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Service strategies in product manufacturing companies

Heiko Gebauer (Institute of Technology Management, University of St Gallen, St Gallen, Switzerland. Heiko Gebauer can be reached at
Carlos Bravo‐Sanchez (Institute of Technology Management, University of St Gallen, St Gallen, Switzerland.)
Elgar Fleisch (Institute of Technology Management, University of St Gallen, St Gallen, Switzerland.)

Business Strategy Series

ISSN: 1751-5637

Article publication date: 1 January 2008




The purpose of this paper is to emphasize how different service strategies are properly aligned with the external environment, and how organizational factors lead to a specific level of service‐related performance outcomes.


A multicase research design on Western‐European firms is used as the research methodology. This study answers the following three strategic questions: what typical service strategies exist that enable firms to move from products to services?; what is the appropriate alignment of the service strategies with the external environment and organizational design?; and what performance level can be achieved through the service strategies?


After‐sales service providers are faced with a high competitive intensity and their customers invest in low‐priced products. Customer support providers' market consists of customers who are looking for outstanding product quality. Development partners' customers expect specific solutions for the operating processes.

Research limitations/implications

The study focuses only on manufacturing companies in business‐to‐business markets. The findings are limited to this sector.

Practical implications

The paper assists managers in concentrating on the right triggers for implementing the service strategy.


Both scholars and managers tend to be somewhat vague in suggesting strategies to move along the transition line from products to services. This study identifies specific service strategies that enable manufacturing firms to shift their position on the transition line.



Gebauer, H., Bravo‐Sanchez, C. and Fleisch, E. (2008), "Service strategies in product manufacturing companies", Business Strategy Series, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 12-20.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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