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A lean approach to service productivity improvements: 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. Hanken School of Economics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4081-9737
2013 (English)In: Managing Service Quality, ISSN 0960-4529, Vol. 23, no 4, 291-304 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – Service productivity continues to receive ever-greater amounts of attention as service covers a greater portion of the economy. As competition increases, service productivity becomes increasingly important. This study aims to explore the applicability of lean principles in a service context and to conceptualize how these principles impact service productivity.

Design/methodology/approach – This paper presents a conceptual analysis of the six most commonly used lean principles in manufacturing and their applicability to a service context for different types of services. Using this analysis, six propositions are developed to examine the influence of lean on service productivity.

Findings – This 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 customer's active role in certain services and, simultaneously, high diversity make the application of lean principles increasingly difficult. 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 – These findings are useful for organizations aiming to improve their service productivity. Particularly, lean principles are invaluable to increase efficiency and customer satisfaction 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 are affected through a lean approach.

Originality/value – This study contributes to the research on service productivity and continues the discussion on prototypic characteristics of service and manufacturing orientations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 23, no 4, 291-304 p.
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-95804DOI: 10.1108/MSQ-04-2013-0052ISI: 000321087100003OAI: diva2:638006
Available from: 2013-07-24 Created: 2013-07-24 Last updated: 2015-05-19
In thesis
1. On Service Innovation and Realization in Manufacturing Firms
Open this publication in new window or tab >>On Service Innovation and Realization in Manufacturing Firms
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Service innovation is increasingly becoming a basis for manufacturing firms to reach and sustain competitive advantages. While traditional product innovation typically includes how new technology can be utilized in new products, service innovation spans a broader area that is not exclusively focused on new technology, but rather how resources can be developed into value propositions and then integrated in the customer’s process in order to support customer value creation through realization. However, manufacturing firms that infuse services struggle with service innovation; this becomes especially evident in the realization phase.

This thesis is a compilation of five papers discussing different aspects of service innovation realization and the inherited challenges. The study builds upon empirical data from four Swedish manufacturing firms that infuse services and develop new value propositions that include both products and services to support customer processes.

The thesis illustrates realization as a phase in service innovation where the firm interacts with its customer in order to adjust, revise and further find new ways of improving the customer’s processes through for example customer training. Realization is characterized by a deployment phase and a post-deployment phase that represent the ongoing relationship between the customer and the firm.

Depending on who has the competencies or ability to integrate the resources that are needed for service innovation, different interaction patterns are identified. Through indirect interaction, the firm facilitates the customer’s value creation through, for example, preventive maintenance, while through direct interaction the firm acts as a co-creator in the service innovation process and hence work jointly together with the customer in order to improve customer value creation.

This thesis contributes to the literature by characterizing service innovation realization and by increasing the understanding for different interaction patterns in the service innovation process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2015. 71 p.
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1675
Service innovation, realization, manufacturing firm, co-creation
National Category
Economics and Business
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-117965 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-117965 (DOI)978-91-7519-053-2 (print) (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-06-05, ACAS, A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköping, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2015-05-19 Created: 2015-05-19 Last updated: 2015-05-19Bibliographically approved

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