June 07, 2009

Human Resource Management Lesson 4 Exercise

1.- Thinking about organisations you are familiar with (it must not be IBM), what mechanisms and procedures have different organisations used for employee involvement and to give employees voice?

The organization that I have chosen to these questions is Lucent Technologies again. I was working in it for almost four years in IT department and I know several initiatives that were launched in order to change the way of doing the things using the new technologies and process optimization. The process which one I am going to speak was called in Lucent as Order Management System (OMS). With this process Lucent tried to increase the productivity, the customer satisfaction, decrease the time to market and minimize the storage capacity.

The initiative started from the CEO and top management of every LoBs (lines of business) involved. The implementation was carry on from the IT department and this department was the leader of the initiative. Lucent is an international company, but this initiative was undertaken only in the region of Europe ( EMEA -Europe Middle East and Africa). Although the solution is at EMEA level and each country should be consistent with the decision taken, there are some degree of independence related with the local aspects as are the issues related with the human resources and sales.

The implementation of the process was done with the use of the ERP of SAP v3 and the success of the new process depended on the acceptance of the employees about the configuration of the ERP for them. Linking with the style of management (based in Purcell, 1986) described in the previous lessons, we can see that the common style used was a consultative or constitutional (depending of department) and is a company where the opinion of employees is much important.

The IT department established several actions to gain the employee involvement, that following the structure described by Marchington and Wilkinson (2008, p.405) can be classified as task-centered and direct. These actions are the following:

  • Task participation and teamworking

The first step adopted was to create a several groups in each country composed by IT members and business members. These groups were divided again, following the different phases of the project as was the phases of business requirement, develop and deployment.

  • Downward communication

Each week the responsible of the project introduced the news in a common repository with the progress of project and one email was sent to the responsible of each department. Each manager and its expert users could use the repository to make their own comment about the progress achieved and expressing theirs needs.

  • Upward problem solving

In order to talk about the comments received and to solve the problems found, had meetings every two/three months in different Europe city. The goal of these meetings was to refine the business requirements of the new system (OMS) with the knowledge of the end users of each country and configure the next steps of project.

2.- How effective were each of these voice mechanisms in a) giving employees an effective voice at work and b) adding value to the organisation?

If we see the actions taken looks like very good options to involve all employees and to have a solution with the convenience of all parts involved in the process. But in fact the project suffered a lot of troubles and even one change of name in order to recover the confidence of the employees participating.

Some of the main troubles was that the employees had a lot of mechanism to give specifications, comments and feedback, but their feeling was that nobody had asked opinion to them before choose the tool (the ERP of SAP) and this situation created barriers and opposition from the beginning.

The introduction of the new system was planned to add value to the company in one year after implementation, but in fact was needed several years more because the adaptation of some groups of end users was more complicated due to they showed apathy in the learning.

3.- Account for any variation in effectiveness of different mechanisms.

At the beginning was very complicated to gain employee involvement and commitment, and it was necessary to develop another intermediate system in order to decrease the time to adopt the system in the entire EMEA region.


Marchington, M. and Wilkinson, A. (2008), 'Human Resource Management at Work' (4th edn), London: CIPD.

Helen Newell (2009), Human Resources Management Study Notes, Warwick Business School.

Purcell, J. (1986), "Employee Relations Autonomy Within a Corporate Culture", Personnel Management, February.

June 06, 2009

Human Resource Management Lesson 3 Exercise

1.- Reflecting on your own experience as an employee and as a manager, to what extent do you think pay motivates or demotivates employees, why?

Thinking about my experience in several international companies and the knowledge in a familiar little company, there are several factors that have influence in the motivation of employees. Depending of the social-economical situation, the age and family situation, there are other factors different to the pay that can change along the time depending of the change of these situations. Following the Pyramid of needs (Maslow, 1943), to satisfy each stage more incentives that the money are necessary.


Figure.1. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

The first years in work life, when one is young, single and without family the money factor is not the main. The teamwork, improve the knowledge and good environment in the work are aspect important to satisfy needs, obviously always that the physiological needs are covered.

The things change when increase the familiar and job responsibilities because is need to satisfy several factors as are the familiar needs, in this case the increase of money help to satisfy the basic needs and for several years is motivating, but after if there aren’t another factors, the activity can fall into the monotony and pay is not enough to motivate.

