A lean approach for service productivityimprovements: Synergy or oxymoron?
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Purpose: Service productivity has received increasing attention as service continues to cover greater parts of the economy. And as the competition increases, the need to look at service productivity becomes increasingly important. However, there is scant research on developing services that are both efficient and with high customer satisfaction. The present study aims to address this topic by conceptualizing the applicability of lean principles to service.
Design/methodology/approach: The paper presents a conceptual analysis of the six most commonly used lean principles in manufacturing and their applicability in a service context for different types of services.
Findings: The study suggests promising synergies, as well as important obstacles, for applying lean principles in services. Standardizing services and increasing reliability in service processes through lean principles can increase efficiency. However, the active role of the customer in certain services along with simultaneously high diversity makes it increasingly difficult to apply lean principles. Also, customer satisfaction must be considered when improving service productivity, otherwise the positive long-term effects of a lean approach in service will be absent.
Practical implications: The findings are useful for organizations aiming to improve their service productivity. Particularly, lean principles are invaluable to increase the efficiency for services with low diversity and low customer participation. This paper suggests a direction for the proper use of lean principles for different service types, and how efficiency and customer satisfaction is affected through a lean approach.
Originality/Value: The study contributes to the research on service productivity. The study also contributes to continuing discussions on prototypic characteristics of service and manufacturing orientations.
Lean principles, service productivity, service process, efficiency, customer satisfaction
Engineering and Technology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-89927OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-89927DiVA: diva2:610448