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Article
Publication date: 5 June 2017

Saara A. Brax, Anu Bask, Juliana Hsuan and Chris Voss

Services are highly important in a world economy which has increasingly become service driven. There is a growing need to better understand the possibilities for, and…

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2483

Abstract

Purpose

Services are highly important in a world economy which has increasingly become service driven. There is a growing need to better understand the possibilities for, and requirements of, designing modular service architectures. The purpose of this paper is to elaborate on the roots of the emerging research stream on service modularity, provide a concise overview of existing work on the subject, and outline an agenda for future research on service modularity and architecture. The articles in the special issue offer four diverse sets of research on service modularity and architecture.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is built on a literature review mapping the current body of literature on the topic and developing future research directions in service modularity and architecture.

Findings

The growing focus on services has triggered needs to investigate the suitability and implementation of physical-product-focused modularity principles and theories in service contexts, and to search for principles/theories that enhance services. The expanding research stream has explored various aspects of service modularity in empirical contexts. Future research should focus on service-specific modularity theories and principles, platform-based and mass-customized service business models, comparative research designs, customer perspectives and service experience, performance in context of modular services, empirical evidence of benefits and challenges, architectural innovation in services, modularization in multi-provider contexts, and modularity in hybrid offerings combining service and tangible product modules.

Originality/value

Nine areas are recommended for further research on service modularity and architecture. The introductory piece also discusses the roots of service modularity and provides an overview of current contributions.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 37 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 5 August 2019

Risto Rajala, Saara A. Brax, Ari Virtanen and Anna Salonen

The purpose of this paper is to identify integrated solutions business as the first generation of servitized offerings and modular solution offerings as the second…

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2965

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify integrated solutions business as the first generation of servitized offerings and modular solution offerings as the second development phase in servitization of original equipment manufacturers. This study examines how the servitized manufacturer, Kone, moves from integrated solutions to modular solutions business and develops the requisite capabilities to design, produce and implement modular solution offerings.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reports a longitudinal case study of a provider of integrated solutions installed in buildings. During the ten years studied, the manufacturer implemented a strategic initiative to modularize its integrated solutions offering.

Findings

The firm’s transition to modular solutions progressed through three major capability development phases: solutions based on ad hoc integration, smart solutions based on modular design and through-chain modularity. The modular structure aims at fostering the efficiency of the solution offering and the associated production system.

Research limitations/implications

Leveraging the benefits of modularity calls for an aligned combination of strategic, operational and technical capabilities contributing to the integration of resources in a modular production system for the solution providers’ competitive performance.

Practical implications

The study reports how a solution provider can develop the operational capabilities to integrate the core and peripheral components into the solution, and orchestrate the modular production system.

Originality/value

This study is a rare longitudinal analysis of how a manufacturer builds a modular offering, the solution platform and the required competitive capabilities to provide the solution.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 39 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 26 July 2018

Anna-Sophie Oertzen, Gaby Odekerken-Schröder, Saara A. Brax and Birgit Mager

The purpose of this paper is to assess, clarify and consolidate the terminology around the co-creation of services, establish its forms and identify its outcomes, to…

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11635

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess, clarify and consolidate the terminology around the co-creation of services, establish its forms and identify its outcomes, to resolve the conceptual pluralism in service co-creation literature.

Design/methodology/approach

A focused literature review screened the articles published in five major service research journals to determine relevant contributions on the concept of co-creation of services. Then, a thematic analysis identifies the forms, themes and outcomes of co-creating services in the set of 80 qualifying articles.

Findings

The study reduces conceptual pluralism by establishing different forms of co-creating services and developing an explicit definition of co-creation in services. The authors develop an integrative framework that recognizes involvement, engagement and participation as prerequisites for co-creation. Relating to the different phases of the service process, the specific co-creation forms of co-ideation, co-valuation, co-design, co-testing and co-launching are classified as regenerative co-creation, while the specific co-creation forms of co-production and co-consumption are recognized as operative co-creation. Both beneficial and counterproductive outcomes of co-creation are identified and arranged into a typology.

Research limitations/implications

The integrative framework illustrates that service providers and customers are involved, engaged and participate in co-creating services, which manifests in specific forms of co-creation; they attain beneficial and counterproductive outcomes (personal, social, hedonic, cognitive, economic and pragmatic); and are influenced by a contextual multi-actor network.

Practical implications

Co-creation in services is actionable; the typology of outcomes suggests service managers ways to motivate customers and employees to participate in co-creating services.

Originality/value

This paper defines and establishes the conceptual forms of co-creating services and the identified outcomes, and develops an integrative framework of co-creation in services.

