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Article

Daniela Andreini, Jari Salo, Robert Wendelin, Giuditta Pezzotta and Paolo Gaiardelli

Productization, defined as the standardization of the production and delivery processes of services, is an approach that many service companies undertake, moving from…

Abstract

Purpose

Productization, defined as the standardization of the production and delivery processes of services, is an approach that many service companies undertake, moving from relationship-intensive customer projects toward selling specific standardized offerings. In contrast to research on servitization, little in-depth research is available on the effects of this change of approach on the buyer-seller relationship. The purpose of this paper is to narrow this gap by providing evidence of the outcomes of productization in a corporate bank which has been serving Tier 1 customers for more than 15 years.

Design/methodology/approach

Using the IMP Group approach, this research identifies how productization affects buyer-seller relationships. In total, 37 key informant interviews were conducted on both sides of the buyer-seller relationship.

Findings

This research identified direct effects of productization relevant to buyer-seller relationships, and as many indirect effects through internal organizational processes. Productized service companies should develop their relationships with customers, by separating the standardization of the internal productization processes from the external relationship-based activities.

Originality/value

This paper contribute to the literature, exploring the long-term consequences of productization of services for the buyer-seller relationships.

Details

IMP Journal, vol. 9 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2059-1403

Keywords

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Article

Janne Harkonen, Arto Tolonen and Harri Haapasalo

The previous literature has indicated that the productisation of services may play a role in service management, although a certain level of obscurity still surrounds the…

Abstract

Purpose

The previous literature has indicated that the productisation of services may play a role in service management, although a certain level of obscurity still surrounds the concept. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to clarify the meaning of service productisation (SP) as well as to contribute to a greater understanding of the concept.

Design/methodology/approach

An inductive analysis was applied to 13 instances of activities related to the productisation of services, with secondary data being analysed to identify practices relevant to SP and to examine their significance. The analysis is guided by an extensive literature review.

Findings

SP has been found to play a role in systematising and tangibilising a service offering and its related processes as well as in formalising the processes and service offerings. The potential elements of SP have been identified and supporting evidence has been provided. The findings indicate that SP has a specific focus on the offering and its related processes, with the aim being to create a service product that can be sold, delivered and invoiced. SP may utilise various practices and techniques, and customer orientation also plays a significant role. A typology of SP has been created by reflecting on its commercial and technical aspects.

Practical implications

This study has important implications for the service industry as it provides a structure and key considerations for productising services.

Originality/value

This study is one of the first to seek evidence for the concept of SP from multiple instances of SP as well as an extensive literature base. The typology created provides a context for discussing SP as well as reflecting on its commercial and technical aspects.

Details

Journal of Service Management, vol. 28 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-5818

Keywords

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Article

Aku Valtakoski and Katriina Järvi

The purpose of this paper is to study the antecedents of service innovation success in the knowledge-intensive business services context, especially why the participation…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to study the antecedents of service innovation success in the knowledge-intensive business services context, especially why the participation of frontline employees and multiple organizational units is not enough for succeeding in knowledge-intensive service productization.

Design/methodology/approach

A multiple-case study of two polar cases with longitudinal data, participant observation, and key personnel interviews.

Findings

Case evidence indicates that frontline employee participation and cross-unit collaboration are not sufficient antecedents for successful service productization. Instead, to facilitate employee knowledge sharing, managers need to align the project goals with the goals of participating employees, and promote trust among the project workgroup. Moreover, to enable effective cross-unit collaboration, managers need to facilitate the establishment of common vocabulary for productization work and services, and to resolve any emerging conflicts between participating organizational units.

Practical implications

The findings indicate the importance of enabling knowledge sharing and cross-unit collaboration for service productization. The identified antecedents translate to practical strategies for achieving these. The results also highlight the importance of bottom-up service innovation, and the management of service innovation on the group level.

Originality/value

The study indicates that common antecedents for successful service innovation may not be sufficient in the knowledge-intensive context, calling into question the assumptions about individual and group behavior in service innovation, and suggesting the importance of multi-level perspective on service innovation.

Details

Journal of Service Management, vol. 27 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-5818

Keywords

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Article

Jochen Wirtz

This paper aims to emphasize a research priority on the understanding of service products and how services can be productized. Furthermore, it provides perspectives on the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to emphasize a research priority on the understanding of service products and how services can be productized. Furthermore, it provides perspectives on the contribution of service research to management practice and who should be the main target audience of service research.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is based on the personal reflections of an author of two leading services marketing textbooks.

Findings

This paper develops three propositions related to service research. First, it advances that academic service research has neglected the important topic of productizing services and that service products should be treated as concrete units of deliverables to customers rather than something fuzzy of unspecified quantity. That is, service products should be developed, designed, specified, configured, modularized, bundled, tiered, branded, priced sold and delivered to customers. More research is needed on how organizations can do this. Second, this paper argues that academics frequently underestimate the significant contributions service research has made to management practice and details important contributions that originated from the service research community. Third, it is proposed that the main target audience of service research should not be the marketing, sales and service departments. Rather, it should be decision makers (especially C-level executives) across all functions who should develop a service perspective and service mindset.

