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Journal of Business Research 57 (2004) 392 – 404

Blueprinting the service company
Managing service processes efficiently
Sabine Fließa,*, Michael Kleinaltenkampb,1
a
Lehrstuhl fu¨r Dienstleistungsmanagement, Fern Universita¨t Hagen, Profilstr. 8, D-58084 Hagen, Germany
b
Institut fu¨r Marketing/Weiterbildendes Studium Technischer Vertrieb, Freie Universita¨t Berlin, Otto-von-Simson-Str. 13/15,
D-14195 Berlin, Germany

Abstract

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.
D 2002 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Customer integration; Integrative value chain; Service management; Service efficiency; Production theory; Blueprinting

1. Customer participation and its impact on service Blu¨melhuber, 1994; Schade, 1995) or ‘‘partial’’ employee
process efficiency (Bateson, 1985; Schneider and Bowen, 1983; Kelley et al.,
1992), the customer may take an active part in the service
The most remarkable thing about service processes is that operation, such as in self-service restaurants. Participation
they do not take place without the customer (Chase, 1978; can also be limited to a more passive form of involvement
Corsten, 1988; Cowell, 1984; Gro¨nroos, 1990; Hilke, 1989; (Eiglier and Langeard, 1999; Maleri, 1997), a requirement of
Hoffman and Bateson, 1997; Kurtz and Clow, 1998; Larsson physical presence such as in surgery, a need for the customer
and Bowen, 1989; Lovelock and Young, 1979; Meffert, to be merely mentally present such as in education or the need
1995; Meyer, 1993; Mills, 1985; Schneider and Bowen, to start and stop a process such as in car repairs (Langeard,
1983; Zeithaml and Bitner, 2000, p. 319). Before the supplier 1981; Hoffman and Bateson, 1997; Meyer, 1994).
can really start with the production and delivery of a service, From the service provider’s point of view, increasing
the customer’s requirements, above all, need to be specified. customer participation may lead to more efficiency, as the
For this aim, the service provider is dependent on the customer carries out tasks that otherwise have to be carried
customer’s information about the requirements the service out by the supplier’s employees (Hoffman and Bateson,
has to fulfill, where and how the service should take place or 1997). However, increasing customer participation also
should be used, etc. (Mengen, 1993; Krimm, 1995). More- causes high demands on the provider’s service process
over, some service processes require the participation of the management: Missing, delayed or unqualified customer con-
customer during all or some service operations. As a cop- tributions influence costs, time and tasks carried out by the
roducer (Cowell, 1984; Edvardsson et al., 1994; Meyer and supplier’s employees (Zeithaml and Bitner, 2000). Important
influences of customer contributions can be identified in the
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +49-2331-987-2534; fax: +49-2331-987- following areas:
4494.
E-mail addresses: sabine.fliess@fernuni-hagen.de (S. Fließ),
michael.kleinaltenkamp@wiwiss.fu-berlin.de (M. Kleinaltenkamp).  Meeting customer’s requirements is dependent on cus-
1
Tel.: + 49-30-8385-2493/2494; fax: + 49-30-832-57-46. tomer’s contributions, particularly on information given

0148-2963/$ – see front matter D 2002 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/S0148-2963(02)00273-4

