Managing industrial service offerings in global business markets

Christian Kowalkowski (Department of Management and Engineering, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden)
Daniel Kindström (Department of Management and Engineering, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden)
Per‐Olof Brehmer (Department of Management and Engineering, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden)

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing

ISSN: 0885-8624

Publication date: 22 February 2011



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 aims to investigate how industrial service offerings are developed and managed in multinational manufacturing companies.


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.


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.


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.



Kowalkowski, C., Kindström, D. and Brehmer, P. (2011), "Managing industrial service offerings in global business markets", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 181-192.

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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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