چاپ آبی شرکت خدمات: خدمات فرآیندهای عامل موثر
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Research, Volume 57, Issue 4, April 2004, Pages 392–404
Service processes require the participation of the customer: Without the customer, service processes cannot take place. The fact that the service provider is dependent on customer participation causes difficulties in managing service processes efficiently and effectively because customer's contributions can only be influenced by the provider up to a certain extent. The article will stress the management of service process efficiency. Therefore, a production-theoretic view will be used to identify the sources of efficiency problems. Based on this approach, we will differentiate between customer-induced and customer-independent activities for a better efficiency management. The well-known blueprinting technique will be used in a revised version based on the production-theoretic approach to identify starting points for improving process efficiency. Differentiating between three areas of process management, we will suggest measures of factor combination management, information management and property rights management.
The most remarkable thing about service processes is that they do not take place without the customer (Chase, 1978, Corsten, 1988, Cowell, 1984, Grönroos, 1990, Hilke, 1989, Hoffman and Bateson, 1997, Kurtz and Clow, 1998, Larsson and Bowen, 1989, Lovelock and Young, 1979, Meffert, 1995, Meyer, 1993, Mills, 1985, Schneider and Bowen, 1983 and Zeithaml and Bitner, 2000). Before the supplier can really start with the production and delivery of a service, the customer's requirements, above all, need to be specified. For this aim, the service provider is dependent on the customer's information about the requirements the service has to fulfill, where and how the service should take place or should be used, etc. Mengen, 1993 and Krimm, 1995. Moreover, some service processes require the participation of the customer during all or some service operations. As a coproducer Cowell, 1984, Edvardsson et al., 1994, Meyer and Blümelhuber, 1994 and Schade, 1995 or “partial” employee Bateson, 1985, Schneider and Bowen, 1983 and Kelley et al., 1992, the customer may take an active part in the service operation, such as in self-service restaurants. Participation can also be limited to a more passive form of involvement Eiglier and Langeard, 1999 and Maleri, 1997, a requirement of physical presence such as in surgery, a need for the customer to be merely mentally present such as in education or the need to start and stop a process such as in car repairs Langeard, 1981, Hoffman and Bateson, 1997 and Meyer, 1994. From the service provider's point of view, increasing customer participation may lead to more efficiency, as the customer carries out tasks that otherwise have to be carried out by the supplier's employees (Hoffman and Bateson, 1997). However, increasing customer participation also causes high demands on the provider's service process management: Missing, delayed or unqualified customer contributions influence costs, time and tasks carried out by the supplier's employees (Zeithaml and Bitner, 2000). Important influences of customer contributions can be identified in the following areas: • Meeting customer's requirements is dependent on customer's contributions, particularly on information given by the customer but also on the quality of customer participation Brentani and Ragot, 1996, Kelley et al., 1992, Kurtz and Clow, 1998 and Zeithaml and Bitner, 2000. • Delayed customer contributions can cause bottlenecks and capacity problems and lead to an overall delay of service delivering Corsten and Stuhlmann, 1997, Hoffman and Bateson, 1997, Kleinaltenkamp and Marra, 1997, Kurtz and Clow, 1998 and Mudie and Cottam, 1999. • Delayed and unqualified customer contributions, furthermore, can cause additional costs, e.g. when new or changed contributions are required Maleri, 1997 and Mudie and Cottam, 1999. • Changing or uncertain customer requirements can affect service effectiveness as well as service efficiency (Mills and Moberg, 1990 and Zeithaml and Bitner, 2000). To solve these problems, we can find a bunch of different suggestions. From an operations management perspective, naturally prevailing in efficiency management, it is suggested to standardize, automate or mechanize service processes (Northcraft and Chase, 1985), keep customer involvement within limits (Chase, 1978), delegate activities to the customer (Maister, 1982), or switch from a professional service production approach to a job shop, a batch process or an assembly approach Bateson, 1990 and Levitt, 1972. The operations management perspective can conflict with the marketing perspective: Sometimes the customer wants to participate to a larger extent in order to receive customized or individualized services according to his specific needs Engelhardt et al., 1993 and Lovelock, 1990 and sometimes he/she likes to play an active part in service processing (Zeithaml and Bitner, 2000). On the other hand, the customer might not want to participate at all because s/he has delegated the tasks to the provider or because s/he does not have the time, necessary skills or knowledge to take over these functions Collier, 1987 and Corsten and Stuhlmann, 1997. Therefore, one of the most important goals in service process management is to make sure that customer participation takes place when, where and in the way it is needed to operate efficiently without neglecting customer satisfaction (Palmer and Cole, 1995). In order to achieve this aim, we will introduce a production-theoretic approach of service processes. This approach will be used to identify three areas of potential inefficiencies in service processes: (1) information management insufficiencies, (2) failures in factor combination, e.g. the operation process itself, and (3) incompletely defined property rights. The approach will further be used to distinguish between two different kinds of activities within a service process: customer-induced activities and customer-independent activities. It will be shown that these different activities are connected to different management tasks and, therefore, give new insights in efficiency management. In the second part of the article, we will combine the production-theoretic approach with the well-known technique of blueprinting. Blueprinting is normally seen as a heuristic method for analyzing and designing service processes. Basing the blueprinting on a production-theoretic approach, we will show that the introduction of a new “line” will clarify points of departure for efficiency management. In Section 3, we will suggest different actions in information management, factor combination management and property rights management for improving service process efficiency by using the production-theoretic approach and the blueprinting technique as well.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Efficiency in service processes can not only be reached by standardizing or automating service activities but also by directing internal and external production factors in a better way. Therefore, three areas of efficiency management can be identified: information management, factor combination management and property rights management. As has been shown above, the revised blueprint, based on a production-theoretic view, can be used as an analytical tool and as a coordination and planning instrument as well. Especially, the distinction between customer-induced and autonomously disposed activities does not only help to design new service processes and to improve efficiency of actual service processes. Furthermore, it enables the service provider to make decisions that are strategically important. It helps to locate possibilities for attaining and maintaining competitive advantages, to design the organizational structure and to plan the cost structure of the company. In connection with instruments of modern accounting as activity-based costing, it enables the service management to improve the company's efficiency. The blueprint approach can be applied not only to the service provider's company but also, in case of business-to-business services, to the customer company's as well. A similar blueprint containing the customer's activities during the service process can be drawn in order to facilitate and improve the supplier–customer interface.