Lean in UK Government: internal efficiency or customer service

2014-09-16T15:12:26Z (GMT) by Zoe Radnor Robert Johnston
This article draws on service operations and Lean management in considering the relationship between internal service processes and customer service in public sector organisations. It draws on extensive evidence from two case studies of large UK Government departments to illustrate that whilst public service organisations recognise that methodologies such as Lean improves their internal processes to date they have not linked this to value or customer service. This article presents a model which shows that public service organisations are driven towards internal operations improvement due to the efficiency agenda leading to a process focus, rather than a market driven approach focusing on the customer. This article argues that although this starting point is not necessarily bad in order to sustain improvement after initial gains there is a need to focus on both process and customer. This article therefore contributes and extends the discussion on the adaptation of Lean for a public sector context.