Implementation of Lean Best Practices in Service Desk

23June 2017

News

Implementation of Lean Best Practices in Service Desk

Background

Any service provided for end users should be flexible and designed to meet their current needs. As the customers’ business is constantly growing, the quality of provided service should also grow alongside. If this is not the case, eventually the service level set at the project launch will fail to satisfy the demand. Therefore, we would like to share our experience in implementing new practices in the operations of our Service Desk team.
At the end of 2012, we launched the 24/7/365 Service Desk for one of our customers. This customer didn’t have a sound Service Desk before that, all support was provided by in-house IT departments. A new team composed of 7 employees was built and trained to work on this project. The Service Desk was successfully launched. The first project stage was very dynamic, it included knowledge transfer and an insight into specifics of customer’s operations. The new Service Desk team had many ideas and were very excited about tackling new challenges. The service delivery went like clockwork.

Why is it hard to provide efficient service without introducing changes to operations?

There were no drastic personnel changes in the team throughout 3 years. Everyone who knows the specific nature of Service Desk operations will understand that it is indeed a pretty long period. Over the years, the excitement gradually ebbed away, the personnel became engrossed in routine tasks and less involved in the project.

The formal customer feedback claiming low quality of provided services became the final straw. The feedback demonstrated that the Service Desk employees were not properly involved in project implementation and did not use their experience to improve support processes. However, these factors are vitally important to provide competitive support service.

It was finally time to change the team strategy and the service delivery concept. The decision was made to use Lean tools that had already produced excellent results in our company.

What is Lean?

Lean Manufacturing or Lean Production, often simply ‘lean’, is a systematic method for waste minimization within a manufacturing system without sacrificing productivity. Lean Manufacturing envisages each employee’s involvement in business optimization process and maximum focus on customer needs.

The Lean approach used in our company is a set of tools and principles that help to establish and to support the practice of continual service improvement.


The Lean principles are:

(left to right)

Involve each employee

Learn from experience

Standardize

Understand customer needs

Visualize

Eliminate waste

Measure progress

image

Tools and practices implemented in our company:

  • Communication Cell or working cells are the team meetings with a well-defined agenda. They are an efficient form of corporate communication.

  • Demand Analysis helps to identify tendencies in incoming requests (e.g. incidents) and subsequently to reduce their number.

  • Problem Solving Session involves identifying the root causes of the incidents and developing action plan to eliminate them.

  • Workplace Organization is used to optimize both the physical and virtual workplace.

  • Value Stream Mapping is a workflow enhancement tool based on detailed workflow analysis.

To take prompt action to improve the project situation, the following tools are applied:

  • Communication Cells are used to involve the whole team in service improvement process, to visualize the current indicators of service efficiency, and to get feedback.

  • Demand Analysis is used to analyse the current service delivery trends and the causes for service request submission, to identify the areas with increased workload for both the Service Desk and the customer.

  • Problem Solving Session is used to prepare action plan to achieve new service targets, reduce workload and improve operational efficiency.

  • Workplace Organization is used to reorganize knowledge base and file storage that results in reduction of data retrieval time for the information necessary to solve service requests.

Lean tools were implemented in three stages:

  • Introduction of Communication Cells;

  • Practical use of problem identification and problem solving tools.

  • Virtual workplace organization.

Continue reading about Lean Tools Implementation in our corporate blog at Habrahabr.

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