شناسایی استراتژی های خدمات در شرکت های تولید محصول از طریق بررسی تنظیمات محیط استراتژی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|11835||2008||14 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Industrial Marketing Management, Volume 37, Issue 3, May 2008, Pages 278–291
Higher market complexity and increasing competitive intensity are forcing traditional product-manufacturing companies to change their position in the goods–services continuum by continuously extending the service business. However, the existing literature tends to be somewhat vague in defining service strategies for manufacturing companies wishing to move along the continuum. The purpose of this study is to identify service strategies that correspond with specific environment–strategy fits. Using an exploratory factor and cluster analysis for testing Western European firms, the study highlights four different service strategies. The four service strategies include after-sales service providers (ASPs), customer support providers (CSPs), outsourcing partners (OPs), and development partners (DPs). After-sales service providers concentrate on cost leadership and ensure proper functioning of the product. Customer support providers form a unique value proposition by investing in a strong product and service differentiation. Outsourcing partners combine cost leadership with service and product differentiation to offer attractive prices for operational services. Their goal is to assume the operating risk and full responsibility for the customer's operating processes. Development partners provide research and development services to create a situation in which customers benefit directly from their development competencies.
Increasingly, more comprehensive customer needs, higher competitive intensity, and the need to exploit new growth potential force Western European product-manufacturing firms to extend their service business (Anderson, Fornell, & Rust, 1997). Increasing competitive intensity with a corresponding erosion of product margins refers to the fact that achieving product differentiation is currently in a stage of maturity. In the machine and equipment-manufacturing industry, for example, product margins have dropped to no more than 1 or 2% over the last couple of years. In contrast, typical after-sales services such as repair, spare parts, or maintenance offer margins of more than 10% (Cohen, Agrawal, & Agrawal, 2006). Faced with stagnating product sales, services also offer additional growth potential. Sawhney, Balasubramanian, and Krishnan (2004) indicate that considerable growth potential is manifest in both the primary customer activity chains and comprehensive or adjacent customer activity chains. This growth potential can be exploited either by adding new activities to a primary or adjacent activity chain or reconfiguring the structure and control of activities within the primary or adjacent activity chain. According to Wise and Baumgartner (1999), such potential in the field of service revenue often exceeds three or four times the magnitude of annual product revenue. On the customer side, pressure to downsize so as to create more flexible firms, use narrower definitions of core competencies, and increase technological complexity are driving forces behind the rise of service outsourcing. Additionally, customers wish to reduce the capital employed in their production sites. Instead of investing in an air compressor, for example, they want an “opportunity” to pay for xm3 of compressed air ( Windahl, Andersson, Berggren, & Nehler, 2004). Anecdotal evidence on the extension of the service business and the corresponding service infusion in manufacturing firms can be found in Jack Welch's statement that “the [service] market is bigger than we ever dreamt” (Slater, 1999, p. 183), SIEMENS' goal to generate 50% of total revenue through services (Simon, 1993), and IBM's success in mutating itself from a pure mainframe manufacturer toward an outstanding service provider. Oliva and Kallenberg (2003) conceptualize the extension of service business through the transition line and/or the goods–services continuum. At the one extreme point of the continuum, firms achieve a competitive position as a product manufacturer. They produce essentially core products, with services purely as add-ons. Profits and revenue are generated mainly through the company's core products and the contribution of services is quite low in terms of revenue, profit, and customer satisfaction. Services are only one of the main differentiating factors in the product-marketing strategy. At the other extreme point, products are merely an add-on to the services. Products represent only a small part of total value creation. The dominant share of total value creation stems from services. Moving along the transition line creates additional competitive advantage for product-manufacturing companies, leading to a different competitive positioning. Although such positioning has been discussed extensively in the literature, and formed the basis of numerous classification schemes (Porter, 1980, Galbraith and Schendel, 1983 and Robinson and Pearce, 1988), existing research remains silent with respect to various service strategies needed to move into a new position on the transition line. Common patterns of competitive positioning have included, among others, overall cost leadership, product differentiation, marketing differentiation, and focus (Kim & Lim, 1988). However, such patterns do not fully capture the extension of the service business as a response to decreasing product margins and changing customer expectations within Western Europe's manufacturing industry. Morrison and Roth (1992), for example, argue that customer service is a typical dimension of the quality reputation of manufacturing firms. However, current service offerings in typical manufacturing companies do not only capture customer service. According to Oliva and Kallenberg (2003), service offerings also include services for the installed base, process-oriented services, professional services, and operational services. This extended breadth of service offering has not been included in the debate on service strategies in manufacturing companies. Neu and Brown (2005, p. 5) argue that “firms that successfully develop B2B service will align strategy with conditions of the service business unit's external environment and adapt several factors of organization to align with the newly formed [service] strategy”. That means organizational performance of manufacturing companies moving along the transition line depends on the proper alignment between environment, strategy, and factors in organizational design. The present study concentrates on explaining specific environment–strategy configurations to explore service strategies in manufacturing companies. It focuses on the following research questions: • What strategy–environment configurations exist in the manufacturing industry? • What service strategies can be identified with respect to these strategy–environment configurations? • What performance level can be achieved through a service strategy?
