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3rd Science Service Forum 2008

3rd Science Service Forum - 2008

Forum Report

More collaboration is needed between academia and practitioners in order to advance service knowledge.

This conclusion was drawn at the recent Third Service Science Forum, which saw intense discussion and debate on the topic of Service Capacity during a half-day session comprising presentations and the case-study exercises.

The Forum meeting, held on the 27 th of November 2008 at Lloyds TSB's premises on London' Gresham Street, was attended by 27 delegates from a diverse range of service industries including telecommunications, consulting, finance, and engineering. Organisations represented at the forum included Atkins Global, BT, IBM, Rolls-Royce, Selex Galileo, Hitachi Consulting, and Vodafone among others.

The Service Science Forum brings together practitioners from UK organisations interested to understand and grow their service business, and address the challenges a service orientation might bring. It also aims to encourage dialogue between representatives of University of Exeter 's Business School and professionals from the service industry to develop an agenda for the provision of education in Service Science at Exeter .

Service Capacity

The Third Service Science Forum opened with a few words from host Paul Baker, who is Integration Director, Operations of Lloyds TSB. This was followed by Professor Irene Ng's briefing on “The Understanding of Service Capacity.”

Professor Andi Smart raised a number of key ideas about measuring Service Capacity in a people-processing service environment in his presentation entitled “Thoughts on Service Capacity: An Operations Perspective” which was based on his research in the custody suite of the Metropolitan Police.

Laura Smith shared some innovative views on Service Capacity from her experience as a KTP associate with an Exeter-based organisation. Her presentation, entitled “End-to-End Revenue Management of Amorphous Service Capacity: The Case of Handle with Care” was followed by intense discussion among the delegates.

The Forum meeting also featured a break-out session to address the question “how is service capacity viewed in your organisation, and how is it used to deliver value?” based on two case-studies provided by Adurasys Ltd and Selex Galileo. Moderated by Professors Ng and Smart, there groups discussed the cases and debated about value, the issue of multiple stakeholders in delivering value, and the need to re-educate clients who don't understand the value of service, but rather, look upon it as a product commodity.

Professor Ng and Professor Smart wrapped up the meeting by summarising the main ideas that surfaced during the Forum. These include:

  • Service Capacity is a key theme because services are perishable
  • Managing Capacity is about managing supply and demand.
  • Service Capacity is amorphous: it can be defined in terms of how transforming resources (e.g. facilities, equipment, people) are put together.
  • Capacity is context-dependent: differentiating operational systems based on the ‘thing' that is being processed (e.g. People, Materials, and/or Information) may help provide insights into how to measure capacity in various environments. Understanding the objective of the operational system is critical to understanding service capacity.
  • Service Capacity is not about resources only. Observing the relationship between resources, costs, and the features of the service concept may provide a sounder platform for studying service capacity.

Held twice a year, the Service Science Forum will have its next meeting on March 19 in London, to be hosted by Atkins Global .

View the proceedings of past forums:

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