Specific operational management problems


The purpose of this report was to find the specific operational management problems faced by students in the medical centre of University of Wales, Newport and to suggest how those problems can be resolved. The objective of this report is also to apply suitable operational management tools, models and theories which can be implemented to resolve the problems and also to find a permanent solution for the students.


The Medical Centre is one of the important services which come under the student union which is mainly focused on the health of students and staffs in the university. They have a full range of free pamphlets displayed in the centre for the convenience of the users covering the wide range of medical issues. The medical centre organizes health fairs on campus and also provides information on healthy living.

Organizational structure:

This organizational chart shows the order of departments and where the medical centre is categorized. There are different sub-divisions under the students union. First comes the head of student service then the deputy head of services, next comes the medical centre. Under the medical centre department we have the receptionist and under receptionist it is sub-categorized into two divisions, one is the nurse and the other is counsellor. In this medical centre the first person to deal directly with the students is the receptionist, who helps the students in enrolling them in the NHS and guides them to the nurse who does the general check-up for students. If there is any major issue they get the appointment for the student with the near by doctors. The counsellor helps the students in giving proper medical advice and medical tips for healthy living.


The Process and Flow:

The student after joining the college can use either the college accommodation or can stay in private accommodation. Students using the campus accommodation should compulsorily register with the NHS, whereas it is not mandatory for the private accommodation students.

The process is firstly the student has to get registered in the NHS with the help of the receptionist who guides the students in enrolling. Then the student will be guided to the nurse who will do a general check-up for the student. If it is a minor issue the nurse takes care of the student by giving required medicines or by giving some important medical tips to prevent from the disease. If any major issue then the students is suggested to consult with the general physician nearby getting an appointment. The staffs are attended only in emergency cases.

Process Flow Chart:

Check-up Flow Chart:


There are lots of models and theories in the operation management which can be implemented to improve the growth of any business. The best three models which can be used to improve the growth of the medical centre are:-

  • Fit for purpose
  • Six Sigma
  • Total Quality Management (TQM)
  • Pareto Analysis

Fit for purpose:

As discussed during the activity held by Dr.Louise Hung, fit for purpose actually means whether the process or the product fits for all customers. E.g. Shilpa Shetty goes to Tony and Guy for glamour and status reasons while elderly Margaret is very old and for her glamour is not that important but what is important for her is the service and comfort. Hence we could say Tony and Guy fit for the purpose of both type of customers.

"Products and services are designed with intentional differences in quality to meet the different wants and needs of individual consumers" (Russell, R, S and Taylor, B, W.2000.p.79)

This applies for the medical centre also because it is very essential for students since they deal with the medical issues of the students. So the medical centre found to be fit for purpose. In this university there are students from different ethnics and most of the students are international students. So this medical centre will be very useful for all type of students since it is managed by the university itself and is processed for the sake of students.

International students will not have proper exposure of the new place so if they have any health issues, they are not sure of what to do. In this case the medical centre helps the students by doing a general check up or getting an appointment with a different general physician off campus if it is a major or emergency case. This satisfies the needs of the students and makes them feel comfortable. So the medical centre is completely fit for the purpose.

Six Sigma:

Six Sigma was developed by Motorola in the 1980s but has its roots in statistical Process Control (SPC), which first appeared in 1920s. In statistical terms, the purpose of Six Sigma is to reduce process variation so that virtually all the products or services provided meet or exceed customer expectations. One of the best elements of six sigma is the Process improvement which can be implemented to improve the process of the medical centre.

Process Improvement:

The purpose of process improvement is to eliminate the root causes of performance deficiencies in processes that already exist in the organisation. These performance deficiencies may be causing real problems for the organisation, or may be preventing it from working as efficiently and effectively as it could. To eliminate these deficiencies a five-step approach is used.

  • Define
  • Measure
  • Analyse
  • Improve
  • Control


The problem has to be identified first and has to discuss as of how to solve the problem.


The problem has to be measured with some required data. A questionnaire was prepared and was directly given to students in caerleon and allt-yr-yn and got an evidence of the problems faced by students in the medical centre.


So with the evidence got from the students, was able to analyse that the main drawback was low speed.


The main root cause which is less speed has to increase by means of designing and implementing changes to the offending process.