Other way to explain the factors that can motivate to someone is through a Process Theory that define the motivation as a rational cognitive process occurring within the individual, and one of those theories is the Vroom's Expectancy Theory based three aspect like are the expectancy to get very good awards if you work harder; the valence is the importance for each one to have expectancy and this aspect is personal, social and cultural, because there are some social factors that force to increase the importance of to have expectations; the last aspect of the theory is the instrumentality is the belief that if you work to generate some output, part of this output has something for you, and in this sense could be exist the satisfaction to create something and the possibility to receive awards for it.

In my opinion the remuneration is not demotivating, but in several situations of the working life is not enough. There are a lot of systems to motivate and some examples are to take education (i.e. MBA) or to establish a career plan with stages of certification.

2.- Thinking about pay systems that you have experienced, which have been the most effective? Why?

My first job in the family company was a ‘manual’ job where the pay system was hourly rate. But in the rest of my jobs, after finish my university studies, I started to have a ‘non-manual’ job with performance-related pay (PRP) system. In the different jobs with PRP system that I have got the appraisal systems have been different even in the same company but in different periods of time the appraisal systems have been different.

The common factor in all the appraisal systems is that in all of them the percentage of pay related to the own work is low and the rest of the percentages depending the result of the company, division and the own group. I think that the period in which one I have got more motivation was when the degree of personal percentage was higher and when the goals were clearly defined. I think that the best method is when everybody knows the rules of game and the goals are complicated but reachable. I can say this because in some of my jobs the agreement was made directly with my manager and the conditions of it were very fuzzy and nobody else was participant in the agreement. Now in IBM, the situation is different because the conditions of the agreement and the string of approvals are right, but in this case the failure is in the mechanisms to get the measures of evaluation the conditions of the agreement.


Marchington, M. and Wilkinson, A. (2008), 'Human Resource Management at Work' (4th edn), London: CIPD.

Helen Newell (2009), Human Resources Management Study Notes, Warwick Business School.

Corbett, M. (2007) Organisational Behaviour Lessons Notes, Warwick Business School. 2007

Vroom, V.H., and P. Yetton (1973) Leadership and Decision Making, University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh.

Abraham Maslow Web Site:


Human Resource Management Lesson 2 Exercise

1.- Reflecting on your own work experience, and with reference to the theoretical models discussed in Lesson 1, how would you characterise the role of the HR function in an organisation that you are familiar with?

I am familiar with one company where I was working for four years since 1996 to 2000. The company was Lucent Technologies Inc. (it was bought by Alcatel in 2006) and I worked in its IT department in Spain.


Figure.1. Lucent Technologies Logo from 1996 when it born after spun off from AT&T..

Lucent was a very large company originated by AT&T division, and after several years of very good results, in 1999 Lucent began its decay. Several events related with the labour situation of the employee happened in this period and in order to understand the HR function we are going to review the external and internal context of the company. In relation with the external context the main characteristics are the following:

·        Political and Economic context: In 1996 the conservative party won the elections and did several important changes in the political and economic aspect of the country. The rates of unemployment, with almost 25%, decreased quickly and Spain joined in the UE due to the success results.

  • Legal context: In this period the government faced to the reformation law to free up the labour market in order to facilitate the employment although against the right of the employees, in opinion of Unions.
  • Labour Markets: Its was a period of a very high economic growth, with high inflation rates and where one of the better competitive advantage of the country, that was the low salaries, changed because the salaries started to be not as competitive as before in relation with other countries of East of Europe. During this period Spain lost its competitive advantage (cheap labour market) and started a transformation that until today is needed.
  • Business Sector: The industry sector of telecommunications showed a very big explosion in 1996 to 2001 with the mass use of internet. But in the sector of the internet infrastructure, the crisis appeared some year before, and at the end of 1998 the sales decreased because all customers already had expended a lot of money in hardware to communications and came the time to develop business applications. Lucent started several changes to reduce cost through optimisation of its process and des-invest in some countries as Spain and other mature European countries.
  • Location: Using the model of culture of Fons Trompenaars (1993) the dimensions that best fits with the Spanish culture can be Particularistic, Collectivistic, Emotional and Ascriptive. In case of Lucent is a world wide company but important to know these characteristic in order to understand the behaviour of the managers and no managers employees in Spain.

