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Operation management – London eye case study Essay

“Quality means consistence conformance to costumer expectations” (Slack, Chambers & Johnston 2010 pg 40) Quality for the London eye could mean designing a structure that provides a bird’s eye view of London. Quality could also mean a high design of their processes, including ensuring that all 32 capsules are cleaned, staff are well trained in health and safety and are always professional at all times. Quality also means the London eye is safe and reliable. Quality also means that the timed admissions booking systems (TABS) is on time. Quality could also mean error free processing for their timed admissions system. Quality means that all parts for the London eye is made to specification and the assembly is made to specifications.

Speed objectives:
Speed within the operation could mean minimising the time it takes costumers from boarding to disembarking. Speed could also mean minimising the time it takes from designing and planning the London eye to the completion of construction to the London eye. Speed could also mean providing a high throughput rate during the year to cope with passengers demand. Example – The London eye take approximately six million people each year the London eye would have to provide a high throughput rate for the year to manage the demand. “Speed could mean the immediate stoppage of the London eye if an error is found with the wheel, a good example in March 2008 engineers found a problem, the London eye was immediately stopped and emergency repairs take place”. (Ronca 2002 pg 3) Dependability objectives:

“Dependability means doing things in time for costumers to receive their goods or services”. (Slack, Chambers & Johnston 2010 pg 44) Dependability for the London eye include on time opening hours and closing hours, on time boarding and disembarking , keeping to reasonable queuing times to prevent long queues and increasing the flow of passengers boarding and disembarking and Keeping to TABS time.

Flexibility objectives:
“Changing the operation in some way either by changing what the operation does, how the operation is done or when it is being done”. (Slack, Chambers & Johnston 2010 pg 46)

Mix flexibility – The London eye main objective is to provide a bird’s eye view of London in the early years, now with mix flexibility the London provides a range of other services including private capsules, wedding partnerships and corporate events. The London eye also provides volume flexibility by providing by changing the opening hours and closing hours during the winter months and summer months. Ensuring more people can avail of their services during the summer months compared to the winter months. Cost objectives:

The London eye costs include staff costs construction costs, transportation costs and maintenance costs. The staff costs include staff wages and training, Construction costs include the making of the parts of the London eye, this includes the A-frame legs, hub and spindle, back –stay cables, spoke cables, rim, and insulated capsules. Transportation costs contain transferring each parts of the London eye using barges up the River Thames. Maintenance costs include a safety check on all parts of the eye especially the hydraulic motors, drive systems, safety systems and the backup safety system.

Day to day operating costs includes heating, lighting and cleaning of the capsules. (See excel document for breakdown). Overall maintenance costs and construction costs take up most of the London eye. Operating costs especially heating can be reduced by providing a system were the heat in empty capsules can be switched off over a long period of time especially during the winter months because they may expect low passenger demand. E.g – On a cold and wet winter day, the passengers numbers for the London eye will be reduced compared to a summer day. Heating could be turned off at this time. This reduces costs and at the same time increase productivity.

Question 2

32 capsules X 25 people = 800 passengers for half can hour. 800 people X 2 = 1600 passengers per hour.
Summertime schedule
10am – 9.30pm = 12 hours
1600 passengers X 12 hours = 19,200 passengers for 12 hours/day. 19,200 passengers X 7 days = 134,440 passengers per week.
Summer weeks = 24 weeks.
Therefore total capacity for the summer is:
134,440 passengers per week X 24 weeks = 3,225,600 passengers Winter Schedule
1600 X 8 hours = 12, 800 passengers for an 8 hours/day
10am – 6pm = 8 hours
12,800 passengers X 7 days = 89,600 passengers per week.
Winter weeks = 28 weeks.
Therefore total capacity for the winter is:
89,600 passengers per week X 28 weeks = 2,508,800 passengers

Total capacity based on the operating schedule of the London eye is: schedule
Winter schedule
Summer schedule
Total operating Capacity

Question 3

There could be a loss of utilisation on the London eye due to variety of issues. Weather conditions The weather conditions can affect the London eye in a number of ways examples – utilisation can be affected in a number of ways. Heavy winds can affect the utilisation of the eye forcing it to stop also heavy snowfall can delay and reduce the amount of rotations the eye can perform or worse snowfall could mean that the London eye will not be operational.

Blackouts will have a major impact on the London eye. The London eye is
powered electrically it needs electricity to rotate and in the event of a blackout, the London eye will be defective meaning it won’t be available to the public.

Maintenance in the case of the London eye mean checking for problems with the machines and servicing and replacing parts of the machines, maintenance could also mean cleaning the thirty two capsules. This can affect the utilisation of the service. Maintenance would not affect the utilisation if it is carried out after the opening hours of the London eye.

Industrial actions
Industrial actions in the form of strike can result to a loss in utilisation because without employees operating the London eye it means tourist cannot make use of the service it offers leading to a loss in utilisation.

Security threats
Although this is very unlikely, security threats especially terrorism threats or bomb blasts can also lead to a loss in utilisation. A bomb blast around the London eye could totally destroy it or cause massive damage making the London eye unrepairable while a terror threats would force the staff to evacuate tourists on the London eye. Health issues

Health issues could pose a threat to the utilisation of the eye, If a tourist is being sick or injured or a pregnant woman is in one of the capsules during the rotation and goes into labour. The passengers would need to be rushed to the hospital, passengers won’t be allowed in any capsules until the passengers have been taken of the capsules. Future development.

Future development could lead to a loss of utilisation in the future for the London eye if larger buildings are built around the area of the London eye and thus hindering the view of famous buildings around the eye, People won’t find the London eye, causing passengers numbers to fall leading to loss in utilisation.

Competition based tourist destinations.
This could also lead to a loss in utilisation indirectly. If people find other tourist destinations in London more attractive than the London eye, like the Big Ben or Chessington world of adventures or the globe. This could lead to a loss in passenger’s numbers to a low level for the London eye which creates loss in utilisation. The London eye process.

This is relates more on the employees if employees are handling the operations of getting passengers on and off the capsules badly this could lead to sometimes not all capsules being filled, longer queues and a major loss in the utilisation of the London eye.


1. Debra Ronca,(2008) ‘How the London eye work’ Available from http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/london-eye2.htm. [Accessed 28 November 2012]

2. Slack, Chambers & Johnston,(2010), Operations Management London Prentice Pearson

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