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
5.1. Theoretical implications The findings explored four environment–strategy fits and the corresponding service strategies. This robustness of the result depends on the selection of clustering algorithms, because the rules or procedures for sorting observations are critical to the effective use of cluster analysis (Punj & Steward, 1983). Thus, the cluster analysis was conducted with different clustering algorithms. The different clustering algorithms supported these results. Needless to say, determining the number of clusters is not without bias. As suggested by Ketchen and Shook (1996), confidence in the number of clusters is greater when multiple methods converge. Specifically, change in the agglomeration coefficient and observing breaks in the dendogram were used. Both methods yielded four clusters for environment and strategy. Using multiple methods and clustering algorithms ensured the reliability of the derived clusters. The four service strategies offer a complementary perspective on strategy configuration in manufacturing companies. The broad range of existing literature typically includes services as a competitive priority in manufacturing–strategy configurations. Manufacturing innovators concentrate on quality, flexibility, service, and price. Caretakers simply focus on prices. Marketers try to optimize flexibility, quality, service, and product variety (Frohlich and Dixon, 2001 and Miller and Roth, 1994). The role of services has not been described in more detail in the context of the manufacturing strategy configuration. The results explain specific service strategies and highlight how service strategies supplement competitive positioning and correspond with the external environment. Additionally, instead of generally confronting manufacturing firms with the question of what position they should occupy on the tangible goods–services continuum, the results indicate four specific environment–strategy configurations that function as specific service strategies. The four service strategies outlined here are not intended to be exhaustive, but rather to highlight potential directions that can make a theoretical contribution to strategic management research in the context of the transition from products to services. 5.2. Managerial implications The four specific service strategies serve as managerial navigators, indicating the consistent configuration of environment and strategy. Additionally, the specific report of overall profitability and service-related performance outcomes can serve as benchmarks. Managers can use the benchmarks to indicate whether or not they fully exploit the opportunities provided by the different service strategies. Needless to say, the degree of performance outcomes also depends on organizational design factors. However, the implementation of these factors is beyond the scope of this work, which concentrates only on the environment–strategy fits and corresponding service strategies. To exploit the opportunities of services successfully, manufacturing firms have to establish the appropriate alignment between the external environment and strategy. This means that there is no one way of positioning on the transition line. Only if managers understand the characteristics of the company's external environment are they able to identify and formulate the right service strategy. Consequently, one key factor for success appears to be a managerial orientation toward markets. Market and customer orientations are key factors in forming the four service strategies. Identifying the alignment of strategy and environmental characteristics seems to present both the major challenges and the primary implications for managers. Managers considering formulating the customer-support service strategy, for example, should be aware of the importance of establishing product and service differentiation as a lasting strategy that creates a low competitive intensity and corresponds with the low price sensitivity of customers. Formulating the outsourcing partner service strategy requires substantial managerial effort with respect to strong cost leadership, and only medium product and service differentiation. After-sales service providers should concentrate on achieving cost leadership. A research partner should emphasize product and service differentiation. These are just few examples of the main managerial implications. 5.3. Limitations and future research opportunities As with any research, this study has limitations, too. The study is based on factor and cluster analysis. The reliability and descriptive and predictive validity were, for example, demonstrated, but the external validity of the clusters could not be assessed. External validity can only be achieved by analyzing both the sample of interest and a similar sample, and by assessing the similarity of the results. As in many studies, a "hold out" sample is not available in this context (Ketchen & Shook, 1996). Thus, future research would benefit from insights obtained from the second sample. The distinction between companies that are highly successful (less successful) in their alignment between environment and strategy based on overall operating margins of above (below) 5% may be subject to debate. Future studies can use different ways to split the sample. The researcher can either draw on different performance measures (e.g., share of service revenue, direct service profitability, and so on) or use the median to split the sample. In addition, using the perspective fit as gestalts with it underlying analytical approaches exploratory factor analysis and cluster analysis is not without debate. Future studies on environment–strategy configuration in the context of service strategies in product manufacturing companies would benefit from the use of different perspectives such as fit as moderation, fit as mediation, etc. Specifically, using a confirmative factor analysis would support the existing results. The discussion on whether the scales are formative or reflective would contribute to the existing theory on measurement scales and models for obtaining fit and configurations in the context of service strategies in product manufacturing. Although key informant bias is not an issue in this study, using single informants might cause concerns. Environment–strategy configurations cover a broad range of aspects and it seems questionable that one interviewee is knowledgeable about all of them. Future research, which is not limited to using single informants, should prove useful to substantial the findings. In addition, involving firms with extensive direct experience with different service strategies is surely essential for collecting high-quality data. As pointed out by Neu and Brown (2005), future research might also benefit from other sources, including customers or industry experts. The study is also limited by concentrating on Western European companies. Applying the results to other regions could further enhance the transferability and generalizability of the results. The preliminary conceptual framework (Fig. 1) guided the semistructured data collection. Because of the unstructured questions, the framework was regarded as flexible and new insights emerged, that can be explored further. Specifically, a firm's strategic position was highlighted as a key factor, enabling the successful implementation of service strategies. In addition to product and service differentiation, strategic partnerships and relation-specific views were reported to aid the formulation of the outsourcing and development partner strategy. Future research, which investigates the role of strategic cooperation and partnership, should prove useful. Finally, the study deals only with service strategies for the primary customer activity chain. There are also service opportunities in the supplementary or adjacent customer activity chains. These service strategies are beyond the scope of this article. Nevertheless, the increasing importance of services for the adjacent customer activity chain (Sawhney et al., 2004) should provide promising research prospects.