Exploration and prioritization of lean techniques in a hotel supply chain
Aomar, Raid Al
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to develop a framework for identification, categorization and prioritization of lean techniques adopted in a hotel supply chain. Design/methodology/approach A survey tool is used for the identification of lean techniques that are relevant to a hotel supply chain. The targeted sample includes experts from 50 four- and five-star hotels in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that confirmed experience in implementing lean practices across hotels supply chain. A Supplier-Inputs-Process-Outputs-Customers (SIPOC) chart and experts’ opinion are used to allocate and categorize the identified lean techniques across the construct of the hotel supply chain. Finally, analytical hierarchy process (AHP) is used to prioritize the criteria and sub-criteria of adopted lean techniques. Findings Study results have identified six main categories of lean practices and 19 specific lean techniques as relevant to a hotel supply chain. The identified categories include JIT, Kaizen, Quality, Inventory, Maintenance and Standardization. The study found that JIT and Kaizen take the top priority among the identified categories of lean practices. In line with that, on-time service to customers, effective improvement system and on-time delivery from suppliers were found to be the three most relevant lean techniques to a hotel supply chain. Research limitations/implications The study has targeted a representative sample of hotels with experience in implementing lean practices. Study findings have several implications to researchers and practitioners for effective adoption of lean techniques within a hotel supply chain. However, the accuracy and credibility of results obtained from this research including SIPOC allocation and lean categorization are highly dependent on the accuracy and credibility of collected empirical data from surveyed hotels within the study context. Results of AHP prioritization also depend on the credibility of judgements made by the hotels’ supply chain experts. Practical implications The study provides the hospitality industry with a structured approach that can help in a prioritized adoption of most relevant lean techniques across the hotel supply chain to reduce wastes, create value, increase efficiency and improve the service level. Study findings can be used by hotel management to direct and focus the effort of lean capacity building, resources allocation and implementation plans. Originality/value Limited research is available on lean management in the context of a hotel supply chain. Also, most of the previous research is focused on lean impacts, while academics and practitioners agree that the identification and prioritization of most relevant lean techniques is crucial to the successful implementation of lean management for waste reduction and value creation. This research addresses this important issue in hotel supply chains and proposes a structured approach for effective lean adoption.