Internal supply chain performance measurement

Kerry D. Swinehart (Department of Management and Marketing, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee, USA)
Allen E. Smith (School of Business, Francis Marion University, Florence, South Carolina, USA)

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance

ISSN: 0952-6862

Publication date: 1 December 2005



The purpose of this article is to present one example of how the strategies of total quality management (TQM) and continuous improvement are being used by US health care providers to meet the challenges of the future.


This article presents an application utilizing the strategies of TQM and continual and rapid improvement in the area of assessing internal customer satisfaction in the health care arena. Satisfaction information concerning internal processes is critically important to the health care provider, and this article presents the development and application of an instrument designed to provide timely and relevant internal customer satisfaction information to individual health care providers. This provides information on problem identification and improvement opportunities for a world‐class continuous improvement program.


The article finds that customer satisfaction is increasingly being recognized as an appropriate measure for determining how well a particular organization is accomplishing its mission and, while customer satisfaction surveys provide valuable information and may be used to improve the entire operation, they provide limited insight into the details of the inner workings of each cost center. Each of the measures discussed in this article is potentially equally insightful and may provide more directly usable information when applied to internal customers.


This article provides useful information on providing customer satisfaction in the health care arena.



Swinehart, K. and Smith, A. (2005), "Internal supply chain performance measurement", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 18 No. 7, pp. 533-542.

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Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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