The challenges of operations management in business services

Operations Management in Business Services

In today’s global economy, manufacturing can take place in the lowest cost location and even high-tech products are becoming commoditised. Many traditional product firms are looking to move to a services business model in order to get a sustainable competitive advantage. But operations of service firms are quite distinct from those of product companies. Usually a large part of their activities is labour intensive and customised. In addition, meeting uncertainty in demand is harder for services since, unlike products, they cannot be stored. Standardisation of processes may conflict with the customer intimacy expected by the clients.

This was the topic of the master class held at the Innovation Centre of Vanderlande Industries and attended by 55 business executives from Canon-Océ, Philips, and Vanderlande Industries. Professor René de Koster, Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), framed the challenging trade-offs that manufacturing companies need to make in Business Services between cost vs service. Paul Wouters and Niels Houben (Océ) elaborated on how firms can develop an efficient and effective service organisation that delivers with speed and at low cost. As last Jan Hulsmann (Vanderlande Industries) illustrated the challenges of innovative and complex service projects using the example of a project in which Vanderlande Industries provided Deutsche Post a new network of distribution centres.

If you would like to explore how your organisation can benefit from a more scientific approach to moving to a services business model, Maastricht University, School of Business and Economics and Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), have jointly developed a new diploma programme ‘Leading Business Services’ supported by Vanderlande Industries, Canon-Océ, and Philips.

For more information, check the website

By SBE Postgraduate Education

Post Your Thoughts