. In time some of these workers quite probably went on to become the founding workers in the new motor car industry. By 1910 there were dozens of car manufacturers in Coventry, with long forgotten names like: Iden, Centaur and Aurora. Some other companies were more enduring such as: Humber, Rover and from 1928 – Jaguar.

Service Industry Lean Manufacturing – Implementation Guide

Non-manufacturing industries have not embraced lean manufacturing to the same extent as those producing a product. Some service industries have found the same principles apply, although the use of lean manufacturing tools is different.

For example, a value added analysis is just as easily conducted with a worker talking on the telephone as someone using one.

The 5S tool can be used to organize the surroundings in the telemarketing office. All materials the telemarketer uses should be organized and within reach without having leave the area. This 5S organization enables the telemarketer to continuously utilize any material in front of them as well as keep an eye on a computer.

The same SMED tools can be used with a administrative assistant as a machine operator. The process map and movement will show the waste in each. The assistant’s travel shows the motion waste. The waiting waste is often huge in any white collar or service job. For example, the waste from waiting on a colleague, manager, supplier, or anyone else can be eliminated. There are ways to minimize it by removing the root cause as well as finding activities to fill the time. These activities should be of short duration, such as data entry, filing, or printing.

Line balancing is easy in a service environment. The key is flexibility. For example, two tellers at a bank may be required 6 out of 8 hours per day, but the trained lean expert or industrial engineer is required to notice it. The additional two hours of waste comes in buckets of 1-2 minutes throughout the day. Again, this time must be filled with value added activities in a standard work format. If the job isn’t standardized, the two individuals may absorb the time and appear 100% busy. There are many other instances where job combinations are obvious.

The value stream map is an excellent tool for service industries. Rather than the traditional macro level view of the system, the value stream map can be used in a department or area of the business. An example would be the service desk at a department store. Begin with the information flow and trigger for activity, which might be a customer. Break the map into various segments showing the few activities that comprise 90% of the work, such as returned goods, request for information, or complaints. Standardized Operations should be utilized for returned goods to minimize motion and waiting, such as a decision flow diagram. If the manager is called a large percentage of the time, the decision flow diagram needs improved. Obviously the 5S and SMED tools are also relevant, as well as root cause problem solving to eliminate the complaints.

Service industries often use kanbans without knowing it, such as ordering supplies. The same pull systems can be used in service industries as the manufacturing sector. The supply distribution center is one obvious example. Inventory waste can be eliminated using pull systems beginning with the end downstream customer.
When implementing lean manufacturing in a service industry, it is important to tailor the training to the business. Most SMED (single minute exchange of die) training is developed using examples of setup activities for equipment. It is easier for people to understand and see the waste in their processes when the training has obvious applicability.

One of the best long term lean manufacturing tools to apply in a service industry is the kaizen event. Kaizen means “incremental improvement” in Japanese. The kaizen team is comprised of a cross functional team developed to quickly and substantially improve a business issue. For example, a kaizen might be developed to reduce hospital check in time for testing. The team might include the individuals conducting the check-in, a nurse, manager, an IT representative, and a couple customers. If the average check in time is 35 minutes (the elapsed time from walking into the building until seated in a private room), the kaizen objective might be to reduce the check in time to 20 minutes within 5 days.

Cellular manufacturing can be used in many service businesses. Rather than placing individual pieces of equipment such as the postage meter, copier, fax, and file drawer throughout the area for everyone to use (and wait on), consider placing these items together in a U shaped cell to minimize movement.

The “One Piece Flow” concept is a great tool for processing items such as quotes, bills, or mail pieces. For example, if four people must review a quote, and the first person processes 500 prior to moving to the second individual, and so on, the cycle time is going to be very long. Also, if the fourth person notices a mistake the other three missed, all 500 are bad and much labor was spent unnecessarily. Moving the piece in a flow of “one” or in small batches minimizes the error cost and reduces cycle time.

Service industries have a terrific opportunity to reduce waste. Sometimes it is simple and obvious, while other times it takes the same creativity as in the factory.