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A lean approach for service productivityimprovements: Synergy or oxymoron?
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, Industrial Marketing and Industrial Economics. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Industrial Marketing and Industrial Economics. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4081-9737
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

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.

Keyword [en]
Lean principles, service productivity, service process, efficiency, customer satisfaction
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-89927OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-89927DiVA: diva2:610448
Available from: 2013-03-11 Created: 2013-03-11 Last updated: 2014-04-14
In thesis
1. Extending the Service Innovation Concept: Realization and Productivity
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Extending the Service Innovation Concept: Realization and Productivity
2013 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this study is to contribute to a better understanding of service innovation by exploring realization as a part of service innovation. Service innovation can be described as something that creates value for customers through new service offerings or service processes while realization refers to the actual use or deployment of the service.

My research approach is based on a multiple case study, that focuses on three international firms with origins in Sweden. Empirical material has been gathered through interviews and focus groups. A literature review that tracks the evolution of service innovation further contributes to the exploration of the service innovation concept.

Innovation has traditionally been connected to new technology and new products. However the present study has found that service innovation has evolved into a multifaceted concept. Specifically, service innovation is not restricted to the development of new products and services in the shape of new offerings, it also becomes relevant to consider the actual usage of the service offerings. In order to fully understand the process of service innovation, it is important to include the usage of a service offering in the service innovation concept. This realization occurs when the service offering is introduced and used in the customer’s processes, and typically involves both the customer and the provider.

This research illustrates how realization requires resources from both the provider and the customer. In general, the realization part of the service innovation process requires more participation from the customer than the development of new offerings. However, this can vary depending on the customer’s competence, intention to interact and level of commitment. Considering an active or recipient customer role and also whether the service offering is directed at the products or the customer processes, this study shows how these different service offerings will have different impacts on service innovation realization, for example, in terms of different resources being required.

The extended view of the service innovation concept, includes realization, and is therefore not limited to developing new offerings. This view implies that new areas of innovation that do not necessary need to include new technology, but contribute in other ways to customer value creation must be propelled into focus. Productivity improvements in customer processes are becoming important since they help create customer value (reduced costs, improved quality, reduced down-time etc.). Empirical evidence shows how service offerings that emphasize improvements in customer processes have become more important. This thesis discusses how this view of productivity can result in important benefits for customers, as consideration is given to both customer satisfaction and the use of customer resources. In this respect, productivity becomes a part of the extended service innovation concept.

Extending the service innovation concept by adding realization implies an increased emphasis on deployment, and implicitly on customer value creation. Thus, service innovation becomes critical for gaining long-term sustainable competitive advantages through service.

Abstract [sv]

Syftet med denna studie är att bidra till en ökad förståelse av tjänsteinnovation genom att utforska realiseringsdelen av tjänsteinnovation. Tjänsteinnovation kan beskrivas som något som skapar värde för kunden genom nya erbjudanden eller processer. Realisering syftar till det faktiska användandet av tjänsten.

Denna studie är baserad på en multipel fallstudie av tre globala företag med sina rötter i svensk industri. Det empiriska materialet har samlats in med hjälp av intervjuer och fokusgrupper och till detta har även en litteraturstudie genomförts där tjänsteinnovationsbegreppets utveckling spårats med syfte att bidra till förståelsen av begreppet och dess innebörd.

Traditionellt sett har innovationsbegreppet ofta kopplats samman med ny teknologi och nya produkter. Denna studie har emellertid funnit belägg för att tjänsteinnovation har utvecklats mot ett mer mångfacetterat begrepp som även inkluderar det faktiska användandet av tjänsteerbjudanden. Enligt denna studie, inkluderar användandet av tjänsteerbjudandet en viktig aspekt för förståelsen av tjänsteinnovationsbegreppet. Att se på tjänsteinnovation enligt ett vidare perspektiv föranleder nya innebörder och här blir realisering en viktig del för förståelsen. Realisering framträder när tjänsteerbjudandet inträder kundens processer, innebär ofta engagemang från både kunden och leverantören.

Denna studie visar att realisering kräver resurser från både leverantören och kunden. Generellt kräver realisering ett aktivt kunddeltagande Dock kan detta deltagande variera beroende på kundens kompetens, vilja samt engagemang. Även typ av tjänsteerbjudande spelar en roll, och i denna studie åtskiljs tjänsteerbjudanden som är riktade mot leverantörens installerade bas av produkter från tjänsteerbjudanden som är riktade mot kundens processer. Lägg där till kundens aktiva eller mottagande roll, så visar denna studie hur dessa olika typer av tjänsteerbjudanden har olika inverkan på realiseringsdelen av tjänsteinnovation, exempelvis kräver de olika resurser i anspråk.

En vidare syn på tjänsteinnovationsbegreppet, en syn som inte begränsas till att enbart beakta utvecklandet av nya erbjudanden utan även realisering, medför nya områden för tjänsteinnovation som inte nödvändigtvis innefattar ny teknologi, men som på andra sätt bidrar till skapandet av kundvärde. Produktivitetsförbättringar i kundens processer är ett område som blir intressant då detta i hög grad kan medföra ökat kundvärde i form av minskade kostnader, förbättrad kvalitet, maximerad körtid etcetera. Empiriska inblickar visar även hur olika typer av tjänsteerbjudanden som framhäver kundens processer, och hur förbättringar här kan erhållas, får en allt viktigare roll inom företagen. Denna studie avhandlar hur produktivitet kan åstadkomma stora fördelar för kunden då hänsyn till kundnöjdhet såväl som användandet av kundens egna resurser tas i beaktande. I detta avseende så blir produktivitet en viktig del at det utökade tjänsteinnovationsbegreppet.

Genom att utöka begreppet tjänsteinnovation till att också inkludera realisering, så ges användandet ett större fokus och implicit också kundens värdeskapande. Därmed blir tjänsteinnovation kritiskt för att uppnå framtida konkurrensfördelar med tjänster.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2013. 64 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1580
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-89930 (URN)LiU-TEK-LIC 2013:14 (Local ID)978-91-7519-665-7 (ISBN)LiU-TEK-LIC 2013:14 (Archive number)LiU-TEK-LIC 2013:14 (OAI)
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-03-11 Created: 2013-03-11 Last updated: 2015-05-19Bibliographically approved

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Carlborg, PerKindström, DanielKowalkowski, Christian

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