Research limitations/implications

This paper urges service researchers to focus on what are service products and how firm can create, manage and deliver them. Furthermore, it suggests that service researchers should be more confident and proud of the significant progress and contributions they have made to management practice over the past few decades. Finally, service researchers should tailor their messages for decisions makers of all organizational functions and departments in service organizations.

Originality/value

As a writer of five editions of a services marketing textbook, the author has sifted through three decades of service research. The reflections in this paper originate from this unique perspective.

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Article

Nofie Iman

The literature on modularity is extensive, but most research has been concerned with the manufacturing sector and much less with the service sector. The purpose of this…

Abstract

Purpose

The literature on modularity is extensive, but most research has been concerned with the manufacturing sector and much less with the service sector. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the existing research, to provide a critique of the empirical literature on service modularity and to discuss future research opportunities.

Design/methodology/approach

To perform this analysis of service modularity, a list of top-tier journals in the field of business management and organisation was compiled. From there, each and every article was identified, examined, coded and classified into high-level themes. These were then reviewed, analysed and interpreted.

Findings

This paper argues that the application of modularity in services will likely be influenced by certain characteristics that distinguish services from products. Second, modularity, from the service perspective, has been closely connected to productisation of services, and the discussion of modularity related to services has been greatly influenced by the earlier discussion on product modularity. This paper concludes that modularity in the service development context is still seeking its theoretical “identity” and requires further theoretical and empirical work on service design modularity conceptualisation, methods and measures.

Originality/value

This paper has reviewed several significant fields with which research on service modularity has been concerned. It captures and presents the core notion of service modularity in a critical way that might spur further research in the field.

Details

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, vol. 8 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1756-669X

Keywords

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Article

Tiina Tuominen and Miia Martinsuo

The purpose of this paper is to identify and explain how different kinds of knowledge-intensive business service processes (KIBS processes) can be formalised without…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify and explain how different kinds of knowledge-intensive business service processes (KIBS processes) can be formalised without excessively limiting employees’ agency, and thus flexibility in value creation. Previous research acknowledges the need to balance flexibility and formalisation but does not investigate how employees achieve this balance in various types of KIBS processes.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper employs a qualitative multiple-case study approach to compare employees’ agency in six successful formalisation projects targeting different types of KIBS processes in three firms. Through a systematic mapping of employees’ agency across the cases, this study reveals alternative patterns of formalisation that enable agency.

Findings

The findings reveal notable differences in employees’ agency in the studied cases. When KIBS processes were scale intensive and/or the culture-favoured conformity, formalisation projects were centrally organised, and employees obeyed codified process templates, even though some agency remained. When KIBS processes were smaller scale and/or the culture-favoured freedom, employees conducted formalisation projects autonomously and retained higher levels of agency in formalised KIBS processes.

Practical implications

Firms and business units providing KIBS should choose their formalisation approaches locally based on the scalability of the KIBS process, their employees’ skill levels, knowledge bases and culture. Choosing the right approach enables flexibility while striving for efficient processes.

Originality/value

Previous studies suggest that formalisation benefits only some KIBS, but this comparative approach shows that a variety of KIBS processes benefit from formalisation if the formalisation approach is tailored to the context. Alternative patterns of formalisation are revealed to guide further empirical research on the topic.

Details

Journal of Service Theory and Practice, vol. 29 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2055-6225

Keywords

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Article

Nina Löfberg and Maria Åkesson

The purpose of this paper is to further develop the construct of service platform and to clarify the definition of service platform in an industrial context. To do so, an…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to further develop the construct of service platform and to clarify the definition of service platform in an industrial context. To do so, an understanding of the foundations for service platforms, based on a service perspective, is created.

Design/methodology/approach

The study has adopted a qualitative case study approach and builds on in-depth interviews with remote service teams in two multinational firms: one in the food processing and packaging industry and the other in the pulp and paper industry.

Findings

The foundations for successful service platforms consist of modularising resources, integrations and service processes to create value propositions. The value propositions could result in variations of a service or in variations of different services. When defining the concept service platform, the perspective of service needs to be made evident; therefore, the authors define service platform as: value proposition(s) consisting of a modular structure that invites to and facilitates value co-creation between resources, through integration opportunities in a continuous service process.

Research limitations/implications

The results are based on the perspective of two suppliers in similar industries; only remote services were studied. Firms from different types of industries and other types of services could add to the research on service modularity according to a service perspective. Moreover, information about customers and other actors’ involvement on the platform was gathered from the firms studied, no customers or other actors were interviewed.

