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Justification For Increasing Headcount

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Justification for Increasing Headcount:

Applying the Theory of Constraints on Logical Organizational Processes

Supporting Ford Motor Company's eRoom Infrastructure

Prepared For: Leonard Sholtis

Prepared By: Adam Chalmers


Fall 2005

Walsh College


Though not applied to traditional manufacturing processes as we have studied in class, the purpose of this case analysis is to apply the Theory of Constraints (TOC) to the operations of Ford Motor Company's EHTSS (a.k.a. Server Hosting Operations). Moreover, the goal is to justify to the EHTSS management team the necessity to provide more robust support for the eRoom infrastructure. Through harvesting five months worth of GIRS support tickets, the TOC analysis uncovered two constraints: (1) a physical constraint Ð'- the current team of two systems administrators dedicated to eRoom infrastructure support did not have enough capacity to properly support that environment and (2) a policy-based constraint Ð'- as a byproduct of the analysis, a range of tickets matching a specified criterion were found. The constraint was that these tickets could be offloaded to first level support (SOC ) but were not. To quantify the results, a Six Sigma statistical analysis tool called a chi-square goodness-of-fit test was performed twice on a nonrandom sample of GIRS tickets to validate our constraints. The results showed significant evidence that an increase in head count to establish a dedicated eRoom support team is justified and that there are tickets that can be offloaded to the SOC. Additionally, these results will show EHTSS management that streamlining, expediting, and improving the overall support processes will resolve customer satisfaction issues, improve EHTSS metrics, and reduce the ancillary costs in supporting the eRoom infrastructure. By comparing and contrasting production management TOC principals with TOC and logical processes I will reveal how EHTSS can utilize TOC to improve the support of Ford's eRoom infrastructure.

Justification for Increasing Headcount:

Supporting Ford Motor Company's eRoom Infrastructure

Problem Definition

Enterprise Hosting Technical Support Services (EHTSS) does not have the resources in place to efficiently support the eRoom infrastructure. At the present time, there are only two systems administrators assigned to support the eRoom infrastructure. Categorically, that is not enough personnel to support the current or future environment. Currently, the amount of time it takes to resolve eRoom issues negatively affects overall customer satisfaction, EHTSS metrics, and in extreme cases Ford Motor Company's bottom line. The main objective of this case analysis is to identify the constraints that hinder support of the eRoom infrastructure using TOC and when identified, break those constraints to increase throughput in a system that manufactures IT solutions for eRoom related issues.

Theory of Constraints for Logical Processes

The Theory of Constraints for logical processes is the general application of TOC reasoning to attack a variety of process problems within an organization. TOC logic is applied to identify what factors are limiting an organization from achieving its goals, developing a solution to the problem, and getting the individuals in the process to invent the required changes for themselves. Before identifying the constraints, we need to answer three fundamental questions ahead of applying TOC.

What to Change:

The first question, what to change, is simple. The way EHTSS supports the eRoom infrastructure has to change. This is considered the core conflict. Historically, there have only been two systems administrators assigned to the eRoom infrastructure and they process the vast majority of eRoom GIRS Tickets (see Appendix A, figure 2). As mentioned before, this is without a doubt not enough personnel to support the current or future environment. In the past, only two systems administrators were needed because the application was small.

Through the years the eRoom infrastructure has grown to 18 web/application servers and 4 database servers. Currently, eRoom is used by over 74,000 Ford employees. As of January 27, 2005 there were 29,000 active members who had logged into the application over the past four weeks (see Appendix A, figure 3). Because there are only two administrators supporting the eRoom infrastructure, delays occur when processing not only eRoom tickets, but the additional support tickets for the other applications they are responsible for. This overlap has resulted in exceeding service level agreements (SLA) for eRoom as well as other EHTSS customers.

What to Change To:

Second, we must ask the question, what are we going to change to? By challenging the logical assumptions behind the core conflict, a solution to the core conflict is identified. The change required to resolve the core conflict is two fold. First, EHTSS management needs to implement a more robust strategy in order to support the eRoom infrastructure. Based on data that will be presented later, the strategic change will be to increase the headcount and create a dedicated team to support the eRoom infrastructure. Second, as a byproduct of my research, GIRS tickets have been identified that can be offloaded to the SOC.

Applying TOC to resolve the core conflict isn't as easy as one would think. The first problem we will run into is that the desired output of the process is defined differently in Server Hosting Operations versus the output of a manufacturing plant. Ford's Server Hosting Operations is responsible for manufacturing solutions to customer support problems Ð'- an intangible output, whereas a manufacturing operation could be responsible for producing cars Ð'- a tangible output. Another area of difference is that in a product manufacturing plant a single activity may be fed by multiple unrelated prior activities and the unrelated output from each of those prior activities is necessary to complete the new activity (i.e. a door assembly may need a piece from trim, a door handle, the door itself, and a switch). The combination of these activities can run no faster than the slowest feeding up-stream activity. As we learned in The Goal, this is the bottleneck theory introduced



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