The debate about whether any difference exists between manufacturing and service operations is discussed. There is no difference per se between the two types of operation and that debate about differences between them is spurious. There are significant differences between operating systems which process materials and those which deal directly with customers. These differences are sufficient to require different treatment for material processing operations and customer processing operations. The similarities and differences between the two types of system are demonstrated, and strategies for managing customer processing operations are outlined. If an appropriate strategy is adopted, customer processing operations are very similar to material processing operations, but other strategies exist which make customer processing operations very different from material processing operations.
Morris, B. and Johnston, R. (1987), "Dealing with Inherent Variability: The Difference Between Manufacturing and Service?", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 7 No. 4, pp. 13-22. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb054796
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