Decoupling thinking in service operations: a case in healthcare delivery system design

Wikner, Joakim, Yang, Biao, Yang, Ying and Williams, Sharon J (2017) Decoupling thinking in service operations: a case in healthcare delivery system design. Production Planning and Control, 28 (5). pp. 387-397. ISSN 0953-7287

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The notion of decoupling thinking has been well established in the manufacturing operations and supply chain management literature. This paper explores how this decoupling thinking can be applied in service operations and in particular in health care. It first reviews the relevant literature on decoupling fundamentals, the front- and back-office distinction, and new emerging decoupling thinking in service operations. Subsequently, a flow-based framework including content and process is developed for decoupling thinking in service operations. The framework provides an integrated perspective on customer contact, flow driver and flow differentiation (level of customisation). The framework hence, through flow differentiation, introduces the concept of standardisation versus customisation in a service context. This is followed by a health care case example to illustrate how the framework can be applied. The managerial implications are primarily in terms of a modularised approach to system design and management. The framework offers potential for benchmarking with other service systems as well as with manufacturing systems based on the shared foundation in decoupling thinking. Finally, suggestions are provided for further research opportunities derived from this research.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Decoupling, service operations, healthcare, flow thinking, customisation
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > Business and Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business
T Technology > TS Manufactures > TS0155 Production management. Operations management
Depositing User: Biao Yang
Date Deposited: 02 Mar 2017 11:27
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 16:18

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