گزینه های رشد خدمات B2B برای کسب و کار محصول محور
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|23799||2010||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||13077 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 39, Issue 8, November 2010, Pages 1334–1345
Many B2B companies that have traditionally been product-centric businesses (PCBs) are addressing the services opportunity (servitization), providing services aligned with customers' operations and/or that address products from other suppliers. The purpose of this paper is to create a new typology through which PCBs' services strategies can be categorised using these two dimensions, which is used to explore four services strategies and three growth options. Companies selling less complex products predominantly use services to enhance product differentiation, whereas those selling more complex products often undergo servitization, with opportunities and risks from each growth option. The risks of providing operations services are particularly noted since their successful provision requires significant changes to a PCB's activities. The results provide a critique of resource-based theory, specifically those resources that enable PCBs to create market differentiation through services. The importance of relational resources increases as services strategies involve products from other suppliers and customers' operations.
This article concerns companies which have been traditionally product-based and which are now using services as a strategy for market differentiation: the ‘servitization of manufacturing’ as described by Neely (2008). The word ‘traditionally’ is used because some such companies have re-aligned their focus towards services, which may now represent the majority of their revenue. For this research, these companies have been termed product-centric businesses or PCBs (Brechbühl, 2004), the focus of the study being on business-to-business (B2B) markets in the United Kingdom (UK). The range of companies within this categorization is broad, it being possible to identify three groups according to Mathieu's (2001a) typology based on ‘organisational intensity’, i.e. the strength and scope of the impact of services on the firm. Firstly, there are those companies with a ‘tactical’ commitment to services, which undertake specific actions within the product marketing mix that have a limited impact on the company overall, e.g. an extended product warranty. Secondly, there are those with a ‘strategic’ commitment to services, which involves adding a key competency to a firm's portfolio, without changing its mission, e.g. a new technical support service. Thirdly, there are those with a ‘cultural’ commitment to services, which reshapes the mission of the firm, e.g. redefining the company as a services rather than product organisation. Oliva and Kallenberg (2003) offer three contentions as to why B2B PCBs enter the services market, these being competitive, economic and customer-based, which are set out here together with other authors making similar contentions. Firstly, in terms of competitive arguments, services are harder for overseas competitors to imitate and for customers to procure via online reverse auctions, since they are intangible and provide a supplier with flexibility as an important element of a differentiation strategy (Michel, Naudé, Salle & Valla, 2003). Secondly, in terms of economic arguments, services can deliver a new sustainable source of revenue to the company (Potts, 1998) and re-build company profits (Mathe & Shapiro, 1993). In addition, sales of services are to some extent counter-cyclical to sales of products (Davies, 2003) and in some industries the services market is four or five times the size of the product market (Bundschuh & Dezvane, 2003). Thirdly, the customer-based arguments assert that customers of PCBs are increasingly focusing on their core operations and outsourcing many of their other business activities (Brown, 2000). A supplier that has already provided products is potentially well placed to win this business since it already has an established relationship with the customer and perceived expertise concerning these products (Wise & Baumgartner, 1999). This research is focused on ‘services’, rather than ‘service’, with Parasuraman (1998) describing the former as ‘intangible products’ and the latter as more akin to the overall quality of service provided by a supplier as perceived by the customer, which will always accompany the core offering be it tangible or intangible. The baseline criterion for companies involved in this research is, therefore, that they offer services, although as Lovelock and Wirtz (2007) stated, services may be offered ‘free’ (i.e. the cost bundled in with that of the product) or charged for separately. Within the scope of services, there are those closely linked to a company's products, e.g. equipment installation (‘product services’ as defined by Mathieu (2001a)) and those that are more standalone entities, e.g. consultancy (‘service as a product’ as defined by Mathieu (2001a)). Although the importance of services for PCBs is accepted by most commentators, there is less unanimity about which services strategies should be followed, with some commentators noting the importance for PCBs of moving from offering services closely aligned to their own products (e.g. Frohlich & Dixon, 2001) to offering those more closely aligned with customers' business operational activities (e.g. Gebauer, 2008). Other commentators note the importance of services which relate to other original equipment manufacturers' (OEMs') products (e.g. Davies, Brady & Hobday, 2007). Given the lack of clarity in the extant literature about which services strategies PCBs should adopt, the purpose of this paper is to propose a unifying typology which enables the placing of each PCB within a broad grouping based on the strategy it is currently following. This will enable managers in PCBs to assess the opportunities and risks involved in changing their strategies as part of the servitization process. The first objective of this paper is, therefore, to create a new typology through which PCBs' services strategies can be categorised. The typology is based on two dimensions: firstly, the product or customer orientation of a PCB's services, i.e. services are either closely linked to products (product-attached services) or to the customer environment (operations services). Secondly, the multi-vendor orientation of a PCB's services, i.e. a company's focus is on its own products or includes other companies' products as well, which may be competitive in nature. The second objective of the paper is to make a contribution to the theory underpinning this research, namely the resource-advantage (R-A) theory (Hunt, Arnett & Madhavaram, 2006), in particular the issue of how a company's resources are used to create competitive advantage. R-A theory emphasizes the potential of operand and operant resources to achieve this aim whilst other academics stress the pre-eminence of operant resources (Vargo & Lusch, 2006), relationships within a firm's network (Gadde, Huemer & Håkansson, 2003) or its relationships with customers in particular (Parvatiyar & Sheth, 2000). The relative importance of these approaches is discussed in light of the strategies derived from the typology. The questions for this research are firstly, to investigate which services strategies PCBs currently adopt, based on the new typology, and secondly, to hypothesise which growth options might be most appropriate, based on the opportunities and risks of each. The research is based on interviews across a wide range of industrial sectors with 40 senior managers in 25 large PCBs that are using services as a market differentiator. For example, it includes companies selling commodity products such as metals, chemicals and products from quarrying. Equally, it includes companies selling complex electrical products in the information technology (IT), telecommunications, medical equipment, transport and aerospace sectors (see Appendix A for an anonymized list of participating companies). The paper starts with a literature review, which is followed by the methodology, results and conclusion. Finally, the managerial implications of the study are discussed and possible areas of future research were suggested.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
