A Systematic Approach to Achieve Operational Excellence in Hotel Services

Vittorio Cesarotti
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Rome, Italy

Caterina Spada
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Rome, Italy

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Ingår i: 11th QMOD Conference. Quality Management and Organizational Development Attaining Sustainability From Organizational Excellence to SustainAble Excellence; 20-22 August; 2008 in Helsingborg; Sweden

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 33:46, s. 545-561

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Publicerad: 2008-12-09


ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


Originality/value: The value of this paper is related to the transfer of industrial methods to the service sector. Moreover not only the single methods are transferred but they are also integrated into a global systemic approach to operational excellence in services. This has been deployed in two phases: a “hard” phase to support the design of the service and the construction of tangible and intangible elements of the service; and a “soft” phase to support the management; maintenance and improvement of the service delivery. All this has been applied to the hotel service sector where the interaction between tangible and intangible elements of the service are particularly evident. Only few works in literature have tried to transfer industrial methods for operational excellence to services. But the major originality of this work lies in the proposal of a systemic approach to operational excellence; that integrates several methods in a unique framework.

Purpose: The purpose of the framework here proposed is to introduce an industrial culture within the service organizations. Concepts such as employees empowerment; ownership; continuous improvement; together with the systematic implementation of quantitative methods builds the organizational basis for achieving operational excellence in services; reducing costs and increasing service quality.

Methodology/approach: The framework here proposed uses and integrates several methodologies. Quality Function Deployment is largely used in order to support the “hard” phase of the framework. Kano’s model of customer requirements has been integrated in the Quality Function Deployment structure by means of an original method developed by the authors; introducing a so-called Non-Quality Priority Number (similar to the FMEA’s Risk Priority Number) that in combination with a so-called Quality Priority Number drives the decisions for improvement towards operational excellence. Moreover the “soft” phase of the framework introduces methods such as Failure Mode and Effect Analysis and Total Productive Maintenance in order to improve the service organization’s operational competence and culture; increasing at the same time the sense of ownership and the commitment for improvement of front line workers.

Findings: Through this paper it has been shown that industrial methods for operational excellence can be adapted and transferred to the service sector with a potential for significant improvements in particular for those services with a high degree of tangible factors. Allowing in this way to achieve outstanding results also without significant investments.


Quality Function Deployment; Total Productive Maintenance; FMEA; service operational excellence; commitment and empowerment; operational culture for excellence


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