Most advanced economies have evolved into service economies with the majority of their activity and jobs being in the service sector. The manufacturing sector is also going through a similar shift towards services. Manufacturers are increasingly complementing their products with new services in order to satisfy a broader array of customer needs and increase the value of their offerings. This shift has offered significant opportunities to the sector and the success of major firms such as IBM, Caterpillar, and Rolls-Royce in competing through services has been remarkable.
Despite the increased importance of services in the manufacturing sector, the academic literature is yet to investigate the many questions that arise under this new manufacturing paradigm. Perhaps for the same reason study of servitization is listed as a research priority in recent publications both in the field of service operations management and in the field services marketing. This dissertation covers three essays aimed at disentangling multiple aspects of the role of services in the manufacturing sector. The literature on the drivers and implications of transition towards services in manufacturing firms is limited. The three studies in this dissertation aim at shedding light on this issue.
Specifically, the first essay looks at the innovation benefits of service transactions with customers. This paper demonstrate the value of services in getting manufacturers closer to customers and allowing them glean useful information from their service interactions. The second essay investigates the antecedents of service strategy adoption. We suggest that the extant diversification theory does not fully explain servitization and this phenomenon represents a unique type of diversification, which is likely driven by different factors. Through econometric analysis of financial data over a 27-year period, this study explores characteristics of product, firm resources, competition, and industry that encourage adoption of service strategies in manufacturing sector. Finally, the third essay takes a deeper dive and focuses on dealerships, as service centers, in the automobile industry. It investigates the role of dealerships in the success of automakers and explores dealership traits that are critical for market success of an automobile brand.
- Product-Service Bundling in Manufacturing Firms