Implementing Lean Principles in an IT-Helpdesk Process Design

Essay, 2016

10 Pages, Grade: 1,3


Implementing Lean Principles in an IT-Helpdesk Process Design

Heiko Filthuth

Abstract: Considering main factors influencing the design of a service process along with lean principles on the example of a company’s IT-Helpdesk reveals a modified shop model to be most beneficial to the process. The present setup and objectives of stakeholders are explained and design characteristics such as volume, variety, variation, and visibility, as well as performance objectives in quality, speed, dependability, flexibility, and costs are discussed. Regarding the strategy performance objectives, a negotiation between the different targets is deemed most promising, as samples show. Particularly the application of different lean principles helps improving the process, although their use for a service process requires some interpretation.

The Manufacturing and Service Process Design in a Company

In a company’s structure, the operations department is often found in the centre of functions (Slack, Chambers, & Johnston, 2007). This position results from the relations operations has with other support and core functions such as product/service development, marketing (both as well core as support functions), accounting, human resources, IT and many more (Benedict, et al., 2013). Looking into the operations shows a circle of strategy, design, planning/control and improvement.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 1: Operations functions and operations management within a company (Filthuth, 2016)

The product/service process design is one of the key tasks of operations managers. It is closely interrelated with the product/service design which focuses on the concept to deliver the benefit to the buyer/user. The process design focuses on how the product/service is actually made (Slack, Chambers, & Johnston, 2007). Product/service design and process design are interrelated because a change in either one can have serious consequences on the other. Both have in common the need to be accomplished before the product/service can be delivered. Process designs deal with strategy performance objectives as well as process design characteristics, the one to set the targets and the other to determine how the process should be designed to meet them (Slack, Chambers, & Johnston, 2007). Process design characteristics are described in four dimension that need to be considered in order to find the most suitable design and thus layout: Volume, variety, variation, and visibility. Their specifics will be explained and discussed further down. Strategy performance objectives are quality, speed, dependability, flexibility, and cost and are interrelated with the process design characteristics. They, too, will be covered on the following example. Process design principles can differ in service companies by focussing on the empowerment of employees and a context related approach (Ponsignon, Smart, & Maull, 2012).

Main Influencing Factors on the Service Process Design of an Internal IT-Helpdesk

Characteristics and Objectives of the Present Process: The service process in this example deals with the IT needs of the company’s own users being covered by an internal IT-Helpdesk. The company also provides IT Services to hospitals from another IT-Department which is not considered in this example. Closely related to the internal IT-Helpdesk are an IT-Professional-Services and an IT-Project-Management. The daily business of the internal IT-Helpdesks consists of typical IT problems ranging from non-working equipment to how-to-questions to solving complex tasks occurring along with the users’ daily work.

The range of process types within the IT-Helpdesk is wide and ranges from very standardised processes for frequently repeating issues not unlikely a mass service to the highly individual requirements and addressing of a professional service. It involves both virtual (phone, email) and personal (user coming to the office, staff going to the user) interactions. Thus, the company has decided for a service shop model with some variety within a set general process which is reflected in the following very much simplified version of the process design.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 2: Simplified process design of the internal IT-Helpdesk (Filthuth, 2016)


Excerpt out of 10 pages


Implementing Lean Principles in an IT-Helpdesk Process Design
University of Salford
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
Lean management, process design, services process, lean principles, IT-Helpdesk service design
Quote paper
Heiko Filthuth (Author), 2016, Implementing Lean Principles in an IT-Helpdesk Process Design, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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