2000. Mills and Morris. Levitt. 1987. 1995. It will be shown ically consists of the service provider’s resources and that these different activities are connected to different capacity ready to serve the customer.. where and in the way it is a speculative precombination (Schneider.  Changing or uncertain customer requirements can affect service effectiveness as well as service efficiency (Mills and Moberg. (2) failures in become part of a supplier firm’s internal factors. In order to achieve without specific customer orders having triggered them.. 2. we will show that the introduction of a new ‘‘line’’ Bateson. we can distinguish between two main stages of specific needs (Engelhardt et al. we can find a bunch of (Cowell. process and out- wants to participate to a larger extent in order to receive come) (Donabedian. For a over these functions (Collier. Hilke. Ger- and sometimes he/she likes to play an active part in service hardt. can cause additional costs. As the customer is often viewed as a coproducer To solve these problems. Examples factor combination. capacity factors consist of the buildings. therefore. The first stage refers to the service provider’s potential. 1998. 1997). computers. 2000). It may be that from time to time process management is to make sure that customer par. we will suggest different actions in  Delayed and unqualified customer contributions. Some authors actually suggest that if activities to the customer (Maister. naturally prevailing in efficiency management.. when new or and property rights management for improving service changed contributions are required (Maleri. or switch from a customers contribute effort. Basing the blueprinting on a production-theoretic delivering (Corsten and Stuhlmann. 1983. From an operations management melhuber. M. 1997. time or other resources to the professional service production approach to a job shop. a service production process. 2000). 1993) of internal needed to operate efficiently without neglecting customer production factors. Mudie and Cottam.. Schneider and it is suggested to standardize. 1997. 1972). 1983.g. one of the most important goals in service paper. 1985). customer groups. software and employees. Zeithaml and Bitner. Edvardsson et al. the operation process itself. keep cus. Kelley et al. they should be considered as batch process or an assembly approach (Bateson. 1998. 1994. Schade. 1990) service production (Corsten. tomer as a productive resource (Zeithaml and Bitner. 1992).g. Based on this view and with reference to the with the marketing perspective: Sometimes the customer three dimensions of services (potential. to- three areas of potential inefficiencies in service processes: gether with capacity and commodity factors will then (1) information management insufficiencies. proach and the blueprinting technique as well. 1980. 1983). So. Meyer and Blu¨- different suggestions. 1982) or perspective. 1994. the vision of the cus- service processes (Northcraft and Chase. delegate is not totally new. Altenburger. we will introduce a production-theoretic approach goods resulting from such anticipative production runs. 1980. information management. necessary skills or knowledge to take which all value creation is based (Gutenberg. Hoffman and approach. 1996. 1990. involves the customer in the service operation. p. Corsten and Stuhl. i. 1995). Zeithaml and Bitner. varying in their degree of completion. A production-theoretic approach of service processes 323). production-theoretic approach with the well-known tech- 1992. 1986). Corsten and Hilke. 1990.e. This approach will be used to identify as mentioned. we will combine the participation (Brentani and Ragot. Kleinaltenkamp and Marra. Kurtz and Clow. 1985. In Section 3. e. From a production-theoretic approach. p. Fließ. 1987). 105. Kleinaltenkamp / Journal of Business Research 57 (2004) 392–404 393 by the customer but also on the quality of customer In the second part of the article. finished and/or semifinished goods are produced in terms of ticipation takes place when. 2000) tomer involvement within limits (Chase. automate or mechanize Bowen. From a . Kurtz will clarify points of departure for efficiency management. mann.. part of the organization (Mills et al. fur. 1999). bank. S. give new insights in The second stage of the service production activities efficiency management. 1993. Kelley et al. The this aim. Blueprinting is normally seen as a  Delayed customer contributions can cause bottlenecks and heuristic method for analyzing and designing service pro- capacity problems and lead to an overall delay of service cesses. management tasks and. of service processes. 1997. On the other hand. The approach will of information folders containing different kinds of leaflets further be used to distinguish between two different kinds of or the preparation of service product bundles for different activities within a service process: customer-induced activ. Lovelock. production processes taking place satisfaction (Palmer and Cole. 1984. as a ‘‘partial’’ employee (Bateson. Mills and Moberg. 1997. 1999). the customer might not want to participate at all because s/he A provider’s potential comprises capacity factors (assets) as has delegated the tasks to the provider or because s/he does well as commodity factors and provides the foundation on not have the time. nique of blueprinting. Mudie process efficiency by using the production-theoretic ap- and Cottam. processing (Zeithaml and Bitner. and for such precombinations in a bank may be the preparation (3) incompletely defined property rights. customized or individualized services according to his 1989). 1978). factor combination management thermore. these sugges- The operations management perspective can conflict tions go too far. 1982). whereas commodity factors are Therefore. e. and Clow. 1994. the service provider’s potential typ- ities and customer-independent activities. pencils or energy. 1985. and.