This paper has investigated the strategies that B2B PCBs adopt in order to increase market differentiation and services-led growth. The objectives of the paper were twofold: firstly, to create a new typology through which PCBs' services strategies could be categorised and investigated. Two research tasks arose from this objective, namely identifying the services strategies that PCBs currently adopt, and secondly, investigating which growth options are most appropriate given the opportunities and risks from each. The second objective was to make a contribution to the theory underpinning this research, namely R-A theory, and determine which resources could lead to competitive advantage for PCBs through services. To address the first objective, two themes in the literature were identified, these being, firstly, the product or customer orientation of a PCB's services, and secondly, the multi-vendor orientation of a PCB's services. The typology set out in this paper brings these themes together for the first time and is the major contribution of the research. It provides a means of categorising four services strategies which represent the quadrants of the matrix created from the typology, which are: ‘product-attached services on own products’ (strategy 1), ‘product-attached services on own and third party products’ (strategy 2), ‘operations services on own products’ (strategy 3), and ‘vendor-agnostic operations services’ (strategy 4). The empirical research for this study provides strong support for each of these strategies and as such, the typology provides a valuable new approach for scholars analysing PCBs' services strategies. The services strategy typology enables an investigation into a number of potential growth options which PCBs could use to enhance the importance of services within their companies. In all cases growth begins from the position of providing product-attached services linked to own products (strategy 1), with two options depending upon whether it is more appropriate for the PCB to develop product-attached services on other OEMs' products in addition to its own, or move its focus towards the customer's operational environment. All the companies that participated in this research, which were not in the CoPS sectors, focus on providing product-attached services on their own products (strategy 1), suggesting that for many PCBs, services are predominantly used to help differentiate their own products or create a revenue stream based on sales of services closely linked to these products. These findings support previous research by authors such as Frohlich and Dixon (2001). All companies in the CoPS sectors that participated in the study had undertaken services-led growth. The risks and opportunities of three growth options are set out, with increasing risks hypothesised through A to C. Thus extending product-attached services to include products from other OEMs (option A) is seen as less risky for a PCB than developing operations services on its own products (options B). The reason for this is that as the PCB enters the operational environment of its customers its business must become more services-orientated, with implications for the culture of the organisation, its employees and the type of contracts it takes on, with risk sharing with customers being more likely. Despite calls in the literature (e.g. Gebauer, 2008) for PCBs to increase their focus on services on customers' operational activities, this research suggests that Oliva and Kallenberg (2003) are correct in their assertion that the risks of this approach cannot be under-estimated since major organisational changes are necessary to facilitate a successful transition. Companies from the IT sector, that took part in this research, were predominantly those providing vendor-agnostic operations services (strategy 4), although it is hypothesised that to reach this position every PCB must first provide operations services on its own products (strategy 3). Despite calls for PCBs to enhance their focus on customers' operational activities in a multi-vendor product environment (e.g. Davies et al., 2007), this research has shown that the risks of this strategy may well outweigh the benefits for the majority of PCBs with product portfolios that still provide strong market differentiation, a finding that supports commentators such as Kowalkowski (2005). However, if a company can successfully adopt this strategy through growth option C then it will be in a powerful market position to deliver product-based solutions to customers. To support this position PCBs must develop a credible consultancy-led sales approach, with this credibility based in part on the ‘acid test’ offered by Foote et al. (2001) of whether the PCB would specify and integrate a competitor's technology if this were in the customer's best interests. The second objective of the paper is to make a contribution to the theory underpinning this research, namely R-A theory (Hunt et al., 2006), and in particular, the relative importance of relational resources for PCBs adopting different services strategies. The research shows the increasing importance of relational resources as PCBs' services strategies become more reliant on other companies, i.e. moving from strategies 1 through to 4. The strategy ‘product-attached services on own products’ (strategy 1) is associated with GD-logic and as such the importance of physical (operand) resources is noted, with relatively limited need for relational resources even though other operant resources such as the knowledge and skills of the company's employees are important (Vargo & Lusch, 2006). If the strategy also includes third party products (strategy 2) then the importance of relational resources increases as companies seek to form limited relationships with the OEMs of these products. The strategy ‘operations services on own products’ (strategy 3) is associated with SD-logic, with strong customer relationships being vital (supporting Parvatiyar & Sheth, 2000), whilst ‘vendor-agnostic operations services’ (strategy 4) relies on an ability to develop and manage a range of inter-connected relationships with both customers and other companies within its network (supporting Gadde et al., 2003). This study, therefore, helps with the process of reconciliation between different theories and approaches discussed by Eiriz and Wilson (2006), the key resources being dependent upon the services strategy being adopted by each PCB.