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  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: June 2012

6 - Processes and Systems in Operations Management


Learning objectives

After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

understand the meaning of processes and the role they play in organisations

appreciate the characteristics of generic process types

realise how various standard operating system layouts result from the generic process types

understand how ‘people management’ and technology affect process design considerations

understand how processes can be analysed and measured

recognise the scheduling issues associated with different process types.

Box 6.1: Managerial challenge: call centre processes

Brisbane City Council is the largest local government in Australia. It provides traditional civic services to close to one million people. These services include water supply, sewerage treatment, refuse collection, pet registration, library facilities, public health services, public transportation, roads and parks maintenance, city planning, building services, etc. The council spends over $1.5 billion on these services and employs over 6000 workers.

At the insistence of then Lord Mayor Jim Soorley, who had become frustrated with the council's inability to respond in a timely manner to ratepayers needs, a call centre was set up in 1996. The stated objectives of the call centre were: (1) to add value to the council's operational areas; (2) 90 per cent of all calls to be answered in 20 seconds; and (3) 90 per cent of all calls were to be handled at point of entry. The call centre started with 40 employees answering about 1200 calls daily for a handful of the council's departments. In 1997, 24-hour service was introduced. […]

Jacobs, F. R. and Chase, R. B. 2008. Operations and Supply Management: The core. New York: McGraw-Hill Inc.
Slack, N. et al. 2006. Operations and Process Management: Principles and practice for strategic impact. London: Prentice-Hall.