Details

Journal of Service Management, vol. 29 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-5818

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 31 May 2021

Saara A. Brax, Armando Calabrese, Nathan Levialdi Ghiron, Luigi Tiburzi and Christian Grönroos

Previous research reports mixed results regarding the performance impact of servitization in manufacturing firms. To resolve this, the purpose of this paper is to develop a

Abstract

Purpose

Previous research reports mixed results regarding the performance impact of servitization in manufacturing firms. To resolve this, the purpose of this paper is to develop a conceptually consistent and comprehensive measurement framework for both dimensions, servitization and its performance effect, and apply in a configurational analysis to reexamine previous evidence, arriving at a configurational theory of the relationship between servitization and firm performance.

Design/methodology/approach

Combining systematic literature review (SLR) and inductive reasoning, the existing indicators for servitization and performance are identified and clustered into groups that adequately represent both dimensions. The dataset is reanalyzed against the resulting framework to identify the configurational patterns and to formulate the theoretical propositions.

Findings

Financial and nonfinancial indicators of servitization and its performance impact are organized into a comprehensive measurement framework grounded on existing research. The subsequent meta-analysis shows that the positive or negative impacts of servitization on performance depend on how firms implement servitization strategies and which performance aspects are examined.

Research limitations/implications

The results explain when servitization can be successful and confirm the existence of the so-called servitization paradox. The meta-analysis identified patterns that explain the previous mixed results, shaping a configurational theory of servitization. Thus, the measurement framework is conceptually robust and has sufficient detail to capture servitization and its performance outcome as it feasibly distinguished between different organizational configurations.

Originality/value

The framework provides a comprehensive portfolio of indicators for both managers and scholars to measure servitization intensity and performance. This supports managers of servitizing firms in leading this organizational transformation while avoiding its organizational and financial paradoxes.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 41 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 5 March 2021

Jukka Hallikas, Mika Immonen and Saara Brax

This study aims to investigate digitalization as a performance driver in supply chains, especially the role of data analytics in the digitalization of procurement. The…

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1377

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate digitalization as a performance driver in supply chains, especially the role of data analytics in the digitalization of procurement. The study investigates how digital procurement capabilities are linked to data analytics capabilities and supply chain operational performance and how this links to business success.

Design/methodology/approach

Using operational and dynamic capabilities as foundations for data analytics capabilities, this paper studied the digital procurement capabilities and proposed the conceptual model and hypotheses for empirical testing. The collected industry survey data and structural equation method are then applied to test the hypotheses.

Findings

The study confirms positive and significant relationships among digital procurement capabilities, data analytics capabilities and supply chain performance. Digital procurement capabilities mediate the positive relationship between external data analytics capabilities and supply chain performance.

Research limitations/implications

This study has some limitations that should be addressed. The empirical study was based on survey data from a questionnaire that was probably challenging for some respondent companies with low levels of digital procurement and data analytics. Also, it is necessary to adopt secondary data to measure business performance in future studies which reduces the effect of subjective bias.

Practical implications

From the managerial point of view, the findings highlight the importance of gaining knowledge from gathered data and digitalized processes. Managers must focus on data utilization capabilities to improve the operational performance expected from the digitalization of supply chain activities. In addition, managers need to consider exploiting of data through new creative approaches as part of standardized operations.

Originality/value

The present study contributes to existing knowledge by investigating the mediating role of data analytics capabilities between the digitalization of procurement and supply chain performance. The findings support a positive relationship between the data analytics capabilities and supply chain performance in digital upstream supply chain procurement processes. The present study also clarifies the impact and role of data analytics capabilities in digital supply chain development and success.

Content available
Article
Publication date: 28 March 2019

Wenting Zou, Saara A. Brax, Mervi Vuori and Risto Rajala

To build a more comprehensive understanding of factors affecting the success of service contracting, the purpose of this paper is to investigate the influences of service…

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3821

Abstract

Purpose

To build a more comprehensive understanding of factors affecting the success of service contracting, the purpose of this paper is to investigate the influences of service complexity, contract structure and contracting process on the buyer-perceived supplier performance in business-to-business (B2B) services.

Design/methodology/approach

A research model is developed based on transaction cost economics and the research on service contracting. The model is tested by the survey data collected. Professional focus groups on LinkedIn are used to generate the list of potential respondents. The sample consists of 177 purchasing professionals from 25 countries.

Findings

The results indicate that three major contract dimensions and follow-up management practices positively influence buyer-perceived supplier performance. Furthermore, service complexity amplifies the effects of incentives designed in the contract and the buyer’s follow-up contract management on perceived supplier performance.

Research limitations/implications

The sample consists of respondents from 25 countries and provides good geographic coverage. However, the results should be generalized with caution because not all countries were represented equally.