Practical implications

This study shows the importance of a firm involving itself in the value creation of the customer, that is, focusing on value co-creation. This implies a close cooperation between the manufacturer and its customer – not only at a given point in time but also over a longer period of cooperation. Through the different types of modules building up the service platform, value co-creation can take place in various ways.

Originality/value

This study offers original empirical contributions on platforms from a service perspective. The study contributes to servitisation, service modularity and service (dominant) logic research by developing an understanding of the foundations for service platforms based on a service perspective. It also contributes to platform research more specifically by developing a definition of service platform in an industrial context.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 33 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

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Article

Anu Bask, Mervi Lipponen, Mervi Rajahonka and Markku Tinnilä

Modularity has been identified as one of the most important methods for achieving mass customization. However, service models that apply varying levels of modularity and…

Abstract

Purpose

Modularity has been identified as one of the most important methods for achieving mass customization. However, service models that apply varying levels of modularity and customization also exist and are appropriate for various business situations. The objective of this paper is to introduce a framework with which different customer service offerings, service production processes, and service production networks can be analyzed in terms of both modularity and customization.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper builds theory and offers a systematic approach for analyzing service modularity and customization. To illustrate the dimensions of the framework, the authors also provide service examples of the various aspects.

Findings

In the previous literature, the concepts of modularity and customization have often been discussed in an intertwined manner. The authors find that when modularity and customization are regarded as two separate dimensions, and different perspectives– such as the service offering, the service production process, and the service production network – are combined we can create a useful framework for analysis.

Research limitations/implications

Rigorous testing is a subject for future research.

Practical implications

The framework helps companies to analyze their service offerings and to compare themselves with other companies. It seems that in practice many combinations of modularity and customization levels are used in the three perspectives.

Originality/value

This paper develops a framework for analyzing service offerings in terms of modularity and customization. The framework provides a basis for analyzing different combinations of these two aspects from the three perspectives, and herein lies its value.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 26 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

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Article

Tim Baines, Ali Ziaee Bigdeli, Oscar F. Bustinza, Victor Guang Shi, James Baldwin and Keith Ridgway

The purpose of this paper is to consolidate the servitization knowledge base from an organizational change perspective, identifying developed, developing and undeveloped…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consolidate the servitization knowledge base from an organizational change perspective, identifying developed, developing and undeveloped topics to provide a platform that directs future research.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper addresses three objectives: it comprehensively examines organizational change management literature for selection of a theoretical framework; it classifies extant studies within the framework through a systemic literature review; and it analyses 232 selected papers and proposes a research agenda.

Findings

Analysis suggests increasing global awareness of the importance of services to manufacturers. However, some topics, especially related to servitization transformation, remain undeveloped.

Research limitations/implications

Although the authors tried to include all publications relevant to servitization, some might not have been captured. Evaluation and interpretation relied on the research team and subsequent research workshops.

Practical implications

One of the most significant challenges for practitioners of servitization is how to transform a manufacturing organization to exploit the opportunity. This paper consolidates literature regarding servitization, identifying progress concerning key research topics and contributing a platform for future research. The goal is to inform research to result eventually in a roadmap for practitioners seeking to servitize.

Originality/value

Although extant reviews of servitization identify themes that are examined well, they struggle to identify unanswered questions. This paper addresses this gap by focusing on servitization as a process of organizational change.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 37 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

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Article

Minna Halonen, Katri Kallio and Eveliina Saari

The purpose of this paper is to report a new kind of workshop process which aims at co‐creation across disciplines in a service research network. The case concerns…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report a new kind of workshop process which aims at co‐creation across disciplines in a service research network. The case concerns Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) and took place from January to May, 2009.

Design/methodology/approach

Both foresight and organizational learning methods are combined in the process. During workshops, researchers and management are enabled to co‐create interdisciplinary service research proposals and a service research strategy for VTT. The workshops are designed to facilitate a dialogue between users of the research and potential collaborators (universities, funding agencies and societal actors). This initiative reflects the current global service science discourse based on a renewal of service management through service‐dominant logic and network thinking.

Findings

Although the need for co‐creation across disciplines and together with the customer has often been stated in service research, methods enabling such a way of acting have rarely been tested and achieved. This method worked as a concrete way for managing future‐oriented networking across organizational borders as a basis for continuous learning and innovation.

Research limitations/implications

The new approach to service science and the methods used in the VTT network are applicable in research practice.

Practical implications

The development process presented in this paper is an embryo for a new kind of research culture that fosters learning in networks as well as the shared and transparent planning of project proposals.

Originality/value

By creating the service science and business network and a process of learning by foresighting and evaluating our ideas on a concrete case are applied. This is believed to be the first time that methods of foresight and organizational learning have been combined. Furthermore, the process builds a research strategy both from below and above and together with customers and other collaborators thus establishing a network of co‐creation.

Details

International Journal of Quality and Service Sciences, vol. 2 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1756-669X

Keywords

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