In relation with the internal context the main characteristics are the following:

  • Management style: The style of management in Lucent is very different of the most of the Spanish companies, in Spain is known as typical American management style. Attending the Purcell's classification (1986) the management style can be classified as collectivistic and in the middle between consultative and constitutional depending of the department because almost the middle of the workers in Spain worked at the production plant. It’s important to remark that in the production department unions were very powerful in this sector.

Management Style

Figure.2. Big picture of booking of school books process.

  • Internal structure: The internal structure was different to the production workers and for the office workers. For the fist the structure was a vertically, but for the rest of them was a matrix structure. Although the general structure was multi-divisional or M-Form structure where each division or department had high degree of independence.

One of the main functions of the HR Manager was managing the Payroll Systems, and due to the new reorganization of the processes and the intention of use outsourcing of some departments several actions was taken in order to negotiate the different conditions with the employees and unions. To complete all the actions by the HR Manager were needed the support of CEO, and this happened because the HR Manager was changed by the CEO before undertaken the reorganization. Following the typology of the HR functions described by Storey (1992) this kind of HR model we can be classified as Change-Makers.

2.- Why do you think HR played this role in the organisation?

With the new external factors and mainly with the factor of economic situation in the Sector, the strategy of the company changed and Lucent started a hard change process. This process started making outsourcing of several departments as was the Quality department, IT and some production areas, even some functionality in the HR department changed and for make it was needed to have the commitment of the HR manager in order to implement difficult decisions and negotiations.

Typology of HR functions

Figure.3. Typology of HR functions.

3.- What are the strengths and weaknesses of this role in the context of the organisation?

The main strengths of the role were to implement the decision of the CEO with ‘Iron hand’ in order to reduce its main production cost. The labour of HR Manager should address the constraints correctly, as are the Spanish law, union force, the directive company at world wide level without reduce the productivity of the departments not involved in the changes.

The main weaknesses in the management of the HR manager was the ability to maintain the employee morale and productivity during the negotiation process in order to maintain the same knowledge and people after outsourcing.


Marchington, M. and Wilkinson, A. (2008), 'Human Resource Management at Work' (4th edn), London: CIPD.

Helen Newell (2009), Human Resources Management Study Notes, Warwick Business School.

Purcell, J. (1986), "Employee Relations Autonomy Within a Corporate Culture", Personnel Management, February.

November 02, 2008

Operations Management Lesson 2 Exercise

Take two processes with different volume and variety characteristics. Profile these processes and establish the process choice and layout decisions they have taken. Critically appraise the design decisions taken.

We are going to describe two process, first of all is a process booking and packing service of school books in a very well known big shopping company in Spain, called El Corte Ingles. 

Box Book

The second is the process  of a modern bakery dedicated to manufacture of frozen dough.


Processes Profile

We are going to see its profiles following the ‘four Vs’ model from Slack et al. With the following result for each of them:

Booking of School Books process:

    • Volume: This process has a very peak volume at the start of the academic year, because is a temporal service. For this reasons is difficult to the systematisation of the activities, both in the store and in the warehouse, nonetheless the process in the warehouse could be reach high degree of automatic with the use of techniques used for others types of products, through robots can increase the effectiveness of picking process.  This factor is medium.

    • Variety: This aspect offers several possibilities because there are a lot of schools, years and families, then the configuration of the pack could variate a lot but under bounds. This factor is high or medium high.

      • Variation of demand:As we have commented before, this process is temporal depending of the start date of the academic year but it also depends on the consumer level, because that kind of service is more expensive than buy the books separate. This factor is medium-high.

      • Visibility: Part of the process is in front of the customer because in the step of take requirements, sale and delivery should be with interaction of them. Another part of the process is in the warehouse and there is a low level of visibility. Medium-low.

      Manufacture of Frozen Dough process:

        • Volume: This is a high volume process, thus it allows to systematisation of the activities needed to perform it. 

          • Variety: This factor is low because the types of product elaborated are very well defined, only with when a new product is launched the process can suffer a little modification.