New controls are designed and implemented to prevent the original problem from returning again and to constantly maintaining the speed and service of the medical centre have to consistently work on it.

http://www.businessballs.com/sixsigmadtifactsheet.pdf time 13:30

Total Quality Management (TQM):

"To make sure that products and services have the quality they have been designed for, a commitment to quality throughout the organisation is required. This approach to the management of quality throughout the entire organisation has evolved into what is referred to as total quality management or TQM" (Russell, R, S and Taylor, B, W.2000.p.84)

Total Quality Principles says:

  1. "Commitment to the customer's total satisfaction
  2. Commitment to understanding and improving the organisation's processes.
  3. Commitment to employee involvement.
  4. Commitment to data-based decision making."( Hanna,D,M and Newman,W,R.2001.p.178)

In all type of business, quality is very important because the customers rate the company with the service and the quality which the company provide. The customers here are students who have to be given additional care since the medical centre deals with the health issue of the student. So the medicines which are used have to be of best quality and the service done to the students also should be the best to satisfy the needs of the students.

The medical centre is very important because it deals with the health issues of the students. It is not possible to run a medical centre only with two nurses. The university or the management should take an initiative to improve it by increasing the staff members working in medical centre and the NHS registration should be made compulsory for all students to get enrolled in the university.

All students should be aware of the medical centre which the university provides to students to overcome from their own health issues. Students should have a common health affairs or free check-up at least once in a month. This all improves the service and quality of the medical centre which automatically will be satisfied by the entire customer (students).

Pareto Analysis on Medical Centre:

Pareto analysis was named after Vilfredo Pareto, which is based on Juran's finding that most quality problems and costs result from only few causes. (Russell, R, S and Taylor, B, W.2000.p.112)

Pareto analysis is based on the rule that says twenty percent of the causes give eighty percent effect. (Hanna,D,M and Newman, W,R.2001.p.527). So which means that eighty percent of the problems comes from twenty percent of bad effort. If that twenty percent of bad effort is removed then ultimately it becomes hundred percent of good effort.

In this medical centre the first main problem is less staff members working for the medical centre with less working hours. Secondly there is no doctor available in the university, so the students are diverted to a different doctor off campus, fixing an appointment with the doctor which takes minimum of 4 or 5 days makes the students unsatisfied with the service.

It is the same for the campus accommodation students, if the student is suffering from a major issue for E.g. fever, flu then the nurse gives treatment to the student or if it is a major issue they suggest the students to get an appointment with the general physician near by to cure the student's health issue. The purpose of the medical centre in the university is not been completely fulfilled by the management if the students are diverted to a different centre. So according to Pareto if this twenty percent of the bad effort is analysed and removed using any of the operation management techniques or models then eighty percent of the problem are solved.


There are lot of problems faced by students in the medical centre which is been analysed with lot of research done. The NHS registration which is very mandatory is made compulsory only for students using the campus accommodation and is not compulsory for the students using the private accommodation. So all students staying in campus accommodation gets registered with NHS since it is compulsory but almost all the other students using private accommodation are not registering since it is not compulsory.

The members working under the medical department are one receptionist, two nurses and one counsellor. The productivity hours is also very less, they work from Monday to Friday (9-4) and are working off on Saturdays and Sundays. So private accommodation students suffering from health issues are forced to wait till the working day comes, unless and until it is an emergency situation.

On working days if the students has any health issues and if it is a minor issue the nurse gives treatment for the students else the student is suggested to check with a general physician by getting an appointment, since there is no doctor in the medical centre which makes the student more difficult to get again an appointment with another doctor after this nurse.

A fishbone diagram or the cause and effect model of the medical centre is shown below.

The causes shown in the fish bone diagram clearly explains the fact which makes the services of the medical centre unsatisfied by the students. The causes are:-

  • Staff
  • Service
  • Productivity
  • Channels
  • Speed

These causes ultimately reduce the speed of services which is the major criteria which leads to delayed process and unsatisfactory.


The staff members working under the medical department are one receptionist, two nurses and one counsellor. So by increasing the staff members can speed up the work and automatically the service will be better.


There are only nurses to attend the patient and no doctors available on campus, so the students are diverted to a different general physician off campus, also with appointment on a different day which dissatisfies the student. So the medical centre can hire a doctor, and not sending the students to a different doctor off campus instead.


The productivity hours is also very less, they work from Monday to Friday (9-4) and are working off on Saturdays and Sundays. So by increasing the staff members the productivity also increases and automatically the speed and services will raise up which satisfies the customer (students) needs.


