An Analysis of the Production Line versus the Case Manager Approach to Information Intensive Services*

An Analysis of the Production Line versus the Case Manager Approach to Information Intensive... The production line approach has been beneficially used in manufacturing companies to yield consistent‐quality standard products at relatively low cost. For this reason, service firms have also employed this approach, which embodies a division of labor, sequential flow processes, and standardization of services. Today's customers, however, are demanding customized services and shorter cycle times—outcomes that the production line approach finds difficult to achieve. An alternative process design proposed for information intensive services is the emerging “case manager” approach, in which all the steps required to deliver a service are performed by a single information technology‐enabled individual. This paper uses queuing theory to compare the waiting time performance of the production line and the case manager approaches. This comparison shows that when the number of process steps under the production line approach is relatively large, the relative efficiency of the case manager is sufficiently high, system utilization rate is moderate, and the size of staff downsizing is small, the case manager approach is preferred. Critical issues for the design of enabling information technology are then discussed. The paper concludes with suggestions for future research on the case manager approach. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Decision Sciences Wiley

An Analysis of the Production Line versus the Case Manager Approach to Information Intensive Services*

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 1999 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0011-7315
eISSN
1540-5915
DOI
10.1111/j.1540-5915.1999.tb00920.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The production line approach has been beneficially used in manufacturing companies to yield consistent‐quality standard products at relatively low cost. For this reason, service firms have also employed this approach, which embodies a division of labor, sequential flow processes, and standardization of services. Today's customers, however, are demanding customized services and shorter cycle times—outcomes that the production line approach finds difficult to achieve. An alternative process design proposed for information intensive services is the emerging “case manager” approach, in which all the steps required to deliver a service are performed by a single information technology‐enabled individual. This paper uses queuing theory to compare the waiting time performance of the production line and the case manager approaches. This comparison shows that when the number of process steps under the production line approach is relatively large, the relative efficiency of the case manager is sufficiently high, system utilization rate is moderate, and the size of staff downsizing is small, the case manager approach is preferred. Critical issues for the design of enabling information technology are then discussed. The paper concludes with suggestions for future research on the case manager approach.

Journal

Decision SciencesWiley

Published: Sep 1, 1999

Keywords: ; ; ; ; ; ;

References

  • Case management and the integration of labor
    Davenport, T. H.; Nohria, N.
  • Queuing systems, Volume 1: Theory
    Kleinrock, L.

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