Practical implications

The study suggests a framework and guidelines for purchasing managers to improve the design and management of service contracts to secure good performance from their supplier.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to understanding the performance-enhancing aspects of designing and monitoring service contracts in B2B contexts. It also adds to the knowledge of the role of service complexity in successful B2B service purchasing.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 39 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 June 2017

Katariina Silander, Paulus Torkki, Paul Lillrank, Antti Peltokorpi, Saara A. Brax and Minna Kaila

Modularity promises to relieve problems of complexity in service systems. However, limited evidence exists of its application in specialized hospital services. The purpose…

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1345

Abstract

Purpose

Modularity promises to relieve problems of complexity in service systems. However, limited evidence exists of its application in specialized hospital services. The purpose of this paper is to identify enablers, constraints, and outcomes of modularization in specialized hospital services.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative comparative study of a hematology unit with modular service architecture and an oncology unit with integral service architecture in a university hospital is performed to analyze the service architectures, enablers and constraints of modularization, and outcomes.

Findings

A framework and five propositions combining the characteristics of specialized hospital services, enabling activities, and outcomes of modularization were developed. Modular service architecture was developed through limiting the number of treatment components, reorganizing production of standardized components into a separate service unit, and standardizing communication and scheduling in interfaces. Modularization increased service efficiency but diluted ownership of services, decreased customization, and diminished informal communication. This is explained by the specific characteristics of the services: fragmented service delivery, professional autonomy, hierarchy, information asymmetry, and requirement to treat all.

Research limitations/implications

Modularization can increase efficiency in specialized hospital services. However, specific characteristics of specialized care may challenge its application and limit its outcomes.

Practical implications

The study identifies enabling activities and constraints that hospital managers should take into account when developing modular service systems.

Originality/value

This is the first empirical study exploring the enablers, constraints, and outcomes of modularization in specialized hospital services. The study complements literature on service modularity with reference to specialized hospital services.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 37 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 12 October 2010

Jan Holmström, Saara Brax and Timo Ala‐Risku

The purpose of this paper is to introduce a representation scheme that helps original equipment manufacturers and their customers choose between different constellations…

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1972

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to introduce a representation scheme that helps original equipment manufacturers and their customers choose between different constellations of visibility‐based service.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses conceptual modeling and analysis of visibility‐based service infusion using demand‐supply chain representations.

Findings

In the context of service infusion, increased visibility refers to the improved tracking, retention, and sharing of evidence on which service requirements are based. A representation model of three distinct provider‐customer constellations is conceptualize that reflects specific types of visibility: collaborative service supply chain management: condition‐based maintenance as a service: and visibility‐based asset management. The representation is a useful tool for comparing manufacturers' optional service strategies from the perspective of the demand‐supply chain view. The constellations vary in terms of the type of visibility provided by the customer, the provider's use of this visibility, and the potential benefits and costs of transitioning between constellations.

Research limitations/implications

The demand‐supply chain representations of visibility‐based service infusion are based on conceptual modeling and a literature review. Empirical research is needed to validate the use of the proposed representation for purposes of making comparative choices, and for exploring other purposes in decision making beyond that of comparative choice.

Practical implications

A tool for customers considering the benefits of visibility‐based services, comparative representation of constellations can help providers formulate better strategies for introducing visibility‐based services in a customer relationship.

Originality/value

The study combines supply chain theory with the service infusion literature in a novel way to produce a framework for comparative representation and decision making in visibility‐based service infusion.

Details

Journal of Service Management, vol. 21 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-5818

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 12 October 2010

Anders Gustafsson, Saara Brax and Lars Witell

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744

Abstract

Details

Journal of Service Management, vol. 21 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-5818

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Article
Publication date: 24 April 2009

Saara A. Brax and Katrin Jonsson

This paper analyzes two manufacturing firms entering condition based maintenance business reveals the complex nature of establishing integrated solutions. Existing…

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3804

Abstract

Purpose

This paper analyzes two manufacturing firms entering condition based maintenance business reveals the complex nature of establishing integrated solutions. Existing literature on integrated solutions is contrasted critically against empirical findings.

Design/methodology/approach

Descriptive, comparative case study focuses on solution offerings in two different companies. The data consist of 57 thematic interviews of both manufacturer and customer representatives and company documents.

Findings

In integrated solutions, value is created incrementally through the customer‐provider co‐production process. Building integrated solutions business requires managing the interdependence of the solution components – both within the provider company and the offering, and between the provider and the client – to enable this collaborative process.

Research limitations/implications

The case studies were first conducted separately and later compared. However, despite some minor differences in case methodologies, no problems were encountered in the comparative analysis of the data sets.

Originality/value

The paper departs from the canons of earlier literature as it proposes a revised definition for integrated solution offerings; it emphasizes balanced amalgamation of multiple perspectives instead of just replacing the old ones; it questions the view of solutions development as a straight‐forward implementation process; and it switches perspective from the manufacturer to the business of the client as the main system.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 29 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

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