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Managing industrial service offerings in global business markets
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Industrial Marketing and Industrial Economics. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4081-9737
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Industrial Marketing and Industrial Economics. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Logistics Management. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3986-9160
2011 (English)In: Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, ISSN 0885-8624, Vol. 26, no 3, 181-192 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – Despite the increased focus on industrial services in manufacturing companies, little research to date has focused on understanding the roles of local and central organizations in global service management. In order to address this research gap, the paper investigates how industrial service offerings are developed and managed in multinational manufacturing companies.

Design/methodology/approach – A qualitative case study with respondents from two internationally leading manufacturers was conducted. Eight industrial service offerings with different characteristics serve as units of analysis.

Findings – A broad portfolio of industrial service offerings implies having a very wide range of skill sets, including both global efficiency and local responsiveness. With specialized and extensive offerings, it becomes more important to have a high level of central-local and product-service integration and to internalize service provision. Furthermore, with global customers, the central service organization needs to assume a more prominent role, initiating both an organizational exploitation of current service capabilities and the exploration of new ones.

Research limitations/implications – The main focus was on service offerings performed by high-volume manufacturing companies operating primarily in developed markets.

Originality/value – Previous studies of industrial service management in manufacturing companies have not explicitly considered the roles of central and local organizations. Thus, the authors were able to complement the existing theory. The paper promotes a deeper understanding of the complexity of managing service offerings on a global basis.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 26, no 3, 181-192 p.
Keyword [en]
Industrial service offerings, Multinational companies, International business, Service systems
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-12461DOI: 10.1108/08858621111115903ISI: 000290647000005OAI: diva2:155
Original Publication: Christian Kowalkowski, Daniel Kindström and Per-Olof Brehmer, Managing industrial service offerings in global business markets, 2011, Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, (26), 3, 181-192. Copyright: Emerald Group Publishing Limited Available from: 2008-09-05 Created: 2008-09-05 Last updated: 2014-04-14
In thesis
1. Managing the Industrial Service Function
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Managing the Industrial Service Function
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

During the past decade, growing attention has been given to industrial service offerings in the marketing literature as well as in many manufacturing firms. This phenomenon is often described as a goods-services transition, in which companies increasingly turn to the provision of industrial services in order to achieve competitive advantage, such a closer customer relationships and higher profit margins. Industrial services span a wide range of offerings, from basic after-sales services to process-orientated solutions consisting of both services and capital goods. With industrial service offerings receiving increased attention as their importance is understood, the ability to manage the service business in a manufacturing context becomes ever more vital.

The overall purpose of this doctoral thesis is to describe and analyse how capital equipment manufacturing firms strategically manage their industrial service offerings in order to achieve long-term competitive advantage. This includes analysing how to organise the firm for the development and production of service, and, depending on the type of industrial service offering, what the requirements on the service processes are. Furthermore the role of information and communication technologies as enablers for new offerings and processes is analysed. The thesis consists of a compilation of five papers, two case descriptions and an extended summary. The research builds on a multiple case study of the service organisations of market-leading manufacturing firms. The main cases are based on in-depth studies at ITT Water & Wastewater and Toyota Material Handling Group.

The results suggest that, as the division between goods and services becomes ever more blurred, there is an increasing need for cooperation between the service and the product organisations. Applying a service logic means that the traditional division between goods sales and after-sales services becomes outdated. Instead, the customer relationship becomes the centre of the offering regardless of its combination of services and goods. Further, the infusion of service in manufacturing firms means that more service processes and interfaces have to be managed simultaneously.

Theoretically, this research contributes mainly to the fields of industrial marketing and service as a business logic. One contribution is the proposed typologies for industrial service offerings which make it possible to better understand the dynamics of service processes. Another important contribution of this research is the service function concept. Industrial services must not be equated with the activities of the industrial service organisation only. Although the service organisation most likely is the key entity, it is only one subset of the service function; sales product development, manufacturing, senior management, and other organisational entities, as well as external service providers and customers, are to be seen as part-time service functions that influence the offering. Compared to previously, competitive advantage through industrial service offerings is to a greater extent based on factors outside the service organisation, i.e. in other parts of the service function.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2008. 64 p.
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1198Dissertations from the International Graduate School of Management and Industrial Engineering, ISSN 1402-0793 ; 117
Industrial service offerings, service function, manufacturing firms, ICT, customer relationships, value
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-12463 (URN)978-91-7393-846-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-08-29, ACAS, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Available from: 2008-09-09 Created: 2008-09-05 Last updated: 2014-04-14Bibliographically approved

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