• Explain and evaluate the relationship between operations management theory and practice

Module title: Managing Operations Module code: BUS020N531S

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Learning outcomes assessed within this piece of work as agreed at the programme level meeting

On successful completion of this module students will be able to

  • explain and evaluate the relationship between operations management theory and practice;
  • demonstrate and understanding of key developments in operations management theory;
  • evaluate the nature of leadership and the moral and ethical dimensions of management,
  • demonstrate research skills by secondary research;
  • understand and apply different tools for business and management analysis;
  • demonstrate communication skills, both oral and written.
  • identify and develop the management skills needed to work with and through other people;

reflect on their own and other people’s experience of working in a group and analysed these reflections with reference to relevant theories


The Mayfield Hospital is a privately run hospital in Guildford, Surrey operating within the Carlton Health Group which owns and operates some 60 private hospitals in the UK. The Group’s aim is to offer ‘quality’ health care services to all their patients and clients who pay into their Health Insurance Plan. It is desirable to satisfy hospitals’ staff, too.

The Mayfield is a purpose-built facility opened in 1989. It has 100 private patient rooms, all with en-suite bathroom facilities, operating rooms and consultation facilities. The hospital generally offers day care services including minor operations predominantly to people in the 45-60 age group. Few patients extending the stay overnight.  The medical care is managed by the professional medical team, however, the ‘hotel’ services which include three in-house departments: catering, portering and cleaning services. The Operations and Supply Chain Manager of the hospital are Jerry Davis, who has been in the post for two years.

Over the last year, the Mayfield Hospital has been experiencing some difficult operational problems and challenges. The hospital has been undergoing a planned renovation of all the hospital’s facilities on a rolling program of building works which has meant that at any one time 10 of the rooms are closed for re-fitting. The high cost of the refit along with the loss of income due to rooms being out of action has resulted in Jerry Davis being put under pressure to reduce operating costs whilst at the same time improving the quality of the hospital’s ‘hotel’ services.

During this time, the Carlton Group has instituted some new quality improvement initiatives as part of the strategy to raise the overall standard of care for patients. This has meant that the Group has instituted benchmark standards for all their hospitals as part of their new Total Quality Management (TQM) initiative. The key benchmark criteria include Patient Satisfaction; Respect; Quality of medical care; Quality of staff.  Hospitals need to apply at least three TQM tools. Each hospital is graded every two months on various Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and the benchmark standards are now linked to pay bonuses for management and full-time staff.

Added to this, Jerry Davis has lost a number of key supervisory staff who have either retired or left the company to work abroad. This has resulted in the crisis in terms of poor staff attendance, an increase in patient complaints especially in relation to the quality of the food, cleanliness of the rooms, and late response of nurses when patients call them. The quality of patient food has been of particular concern. Many patients said that were not given the choices they had made on their menu selections, the food was usually cold when delivered, and the taste and quality of food are not satisfactory. When Jerry Davis investigated this further, it appeared that the kitchen staff had been preparing the meals too early, and even though they had left the kitchen at the right temperature, they had been left unattended by the portering staff in the corridors prior to service. The kitchen staff are not happy with the quality of the raw material used to prepare food. The raw material is also delivered weekly which is a long time between orders, especially for fruit and vegetables. It leads to not having fresh raw material that means low quality of food.

The cleaning staff is responsible for cleaning each of the 100 rooms on a daily basis. The rooms take around half an hour to be completely cleaned. There have been several examples of rooms being dirty increasing the risk of cross-infection, and there have been complaints by both medical staff and patients. The cleaning staff claim that they are not given enough time to clean each room before the next patient takes the room.  There is a ‘blame culture’ which is evident throughout the hospital.

Patients have made some complaints due to the late response from nurses when are called and needed. But nurses are not happy with the nurses’ station because it is located far from patients’ rooms. On the other hand, they believe the number of nurses is not sufficient to response to patients at each working shift, especially at night shifts.

The hospital is consistently graded in the bottom 10% for the group as a whole in terms of overall guest patient satisfaction. The level of part-time staff turnover has gone up to 50%, again increasing recruitment and training costs.

Jerry Davis is planning a strategy to turn-around the hospital’s performance in some key areas like “Staff incentive schemes”, “Implementation of TQM model”, and “Managing operational processes”. This could include any changes in Operations and Supply Chain Management decisions like the layout, supplier selection, and inventory management in Mayfield hospital.



Choose at least one of the following areas in Managing Operations.

  • Design of goods and services
  • Managing quality
  • Process and capacity design
  • Location
  • Layout
  • Human resources and job design
  • Supply chain management
  • Inventory management
  • Scheduling

Analyse Mayfield hospital in the selected area (s). Based on your analysis, you are expected to investigate in the hospital critically and make recommendations about how Jerry can improve its performance. You should show how performance will be improved in terms of performance indicators which are applicable in your selected area (s). Consider triple bottom line - described as the incorporation of economic, environmental and social factors as the three dimensions of sustainability in business practice - in your analysis.

Write down your findings in an individual essay in 2000 words. Your essay must be supported by enough pieces of evidence including academic resources (books and journal articles).

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