The medical centre is present only in caerleon campus and not in allt-yr-yn campus, so the student has to go to caerleon to get registered in NHS. So the medical centre can also be opened in allt-yr-yn which makes easier for both the students and the management to improve their service.


This major factor can be increased by improving the other causes like increasing the staff members, productivity and channels which automatically increases the service and speed of the medical centre which finally fulfils the needs of the students.


There was a proper investigation done by creating a questionnaire about the medical centre and it was given directly to students with proper interaction about the medical centre. The questionnaire was given to students using, the campus accommodation and private accommodation in both caerleon and allt-yr-yn. The questionnaire was prepared with the four main factors which are quality, speed, dependability and flexibility.

The responses from the students were varying from the other, but overall the quality of the medical centre was rated high by almost of the students and flexibility was rated as average. The speed and dependability was rated very low by the students, is now the major drawback of the medical centre, which was found in this analysis.

Source: Questionnaire

The questionnaire which was prepared was directly given to students with proper interaction about the medical centre and got some information and the difficulties of students faced in the medical centre. The above chart shows the number of respondents for the questionnaire prepared.


The analysis was done by having direct interaction with the students. The problems faced by students are the service and speed which is very less. Student who comes to the medical centre with any health issues are given treatment only if it is a minor issue. If it is any major issues they are diverted to another general physician off campus who is nearby and only with proper appointment. The student who is facing the health issue is forced to wait till the appointment date comes and then the doctor has to cure it.

In this case the student needs are solved after a long period of time which makes the purpose of this medical centre worthless and makes the students feel unsatisfied. So with the deep research and investigation the major factor was service and speed which was very low.

The rating for quality was 54%good which means the quality of the medical centre is good, for dependability it is 51%poor which means that the students are not dependable to this medical centre, flexibility 46%good and speed was 58%poor. So it is clearly proved that speed and dependability was very low with the evidence directly got from the students.

Bar Chart measuring the performance of Medical Centre:

Source: Questionnaire

So from this bar chat it is clearly states that the speed and dependability of the medical centre is low rated by the student which fall a great impact on their service which is mainly considered as the key of satisfactory.


There was lot of problems identified from the research and analysis done. There is a proof of evidence about the performance of the medical centre rated by the students studying in the university, which strongly states that the service and speed is very less and so the students are not satisfied and are not reliable to it.

So, the people who manage the medical centre should concentrate in these areas where they are lacking behind and can try to improve it using some of the operation management techniques or models. So using these techniques they can give a new and permanent solution to satisfy the students need so that students will be more dependable and reliable which ultimately leads to satisfactory.


In the questionnaire students rated high for quality of the medical centre which means the quality is good. So they can try to increase the speed which is considered as the drawback. Right now there are very less number of staffs working for the medical centre like one receptionist, two nurses and one counsellor. Their working hours is also very less, they work from Monday to Friday (9-4) and are working off and Saturdays and Sundays.

In this case they can increase the staffing by hiring more nurses and can increase the working hours. Once they increase the staffing automatically the working hours increases. There is no general physician available in the medical centre. In this case the management can hire a general physician so that they can handle any type of health issues faced by students instead of diverting the students to a different general physician off campus.

So once this is done automatically the service rate increases which makes the work easy by giving direct solutions to the students within a short time period. This makes the work much easier and simpler; it also very well satisfies the needs of all types of students. The speed which is considered as the major drawback of the medical centre is eliminated here by making the work easy and simple.

This can be implemented to the medical centre so that the speed increases and automatically the service will be of best quality, which will also satisfy all the students and they will we very much dependable.


RUSSELL,S,R and TAYLOR,W,B (2000,1998,1995). Operation Management. 3rd ed. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall,Inc. p79-112.

HANNA,M,D and NEWMAN,W,R (2001). INTEGRATED OPERATIONS MANAGEMENT Adding Value For Customers. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall,Inc. p178-527.

Business Balls. (2004). Six Sigma [WWW]:http://www.businessballs.com/sixsigmadtifactsheet.pdf time .(5 May 2010 13:30).

University of Wales, Newport. (2010). Medical Centre. [WWW]:http://www3.newport.ac.uk/displayPage.aspx?object_id=950&type=SEC. (4 May 2010).

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