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Lean principles in business-to-business services: Synergy or oxymoron?
Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9448-2359
Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden.
Hanken School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4081-9737
2012 (English)In: Innovative Service Prespectives: Proceedings from the AMA SERVSIG International Service ResearchConference, Helsinki, Finland, June 7-9 2012 / [ed] Jacob Mickelsson and Anu Helkkula, Hanken School of Economics , 2012Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Purpose: As customer needs becomes more heterogeneous, and as the importance of service grows, customer-specific requirements have led to increased demand for efficient and customized services in many industry sectors. However, there is scant research on developing services that are both efficient and customized. The objective of the present study is to explore the applicability of Lean, one of the best-known practices for manufacturing efficiency, in business-to-business services.

Design / Methodology / Approach: The empirical part consists of a multiple study of service-providing industrial companies in Northern Europe. Data was gathered through semi-structured interviews and participating observations.

Findings: The study suggests promising synergies, but also important obstacles when applying Lean principles to business-to-business service operations. The ability to standardize service elements and increase reliability in service processes through Lean principles can increase service efficiency and ensure service quality. However, the active role of the customer in certain services makes it increasingly difficult to apply Lean. Furthermore, there are certain key differences in the view on value creation between a service perspective and a Lean principles perspective, which should be addressed.

Practical Implications: The findings are useful for companies looking to improve their service deployment. In particular, Lean is a valuable tool with which to increase standardization and reliability in service processes.

Originality / Value: The study contributes to the research on service efficiency and customization. It also contributes to the continuous discussion on prototypic characteristics of service and manufacturing orientations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Hanken School of Economics , 2012.
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-62334OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-62334DiVA, id: diva2:1156417
Conference
American Marketing Association ServSIG International Research Conference, Helsinki, Finland, June 7-9, 2012
Available from: 2012-09-05 Created: 2017-11-13 Last updated: 2019-04-11Bibliographically approved

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Abstract, p. 45

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Carlborg, Per

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CiteExportLink to record
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