          • Variation of demand:In this case the demand of this kind of products are very constant for captive customers, and only can change when there are expansions plans. This factor is medium-low.

          • Visibility: All this process are done without visibility of the customers. Low level.

          The following figure shows the profile of both processes:


          Processes Design

          To evaluate the design of these two processes we can consider the Volume-Variety requirements, Process Types and Process Layouts aspects.

          Booking of School Books process:

            • Volume-Variety requirements:As we have seen are medium requirements of volume and medium-high of variety. But this relation could change due to the variety depends of the volume.

            • Process Types:the natural type is the “service shop” but as it is a mix between services and products in the warehouse process the type is “batch” or “jobbing” due to dificulty of picking process.

            • Process Layouts:The part of the process related with the service is “functional” layout, and the part related with the warehouse could be “cell”.

            Manufacture of Frozen Dough process:

              • Volume-Variety requirements:In this case there are high degree of volume and low of variety and we could move thru the ‘Natural’ line of fit of the ‘product-process’ matrix.

                • Process Types:its type is clearly “continuous” because is a process very easy and with high volume.

                • Process Layouts:In this case the type of layout is also quite clear because is a classic manufacture type hence is Product layout.

                The following figure tries to summarised what have been exposed above:



                Walley, P. (2008)  Operations Management Study Notes, Warwick Business School

                Slack, N. et al. (2006) Operations and process management, FT Prentice Hall, London

                El Corte Ingles. 


                Corporative web site:   http://www.elcorteinglescorporativo.es

                Commercial web site: http://www.elcorteingles.es/

                Bakery Sector

                Berlys S.A. web site: http://www.berlys.es/

                BIMBO S.A. web site: http://www.bimbo.es

                SARA LEE BAKERY INC. web site. http://www.saraleebakery.com

                November 01, 2008

                Operations Management Lesson 3 Exercise

                This is a good time to complete a process map of your own and comment upon the findings. If you work in an area with high levels of contact with customers, you should think about extending the analysis into a service blueprint, which will define degrees of visibility of the process.

                I have chosen one of the process described in the blog of lesson 2, this is the process of the booking and packing service of school books in a very well known big shopping company in Spain (El Corte Ingles). The activities that cover this process was implanted in Spain several years ago, but in the last years the strong competence of hypermarkets have forced to the company to redesign the activities and treat it as process. 

                The main blocks of the process are shown in the following figure:

                 Big Picture Booking Process

                Each of these boxes are composed of several sub tasks (or sub-processes) and in the following figure are shown with more detail:


                As it can be seen above, these flows describe the process of the service, but it is a service with some degree of product because one part of the service is to create a pack through a manufacture process. In the production phases are include the reception of material, in this case are books, and the picking and packing of them. Is important to remark that in its face of service is where there are defined some indicator of performance (KPIs) in order to know in which point of the process there are bottleneck or lost of efficiency. 

                In terms of visibility, a very big part of the process has a low and medium visibility to customers.  For this type of services, is very important the interaction with the customer in order to reach accuracy with his requirements. In the reception is very important too the interaction, mainly when could be have some trouble in the process of packing. In adition is important to get the feedback of the customer and harvesting process.


                Walley, P. (2008)  Operations Management Study Notes, Warwick Business School

                Slack, N. et al. (2006) Operations and process management, FT Prentice Hall, London

                El Corte Ingles. Web site (http://www.elcorteingles.es/)

                Operations Management Lesson 8 Exercise

                Process map a process (or use one you have already compiled earlier) and assess each process step to decide whether or not each step adds value from a Lean thinking perspective. Pay particular attention to delays and to quality checking points. Assess the throughput efficiency of the process. Is a demand-pull or Kanban system used to control flow?

                We are going to take the process of the booking and packing service of school books in a very well known big shopping company in Spain (El Corte Ingles), this process have already been defined in the others chapters (2,3 &4).

                This process can be classified as a ‘pull’ style production control because the process does not start until a customer makes his purchase order with previous selection of “Bill of Materials” (his books or items). 

