The case study is about the strategies adopted by Apollo hospital to improve its processes in different hospitality services like housekeeping, Food & Beverage, nursing, facility, operations and more. Dr. Rao and his team planned to take feedacks from the patients regarding these hospitality services and then based on the patient’s feedback, they tried to improve the quality of services. This led to reduction in patient’s complaints and improved customer satisfaction. They provided real time solutions to the issues of the patients and this helped in building customer loyalty as the number of revisits increased gradually. The use of lean sigma method for effectively managing and reducing the waste made the processes more efficient and helped in cost reduction. The hospital strived to provide best clinical as well as hospitality services to ensure that patients got the best experience. Hence, these satisfied patients became the brand ambassadors of the hospital as they shared positive feedback with others.
The case study of Apollo Hospitals explains the importance of differentiating the hospitality services from other competitors in the growing Indian Healthcare industry. In today's competitive world, each major player can copy the infrastructure of others while it is not possible to copy how services are provided by them. Therefore, the hospital created a Quality Department and adopted certain methods to resolve the issues and complaints of the patients and to ensure customer satisfaction. The aim was to ensure the delivery of the best clinical services along with exceptional patient experiences. The collection of feedback from the patients and the provision of a real-time solution to their issues was useful to improve customer satisfaction. The feedback was collected for different services like housekeeping, Food & beverages, facility, nursing, overall operations, and more. The hospital worked towards reducing complaints and minimizing defects by continuous improvement of the processes in each department based on the patient's issues. Several benchmarks were introduced for common complaints so that the customer expectations for any product or service can be understood (Swarnakar, Singh & Tiwari, 2019). All these methods helped to increase the number of revisits which means that there was an increase in customer loyalty. The better processes helped to save time and reduce costs (Farrington, Antony & O’Gorman, 2018). In addition to this, due to better services and higher levels of satisfaction, the patients provided a word of mouth publicity for Apollo and acted as brand ambassadors of the hospital.
According to Dr. Rao, hospitality is also an important element that would support the brand along with the clinical services which form the core of Apollo's services. Therefore, it was crucial to measure hospitality at Apollo. The hospitality services such as billing, dietician service, food and beverages, housekeeping, and so on were classified separately and quality measures for each process included in each service were defined to be used as Sigma metrics. The Quality department collected feedback from the patients about the services and this feedback was analyzed which helped the hospital to address the complaints and work towards reducing the overall number of complaints. In addition to this, Daily Point Average or DPA was calculated using the ratings provided by patients for different departments which were used to capture the customers' minds as this feedback was collected at the time of their stay at the hospital.
It is a good way to measure hospitality as it makes it easy for the hospital staff to provide patients with the desirable services and reduce the probability of repetition and increase of complaints from patients.
In Total Quality Management, Six Sigma has two meanings. In a statistical sense, it refers to a process, product, or service with an exceptionally high proficiency that is 99.9997% accuracy (Peimbert-García, 2019). For instance, if we assume that the number of passengers passing through the Kelowna International Airport with checked baggage each year is 1 million, a six sigma program for baggage handling will account for only 3.4 passengers with misplaced luggage. Another way in which Six Sigma is defined is that it is a program created to minimize the defects to help in the reduction of costs, time and for better customer satisfaction (Heizer, Render, Munson & Griffin, 2017).
Six sigma can be considered as a scale for measuring the performance of processes and six sigma can be understood as the target grounded on defects produced per million(Lancaster, 2011). Once, we have measured the current performance of the process, the aim is to gradually improve the level of sigma by making every effort to move towards 6 sigma (Antony, Palsuk, Gupta, Mishra & Barach, 2018). If the improvements do not reach 6 sigma, even the improvements between 3 to 5 sigma will still help to reduce the costs and increase the level of customer satisfaction.
As per the given Pareto chart, the issues related to the housekeeping and Food & beverages need to be addressed first as they have the most complaints as compared to other departments. Housekeeping has 373 complaints while Food and there are 318 complaints related to the food and beverage services.
