University of Oulu

Analyzing the technical sructure of service product

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Author: Itkonen, Milla1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Technology, Industrial Engineering and Management
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.9 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Oulu : M. Itkonen, 2015
Publish Date: 2015-01-20
Thesis type: Master's thesis (tech)
Tutor: Haapasalo, Harri
Reviewer: Haapasalo, Harri
Tolonen, Arto
Services are offered more than before and more diverse, by both traditional service provider, but also for example those previously known as traditional manufacturing companies. As the demand grows and competition gets tougher, services should be more cost-effective, without compromising with their contents. In order to effectively produce services, they must be understood thoroughly. By thinking services as structural products, proven practices for more traditional product management could be utilized. In this research, the objective is to analyse service as a product and its structure at technical level. The goal is to gather information from literature and empirical research to be able to define the potential framework for the service product structure in general. As it occurs during this research, services are widely studied in the literature, considering especially their distinguishing features related to traditional manufactured products. Services are also very well defined in the case companies, but not that much as products. So relatively new to both perspectives is the structural definition for services that go more detailed level than what is often visible to customers. Traditionally services are often defined as processes, as chain of activities. Because of certain special characteristics, services are challenging to define as products. Intangibility, customer participation during the service process and for example perishability are just a few features that distinguish services from more traditional tangible products. However, services can be productized to make them resemble more tangible products. Product structure is essential part of both of Product Data Management and Product Lifecycle Management. To be able to utilize these concepts for service products as well, hierarchical structure must be defined for services. Qualitative case study research is applied to this study and few specifically chosen case companies were interviewed for the empirical part. As the result from the interviews, case companies’ definitions towards their service products were discovered. In every case company, services are defined as processes. Most of the material related to service definition is however related to enhancing customer understanding. Commercial structure for service product is also defined in most of the case companies, and few have even defined the preliminary technical product structures. Findings of this study indicate, that service product structure can be defined thorough service processes previously defined. Regardless of different fields of service industries, rather similar activities and resources were identified from the basic service processes. These activities during the service process can be used as the highest level in the service product technical structure, as what those together form, is the outcome from the process, the sales item for the commercial level. The rest of the technical structure of service product, is formed thorough any sub activities or resources needed to those activities. Results of this research can generally be applied and the potential framework created can be utilized as a baseline when defining the technical structure for any kind of service.
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Copyright information: © Milla Itkonen, 2015. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.