                “Lean systems use ‘pull’ style production control, where downstream departments announce their requirements to upstream operations.” (OM Study Notes)

                ECI process - Booking books

                Each step of the process flows as follows:

                1. In the previous step to specifications phase, the company searches and receives the list of books required by the public school and the most important private schools for children from 3 to 17 years old.

                2. In the specification phase a saleswoman speak with the customer in order to determinate the school and years of his children. In this moment the saleswoman can reach an agreement with the customer and start the process through launching a order to the warehouse. In this step is important to remark as a lean thinking characteristic that depending of the date of booked or purchase order the customers have discount in price or no.  And only it is possible to make a order one month before the delivery of books.

                3. The responsible of filter the orders in the warehouse, approves or refuses the orders and after the orders are dispatched to specifics areas. In the case of booked orders of books is a pick and pack books area.

                4. Every day ERP system is verified by the responsible of this area in order to determinate the number of orders that can be completed the next days and launch the orders to the providers of books if the quantity per each provider is enough. In this point the system tries to increase the efficiency of the workers through of concentration of continuous days dedicated to do the packing.  One of the main measures against the stop the chain of packing is determinate the number of books remaining to complete the pack and establish a threshold from which the pack can be done assuming this situation.

                5. Once the group of pack is ready these are distribute to the stores the next step is make the notice and deliver to the customer and finally close the sale. In this case if the pack is complete the sale can be closed when is paid but if the pack is incomplete the process can be launch again.

                From a lean thinking perspective the process we can say that is well defined, mainly for these reasons: the orders are launching when is needed, there are a specific levels of quality thinking in the completeness of the pack and finally the process tries to delete the waste in order to minimising the cost. Nonetheless the company could enhance this process in the following points:

                Waste elimination

                We have already said that is almost right but the process can be waste when there are problems in the reception of books and is impossible to complete the pack with the level of quality required. Another point is when the pack is incomplete, because cause duplication effort in the sales and production phase.

                Employee involvement

                Sometimes the delivery process can be better if the notice to mobile or telephone will be done  without forget to anybody. The employee involvement should help this company to enhance the throughput efficiency of the process and the customer satisfaction.

                Continuous improvement

                The company has some service levels agreements described in its proceses but this aspect can improve something. Some of them are the state of the books, the completeness or accuracy of the pack.

                As we have comment the process looks efficient (for me is complicated to access at company data but in general terms is one of the more efficient Spain companies). We have commented too that until there aren't enough stock level the packing process don't start, that mode of management is appropriate for a Kanban system.


                Walley, P. (2008)  Operations Management Study Notes, Warwick Business School

                Slack, N. et al. (2006) Operations and process management, FT Prentice Hall, London

                El Corte Ingles. Web Site (http://www.elcorteingles.es/)

                Operations Management Lesson 7 Exercise

                Take a look at a material processing operation. What types of stock control methodologies (re-order point, MRP, ERP etc.) are used? Comment on the possible reasons for the choice of method. If you can, conduct a sample Pareto (80/20) analysis of stock levels and stock usage (by value). How effective is the stock management?

                I will explain this blog based on my own experience with a factory bakery traditional and the knowledge of the process in the current manufactories. The activity of the bakery plant is based in a continuous process that only stops weekends and twice a year to maintenance activities. This is the typical layout of a current bread plant:


                The main blocks of the process are Material intake, Production and Shipping. In all this process there are two main warehouse that are for the inputs and for the outputs. In this Blog we are going to see the inventory management choose in the material intake and shipping phase.
                In order to hold the production line and satisfy the levels of demand the factory holds two inventories with very different characteristic. The first of them is the input inventory which one works under the Material Requirement Planning (MRP) pattern, and the second one is  the output inventory that works with the Reorder Point (ROP) pattern.
                Each ingredient in the baking process have their own requirements when it comes to receiving and storage. For flour, for instance, the demands are to empty tanker trucks with as little dust as possible, record amounts exactly, and make intermediate storage in the silos transparent. All other ingredients must be recorded quickly and accurately, stored and managed appropriately, especially regarding expiration dates. For these reasons the use of MRP are justify, in this way they can hold fresh the ingredients.
                The Output inventory follow the ROP pattern and when the stock level of the some kind of products reach the re-order point, the order to production stage is launched. The intention of adopt this method is to hold a constant the demand of production, that is only possible with the current style in the bakery process because the final output is frozen bread and is possible to hold a safety stock in the freezers.
                If  we see the linking of the items of the input and output inventories with the stock control ABC or pareto analysis, we has the following relation:

                A.- High Value Items: this can of item corresponding with the items of input inventory, although really only will be need for some of them.
                B.- Medium Value Items: currently there are no items in this category, but will be good to have a better distribution of the items independently of the I/O inventories.
                C.- Low Value Items: in this class are the output items, although some of then could be classified as medium value.


