Michael Tay Ming Kiong*, Lim Chin Chin
16thTriennial meeting of IAFS, abstract No.OC-310 (oral presentation)
Objectives: This paper discusses the key drivers of change and how modern management tools and techniques can be applied to the management and development of forensic science in the light of its changing context.
Nature of study: Forensic science has undergone rapid change on multiple fronts in recent years. Today’s forensic science managers grapple with increasing workloads and constantly rising demands of investigators, the justice system and the public. Forensic labs today are awakening to market forces and customer orientation. High-tech crimes, new market demands and expectations of shorter turn-around times are putting pressure on limited lab resources. Demand for forensic services continues to grow, while lab budgets often remain static. Media coverage, intense scrutiny and demands for greater public accountability and transparency often place forensic science on trial, resulting in more stringent quality measures, and the need for accreditation and certification. Globalisation, the Internet and easy communications through e-mail greatly increase awareness among clients of capabilities and prices elsewhere and inevitable value-for-money comparisons. Defense counsels are better informed and more assertive in their challenges. Rapidly advancing technologies are obsoletising old procedures, imposing new technical competencies, setting new industry standards and creating new possibilities. The introduction and growth of new forensic disciplines require new paradigms, structures, linkages, technical expertise and integration. Environmental scanning and long-range planning will be the new order of the day.
Materials and methods: We present some key management tools for forensic science managers: marketing and strategic management (mission, business scope definition, objectives and strategies, values, customer segmentation, core capabilities, competency management, product life cycles, portfolio of services, marketing mix, service management, customer satisfaction), operations and information management (capacity, value chain analysis, quality, technology, innovation, R&D, process re-engineering, knowledge & organisational learning, networks, performance culture and measurement) and management accounting (pricing, capital budgeting, etc).
Conclusion: Forensic scientists have a wide range of management tools to describe, analyse and understand our complex operating environments, and to prescribe solutions to address growing challenges and rising stakeholder demands. Forensic managers need to accept new roles and adapt to the changing managerial landscape.