This paper aims to investigate how buying companies manage the quality for their externally sourced business services. It explores how quality management for business services influences the performance of the buying company and what the major determinants of quality management are. The paper presents case evidence on which a conceptual model with preliminary propositions is built upon.
The paper uses case study evidence from eight manufacturing and eight service companies. Drawing on the findings of these case studies, a conceptual model with propositions is presented.
The paper suggests that buying companies do not yet use quality management for externally sourced business services to its full potential. However, buying companies using quality management practices for business services report positive effects on service quality and satisfaction of internal or external customers. The major determinants affecting the intensity of quality management are the usage of the service by the buying company, the risk associated with quality failures, the degree of standardization, and volume of the purchased service.
The research is based on information from 16 companies located in Germany and the conducted study is exploratory in nature. The collection of statistical data will be subject to future research as suggested in this paper.
The insights obtained from this paper can assist purchasers in their decision on how to design quality management practices. By understanding, what determines the quality management practices of buying companies, service providers may better adjust their service offerings to customers' requirements.
Quality management for business services in professional procurement has not attracted much academic attention so far, as literature on quality management has mainly adopted the perspective of a goods or service provider. Literature on the purchasing of services concentrates on the differences between the purchasing of goods and services and literature on service quality focuses on consumer services. This paper fills this gap conceptually with a multiple case study and offers guidance for further research.
Holschbach, E. and Hofmann, E. (2011), "Exploring quality management for business services from a buyer's perspective using multiple case study evidence", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 31 No. 6, pp. 648-685. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443571111131980Download as .RIS
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