                Finally my suggestion is that the stock management efficiency can improve if there are a different styles of inventory management per each type of ingredients (in the input inventory) and per each type of final product (in the output inventory).


                Walley, P. (2008)  Operations Management Study Notes, Warwick Business School
                Slack, N. et al. (2006) Operations and process management, FT Prentice Hall, London

                Backery Sector
                BIMBO S.A. web Site (www.bimbo.es)
                SARA LEE BAKERY INC. web Site. ( www.saraleebakery.com)

                Operations Management Lesson 6 Exercise

                Find extreme or good examples of the following practices and justify the reasons for their adoption:

                • Level Capacity Management

                The telephone network is  a good example of level capacity demand. The network are designed to satisfy very big capacity for a huge areas of population. The traffic of data varies a lot during the hours of the day and during the days of week. There are moments with a low traffic and others with almost “traffic jam”.

                Now in Spain are increasing the use of ADSL lines due to the increasing of population and the currently needs. For these reasons the limits of capacity can be reach easily in a high demand hours although in others hours be fine.


                • Chase Capacity Management

                We can consider a fast food restaurant close to cinema and business centre. As most of fast food restaurants, managing sales capacity is really difficult, the most sales occur during the lunch time or at the exit of cinema in week end. One of the main characteristic of this type of business is that their product must be fresh when are sold and it is not possible to produce large amounts during periods of low demand to be warehoused and sold during periods of high demand.

                For these reason the restaurant use the variation in the labour to adjust the capacity and respond to the variability of demand. The variation of the labour is done through of the arrange the working times to adjust the capacity and the use of part-time and temporary employees.

                • Yield Management

                We can consider the bank sector that in some of theirs services as open account, debts/credit cards or deposits follow a yield management strategy get the maximum revenue possible with demand fluctuations.

                They launch specific marketing campaigns during Summer or Christmas in orden to get customers before the spendings in holidays or gifts. Other example is the offer of young card during the start of the students’ seasons to capture as much of them as possible to do the paid to the school or university.


                Some of the characteristics of this type of business is that always doing market studies in order to better understand customer behaviour and launch new attractive ‘bank services'

                • Queue Design

                We can see some examples in the airport (i.e. Barajas in Madrid) where we can see a lot of kind of queues. I am going to explain the queue of check in.


                This queue has differents configurations depending the volume of people. Normally is one queue one server for each trip but if the flow of people increase new server are include with only one queue. At the moment that the stewardess or assistants appreciates that there are very different type of people then they open a new queue and change the design to one queue per server and several servers. 

                Other kind of queue are when this service is offered by internet. In this case we are in front of a new casuistic because in this kind of services there are dependency of the technical infrastructure. At technical level we are speaking of the same configuration that before (1 or N queues or threats and 1 or N servers or processors) but from end user point of view they are in a race in order to put first in the queue.


                Walley, P. (2008)  Operations Management Study Notes, Warwick Business School

                Slack, N. et al. (2006) Operations and process management, FT Prentice Hall, London




                Back Sector




                Operations Management Lesson 5 Exercise

                The IT Sector has a distinctive pattern of levels of integration. For one section of IBM BCS, write about the advantages and disadvantages of having an integrated supply chain. Comment on your impression of the levels of market force that apply to your chosen section.

                In IBM BCS most of its projects are focus in technology consulting and this kind of services are possible with own consultants as main raw material. In this kind of professional services the supply chain start searching the proper resources depending on cost constraints, type of skills and availability of resources.

                To analyse the advantages and disadvantages I am going to describe the different sources of resources in IBM GBS, that are the following:

                • IBM local resources: This kind of source is the primary option because the main target of all delivery organization in IBM BCS is to hold high levels of utilisation rates in its employees.

