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In-depth study of decoupling point as a reference model: An application for health service supply chain

Guven-Uslu, Pinar; Chan, Hing Kai; Ijaz, Sadia; Bak, Ozlem; Whitlow, Barry; Kumar, Vikas

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Pinar Guven-Uslu

Hing Kai Chan

Sadia Ijaz

Ozlem Bak

Barry Whitlow


© 2013 © 2013 Taylor & Francis. This paper reports the findings from a case study research about in-depth analysis of decoupling point as a reference model to address a particular management dilemma. Managers from a health service organisation contacted the researchers to investigate possible causes of a managerial dilemma where managers and clinical professionals were not able to agree on a satisfactory decision. Researchers designed a decoupling point reference model where decision-making was taking place to decide which particular process would be chosen for treatment. Clinical professionals were favouring a particular process because of health benefits to patients, whereas managers were more inclined to support a different process, which seemed to bring better outcomes for the organisation. The decoupling point implied applying a hybrid strategy where lean and agile paradigms coexisted so that particular operational views of these different groups of professionals could be taken into account simultaneously. The current performance management system indicated some limitations in the sense that it did not include relevant knowledge of the processes that the reference model suggested. The paper concluded that reference models have potential to offer benefits if considered as tools of process-driven analysis for service organisations. They could serve to find out about potential conflict between different professional groups, as well as indicating the limitations or weaknesses of other critical aspects of management such as measuring of performance and allocations of resources so that better integration across all facets of the service could be achieved.


Guven-Uslu, P., Chan, H. K., Ijaz, S., Bak, O., Whitlow, B., & Kumar, V. (2014). In-depth study of decoupling point as a reference model: An application for health service supply chain. Production Planning and Control, 25(13-14), 1107-1117.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 23, 2013
Publication Date Oct 25, 2014
Deposit Date Nov 9, 2015
Publicly Available Date Feb 9, 2016
Journal Production Planning and Control
Print ISSN 0953-7287
Electronic ISSN 1366-5871
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 25
Issue 13-14
Pages 1107-1117
Keywords service supply chain, decoupling point, reference model, health service
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Production Planning & Control on 25 June 2013, available online:


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