DMAIC is a five-step process improvement model (Smętkowska & Mrugalska, 2018). It can be used as follows:
On receiving the complaints from the patient, the issues that were behind those complaints were identified and root cause analysis was done on all the processes of the defects that were identified.
The collected data was analyzed to eliminate the defects and to ensure that the same defects are not produced again.
The improvements are brought in the current processes related to Food & beverages and the Housekeeping services ensure that the patients are satisfied with these services.
The new ways introduced to improve customer satisfaction in the Housekeeping and Food & beverages department are controlled to make sure that now the patients do not face any issues in the services offered by the hospital.
The statistical-based methodology of Six Sigma is used to minimize variation and eliminate defects in business processes (Rampal, 2017). This leads to consistency and reduction of waste.
Lean methods can be used to boost the efficiency of processes of different services by eliminating waste.
Lean six sigma is a combination of these two concepts and focuses on eliminating waste, minimizing defects, and leading to overall efficiency in the processes (Yadav & Sukhwani, 2016). For hospitals, if any process in any of the departments produces negative impacts in the stay of patients, then this is a defect. These defects usually occur because of the variations in the processes and lack of efficiency (Kubiak & Benbow, 2016). Lean six sigma aims to make the processes as consistent as possible to ensure the smooth operations and no variations in the experience of patients (Bhale, Srividhya, Mariappan, Sony & Belokar, 2017).
The methodology used by Dr. Rao and his team was very useful and helped to eliminate the defects in the processes of hospitality. It helped to know about the complaints and issues faced by the patients. Once the issues and the reasons behind the complaints are known, it becomes easy to address those complaints and then work to eliminate them from occurring in the future to increase customer satisfaction and enhance the brand image.
Dr, Rao can reduce the number of complaints by continuously striving to improve the services and maintaining an adequate level of quality. The method of addressing the complaints by collecting feedback can help for continuous evaluation of the different hospitality services.
The generic complaints regarding the housekeeping services can be eliminated if the method of feedback is modified. The feedback form must have specifications for the housekeeping services so that the particular issues can be looked into and resolved. This would ensure that the complaints are addressed while saving much effort and time.
It can be concluded from the case study of Apollo Hospitals that the patient's stay at the hospital and their experience is affected by the services provided by them. The hospital must be able to differentiate itself from a large number of competitors in the growing Indian healthcare industry (Smętkowska & Mrugalska, 2018). The patients are already anxious while they are in the hospital and they must be provided with the best of clinical as well as hospitality services to ensure they feel better and customer expectations are fulfilled.
Dr. Rao and Dr. Panayala adopted a very efficient way to measure the effectiveness of services offered by the hospital. The method of collecting feedback and addressing each complaint to maximize customer satisfaction helped the hospital to eliminate inconsistency in their processes and improve their services. The real-time action provided for the patient's issues proved to help achieve customer satisfaction and ensure that complaints were not repeated.
Antony, J., Palsuk, P., Gupta, S., Mishra, D., & Barach, P. (2018). Six Sigma in healthcare: a systematic review of the literature. International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management.
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Farrington, T., Antony, J., & O’Gorman, K. D. (2018). Continuous improvement methodologies and practices in hospitality and tourism. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management.
Heizer, J., Render, B., Munson, C., & Griffin, P. (2017). Operations Management. U.S.: Pearson
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Rampal, R. R. (2017). Lean six sigma framework for the hospitality industry. Afr. J. Hospitality, Tourism Leisure, 6, 1-15.
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Soundararajan, K. (2019). Cost-reduction and quality improvement using DMAIC in the SMEs. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management.
Swarnakar, V., Singh, A. R., & Tiwari, A. K. (2019). Evaluating importance of critical success factors in successful implementation of Lean Six Sigma framework. In AIP Conference Proceedings (Vol. 2148, No. 1, p. 030048). AIP Publishing LLC.
Yadav, A., & Sukhwani, V. K. (2016). Quality improvement by using six sigma DMAIC in an industry. International Journal of Current Engineering and Technology, 6(6), 41-46.
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