                • IBM Global Delivery Resources: that is the second level of prioritisation in the resource allocation process. The GD has different models, but although at the beginning of use this source the priority was over the offshore, currently the prioritisation is in this order nearshore, offshore and in the last onsite. The offshore has sense when is need a big mass of skills consultant to support projects around the world. And the onsite is right when is needed a very specific skills.

                • Other IBM Locations:In cases where is needed a very specific skills the next source of resources are others IBM locations, first to all in the same country or region  and after GD onsite.

                • Subcontractors: This source has been one of the main sources but now the prioritisation is in GD always after the local resources. Only when there are not available locally and there are local limitations to use IBM Global Delivery, the source of resources is to subcontract.

                As we can see with this kind of sources, the processes of get it are different and each one has its advantages or disadvantages. The main disadvantage is the prioritisation of locally resources because is difficult to apply the market force, the advantage, of the use of the local resources, is the speed, the commitment, and the skills because this chsaracteristic are complicate to find outside.

                Currently the customers are not familiarising with the use of Global Delivery resources even with subcontracted resources, for this reason the company should hold a important number of local resources and with consequent high degree of integration supply chain. The strategy of IBM GBS is to increase the use of Global Delivery in order to apply the market force and get better services with its subcontractors. 



                Walley, P. (2008)  Operations Management Study Notes, Warwick Business School

                Slack, N. et al. (2006) Operations and process management, FT Prentice Hall, London

                IBM Global Services – Global Business Services




                Operations Management Lesson 4 Exercise

                For a product or service of your own choice, complete a QFD matrix that relates customer requirements to design characteristics

                We are going to treat the process of the booking and packing service of school books in one of the most famous department stores in Spain, it is the El Corte Ingles.

                El Corte Ingles

                Now we are in the phase of the service design and we need to define the characteristics of the service. Some of these characteristics will be compared in the QFD Matrix with others competitor as Careforur, a international hypermarket, and with “La Casa del Libro”  traditional bookstore in Madrid.

                After get multiples ideas and see the accuracy of it in term of feasibility, acceptability, and vulnerability criteria, the preliminary design has be done. Now we are going to evaluate this design and try to identify the gap between the  assessment of the customer’s needs and the specification of components in order to improve the design. For do that we are going to use the Quality function deployment (QFD) tool, listing and prioritizing the main features.


                The QFD tool lets us to think in  ideal features rather than simply focusing on narrow technical specifications. For this process we will attend the characteristics at the first level analyzing of the “whats” and “hows” aspects.

                The Whats

                • Box Shape: to avoid breakages and to make easy the transportation for the end users is a factor very important. The goal is that each user could bring his pack with a handle.  

                • Reusability: will be desirable the reuse of the box for example to keep the books of others years

                • Price: in an competition market is a very important factor, although the end users know that is a service with value added.

                • Communication: a good communication with the customer when is available the pack of books is desirable factor. 

                • Completeness: some times the pack is not complete because some books are not in stock and to complete the pack is need wait some weeks to receive it of the provider.

                • Accuracy: critical factor is to delivery the books that really corresponding with the school.

                • Delivery Speed: this a desirable factor and will be a advantage competitive.

                The Hows

                The way to answer to customers’ requirements is cover with following aspects:

                • Identification end users needs: The value added is to know the list of books corresponding for each schools, in this way the only requirement is to ask about the name and course of the each student (i.e. each children). 

                • SMS Technology: in order to satisfy the communication and delivery speed requirement the use of SMS technology will be the solution.

                • Sector/Industry Knowledge:a big retailer has enough knowledge about how explain the process to its customers, thought customer care point and call centres.

                • Warehouse: to have a warehouse with a very good process of picking and packing is essential to completeness.

                • Cardboard box: the books will be safe with a packing in a removable cardboard box and after transport its the cardboard box can be saved or reused for keep others books.

                The QFD Matrix

                All of this has been summarized in the following figure



                • Walley, P. (2008)  Operations Management Study Notes, Warwick Business School
                • Slack, N. et al. (2006) Operations and process management, FT Prentice Hall, London
                • El Corte Ingles. 



                • Carrefour



                • Case del Libro


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