Developing Lean Customer Service at Glamox: A Lean Manufacturing Firm

Abstract

Glamox is a fairly large lighting equipment manufacturer located in Norway. This company has been applying Lean manufacturing principles including Kaizen continuous improvement for several years. The case describes in detail the nature and purpose of the customer service function at Glamox; an administrative function supporting its main business purpose of manufacturing professional lighting equipment. This case text provides the background for widening Lean principles to encompass customer services. Lean principles had at the time of investigation leading to the creation of this case narrative been implemented for slightly over a year. However, the company is aware that it will never fully complete its quest towards some form of ‘perfection’. Development is an incremental stepwise process improvement journey. The case narrative provides detailed process descriptions of different customer service processes and customer service performance indicators. Towards the end of the text a more detailed description of how Lean principles are applied at an operational (daily in-practice) level are presented, as well as some more strategic (long-term) considerations regarding how applying Lean principles to its customer service department involves inter-organizational thinking and networking with other in-house functions, including services interlinking the firm with its customers. A need to develop a Lean network is evoked through this case narrative.

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