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Servitization and operations management: a service dominant-logic approach

Laura Smith (University of Exeter Business School, Exeter, UK)
Roger Maull (University of Exeter Business School, Exeter, UK)
Irene C.L. Ng (International Manufacturing Centre, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 28 January 2014




The purpose of this paper is to provide further insight into operations management of the product-service (P-S) transition, known as servitization, and the resulting product service system (PSS) offerings. In exploring the P-S transition, this paper adopts a service-dominant (S-D) logic view of value creation, using it as a lens through which to explore value propositions of the P-S transition and their operations design.


This paper presents an in-depth case study of an original equipment manufacturer of durable capital equipment who, over the last five years, has expanded its offerings to include use- and result-orientated PSS. The research design uses a multi-method approach; employing 28 in-depth qualitative interviews with customers and employees and analysis of texts, documents and secondary data including five years of enterprise resource planning (ERP), call centre and contract data.


The paper identifies ten generic P-S attributes that are abstracted into four nested value propositions: asset value proposition; recovery value proposition; availability value proposition; and outcome value proposition. In examining the operations design for delivery of these value propositions, it is found that the role and importance of contextual variety increases as the organisation moves through the value propositions. Interdependencies amongst the value propositions and differences in operational design for each value proposition are also found.

Research limitations/implications

The paper investigates PSS through a S-D logic mindset. First, the paper considers value propositions of PSS not according to “product” or “service” but in terms of how resources (both material and human) are optimally designed to co-create customer value. Second, a value co-creation system of nested value propositions is illustrated. In so doing, the findings have a number of implications for literature on both PSS and S-D logic. In addition, the research adds to the PSS literature through the identification and consideration of the concept of contextual use variety.

Practical implications

The paper demonstrates the complexity of the transition from product to service. Specifically, service cannot be seen as a bolt-on extra to their product offering; complexity caused by interactions and changes to the core offering require a systems perspective and consideration of both firm and customer skills and resources.


This paper extends existing literature on the P-S transition and its implications for operations management. Notably, it takes an S-D logic perspective of value creation and in so doing highlights the importance and role of contextual use variety in the P-S transition. It also provides further empirical evidence that the P-S transition cannot be treated as discrete stages but is evolutionary and requires a complex systems perspective.



Smith, L., Maull, R. and C.L. Ng, I. (2014), "Servitization and operations management: a service dominant-logic approach", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 34 No. 2, pp. 242-269.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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