The service provider’s disposal of external production of production is founded on the integration of external factors is limited in time to the duration of the service production factors into the service operation. will show provider’s disposal by the customer. the service provider is not allowed of land to be built on or a building to be cleaned to sell the customer’s external factors to somebody else. regarded as additional external production factors. These activities deliver a service.g. 1993). the customer is not a member of the Activities within the first stage of production only service provider’s organization but a contributor of addi. 1997). after finishing the service process. Kleinaltenkamp and Jacob.e. 1997): . require internal production factors. Fließ.  physical objects like a machine in need of repair. External process. i. Kleinaltenkamp / Journal of Business Research 57 (2004) 392–404 Fig. they have to production factors can be grouped as follows (Engelhardt be returned to the customers. which means that 2 Note that service production comprises all operations necessary to they are independent of a specific customer. External production factors are put at the service finally passed on to the customer.2 In producing and delivering services. Only in special cases. 1987) or as means of need of a hair cut production that will at least facilitate these activities  the utilisation of rights by a lawyer or a licensee within a (Mengen. The outcome of these activities.394 S. 1974. 1. i. regarded as a resource. a piece 1999). normally. 1997. Integrative value chain. or like a customer in themselves (Carp. et al. service provider’s disposal on external production factors prise’s disposal with the aim of getting interest is limited. which is . Therefore. 1993. As can easily be seen. which are placed at a bank’s or enter. 1997): kamp. Maleri. customer contributions can be tional and necessary resources. 2001). 1999. management activities and can be characterized as customer-independent activities service production operations in a narrower sense. the first and second stages of pro-  information used for production of services by an duction differ not only by different kinds of production advertising agency or a consultant factors (external and internal) but also call for different management activities. including customer interaction. 1) (Kleinalten. legal action which can be fully disposed by the service provider.In contrast to internal production factors. they cannot be itself to be a bundle of goods and services. the customer himself is need to be integrated in the service operations (Corsten. 1997.. . M. 1997). bought on the market. in any case. which hairdresser or medical diagnosis.  human resources like employees of the customer who. the  nominal goods. Maleri. Gerhardt. i. External production factors contributed by the customer external and internal production factors are combined and differ from internal production factors by the following char- form an integrative value chain (see Fig. (Kleinaltenkamp.e. Fließ. are regularly delegated to the project integrated either as objects of the transformation activities management teams of the supplier. They can be autono- mously disposed by the service provider. acteristics (Kleinaltenkamp and Haase.e. production-theoretic view. in as an individual customer’s external factors will be systems selling. e. The service provider’s disposal is limited in scope to certain property rights (Kleinaltenkamp and Haase. The main difference between the first and second stages .

