A process strategy is an organization’s approach to transforming resources into goods and services. Which process strategy would a hospital choose and why?  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Process strategy, sometimes referred to as process and capacity design, is the way an organization turns the various resources at its disposal into products and services that benefit its consumer base. An appropriate process strategy should simultaneously meet all cost, customer and product specification requirements.

There are four specific types...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Process strategy, sometimes referred to as process and capacity design, is the way an organization turns the various resources at its disposal into products and services that benefit its consumer base. An appropriate process strategy should simultaneously meet all cost, customer and product specification requirements.


There are four specific types of process strategies. Product focus outputs high volume and low variety using massive QC and consistency measures. Process focus is, inversely, a much more flexible system that results in low volume and high variety. Repetitive focus is assembly line manufacturing that uses established models prior to the start of production. And mass customization offers end users a fully custom, tailor-made experience.


Hospitals engage in a process strategy that is simultaneously process-focused, considering their relatively low market share of total patients compared to total population, and customized in their approach to patient care. This is thanks to the extremely high variety of cases that medical professionals must deal with on a daily basis.


Factors that affect the feasibility of a process-focused process strategy include the type of equipment, workforce, and capital intensity involved in operations. Organizations such as hospitals require a large degree of customization among lower volumes of people. Because of this dynamic, they can more effectively employ equipment with low fixed costs that in turn offsets the lower volume of potential customers.


Moreover, the workforce strategy must enable flexibility. Hospitals should be able to hire appropriate personnel when needed to address the variety of tasks required, or fixed full-time workers, like general practitioners or registered nurses, who are capable of handling a wide variety of tasks.


Capital intensity for hospitals, like many other low-volume and high-variety businesses, is usually high. The customized approach to patient care requires special equipment and high-skilled workers with specialized knowledge. Hospitals also require relatively low worker-to-patient ratios to operate properly.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There are four different process strategies, and there are instances in the running of a hospital in which most of these would be utilized.

The first of these is product focus, which relates to a scenario in which products are mass produced with little variation. This is the process strategy which has the least to do with hospitals.

The second strategy, process focus, refers to scenarios in which highly variable processes are undertaken in small quantities. Surgeons, for example, will focus on the individual task of finding the right medical solution for every patient in the operating theatre.

Repetitive focus is another strategy that comes into play in a hospital environment. Hospitals require this type of focus to carry out functions such as preparation and distribution of food. The production of medical paraphernalia, such as syringes, needles, and other important supplies, will not actually take place in the hospital. Their production provides another example of repetitive focus in the medical field.

Mass customisation refers to products being custom-made to meet the specific needs of one customer, or, in this case, patient. For example, a doctor may prescribe an unusual combination of medications to suit one particular patient, or use a bandage that is applied in a particular way. In other words, a mass-produced product, such as a bandage or medicine, can be used in a customised manner.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Process strategy involves figuring out the most efficient way to produce a good or deliver a service so that processes do not need to be outsourced and so that quality assurance is maximized. There are four types of process strategies: process focus; repetitive focus; product focus; and mass customization.

A hospital needs to implement the process strategy of process focus, which involves producing low-volume services that involve a high degree of variety. This type of process strategy permits a business to use flexible strategies to produce different kinds of services and to concentrate on the processes that are essential to a business. For example, a hospital would concentrate on the processes of patient care and patient outcomes, as these processes and everything that goes into them (including nursing, physician care, pharmacy care, nutrition, etc.) are essential to the core business of the hospital. 

Repetitive focus involves the mass production of goods and services through repetitive processes. A hospital uses these types of functions, such as in food production, but they are not as essential to the hospital as the special functions it provides in giving medical care. 

Product focus involves producing high volumes of a particular product without a great deal of variety or flexibility. This is not usually the focus of a hospital, unless it is a specialized hospital that focuses on one area, such as surgery, as most hospitals offer a variety of types of medical care.

Mass customization, which is the most complicated type of process strategy, involves using up the resources of the organization to suit the needs of its customers on a constantly changing basis. A hospital must also use this strategy at times, as the hospital must deliver what the patient wants when he or she wants it. For example, different patients will require different types of medical or other interventions depending on their needs. One person in a community hospital might need diabetes care, while another might need a knee replacement surgery. The hospital must customize its services for each patient. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team