not always fully meet the pro. as these activities are linked to production and Whereas production risk is mainly connected to cus. A method. efficiency management.e. Kleinaltenkamp / Journal of Business Research 57 (2004) 392–404 395 By integrating additional external factors. Efficiency management: balancing production and points between customer and supplier because each contact market risk point means that additional external factors are introduced into the service process (Fließ. Fließ. activities. Customer-induced activities do not duced into the service process. and therefore substitutable. cedures or to reduce the number of customer contact points by vider’s requirements. e. and this is While production risk is higher with customer-induced already well known. these measures increase market risk. makes it (Engelhardt and Freiling. market risk is minimal. Production risk arises because customer contribu. which can serve this purpose. 1997): active or process information and passive Basically. starts. the customer is intro. Active information determines the is not able to produce or to deliver the required good degree of customer integration. However. As the supplier Considering service companies. (1992) state. Fließ. on the contribution of external production In order to manage service processes efficiency. The integration of external cause market risks because the fact that the customer starts production factors. if they are started by decisions on capacity. These activities are customers for the services he offers. 1965). Market risk arises when a delivered by the customer. It comprises all information about the cus- interested in it. Schnittka. For costs and productivity. 2001). personnel qualifications or furnish- some external production factors. participation. We can distinguish bet- customer-independent activities ween two kinds of information as external factors (Kleinal- tenkamp. 1998). therefore. the second stage of service service provider does not know if he will find enough production. service offers— based on production factors whose property rights fully also increase costs per process. market risk arises in a situation where a throughout the service process. 1995). 1995).g. especially the integration of active information. typically suggested to standardize or automate service pro- tions.’’ activities. it is factors. that is. M. As Swartz et al. 3. efficiency management obviously external production factors. the property rights belong to the should consist in balancing production and market risk customer’s companies and are transferred only partly and by balancing customer-induced and customer-independ- timely limited to the service provider. market risk is mainly linked to revised version of the blueprint. A special case among 3. customer-induced. belong to the supplier’s company. Types of risks connected with customer-induced and the external factors is information. cause inflexibility of service processes and — if the company The reason can be seen in the kind of disposal the different does not manage to find enough customers for these unin- activities allow for: customer-independent activities are dividualized. 1999. While passive information has no special production risk and market risk (Riebel. Therefore. external factors. In its impact on the activities and is just passed and transformed extreme form. S. production risk and cannot dispose external factors like internal production fac- market risk have to be taken into account in various degrees tors. they can only be carried out if is particularly entailed to autonomously made decisions like they are started by a customer. 1998). i. therefore. deadlines.2. which are customer-independent activities. the contact between the customer the service process and participates in the service operations and the service provider.1. ent activities. it is lower with customer-independent activities. . production risk refers to tomer’s wishes. the service process. Customer-induced and customer-independent activities have a different impact on service process efficiency be- cause they are connected to different kinds of risk. which means that it decreases or service. active information steers the preproduced product cannot be sold because no customer is flow of activities. Impact of production and market risk on efficiency Production risk increases with the number of contact 3. the part of autonomously disposed activities. 1997.e. risk is mainly connected to customer-independent activities. two types of risks can be distinguished: information or data. whereas market resources to their most efficient use (Corsten. ‘‘managing customer behavior is problematic As a first step. contract is made before production starts (Jacob. preferred suppliers a situation where a contract is made but the supplier and material and the like. Production risk is mainly more difficult for the supplier to plan capacity and to direct connected to customer-induced activities. thus increasing the costs of service oper- Customer-induced activities are dependent on customer ations (Paul. special needs. ings of the premises. As production risk as well as market risk influence ities combine internal and external production factors. 2001). is a tomer-induced activities. Customer-induced activ. market risk. constitutes the service process by contributing his/her external factors normally means that and differentiates between service potential and service s/he has agreed to accept the service and pay for it: The process activities (Kleinaltenkamp and Haase. i. requires because organizations typically have no formal authority to identify customer-induced and customer-independent over them (unlike with employees). delegating activities to the customer. On the contrary. Market risk.

These areas of ive service mapping format [. man-Brundage et al.. Identifying customer-induced and . 1995. The ‘‘line of implementation’’ separates between customer-independent activities— blueprinting planning. Kingman-Brundage et al. service mapping refers to the induced activities belong to the service process. In this paper. blueprinting will be used to the service company. 1995). The service logic model stage adding new elements to the blueprint (see Fig.. management occupies the bottom zone and service so far been applied to a wide range of different service operations are sandwiched between them. Blueprinting—stages of development contact personnel for a specific customer. Above the ‘‘line of the activities carried out by integrating the customer’s visibility. The vertical axis distin. each intent and customer demand. 1996. employees in delivering the service. suggest to connect the cus- that the different people involved in providing it can tomer’s.2. The ‘‘line of internal interaction’’ distinguishes been started by the customer or his/her external factors. be considered as separating the service company’s potential . Thus. Since customer- and ‘‘service mapping.’’ roles or their individual point of view. 1995) to visualize service processes. the employee’s and the technical logic of services understand and deal with it objectively regardless of their in order to form an integrated system of ‘‘service logic. 2001). Support Beneath the line of internal interaction. 2000). 2000). This idea can be transferred to the blueprint. Employee logic the chronology of actions conducted by the service cus. To understand customer’s logic. the point marking the the ‘‘line of internal interaction. M. ‘‘a service blueprint is a take place while the service operations are conducted. Kingman-Brundage et al. service processes and has been used for different purposes. Con. The ‘‘line of visibility’’ differentiates between actions ge’s service blueprint. 1996). we find the customer-induced activ- employees are shown. 1995. whereas portraying of an existing service process. 1997. ‘‘In the distinct- guishes between different areas of actions. Support activities are directly related to the service process performed by the 4. the customer occupies the actions are separated by different ‘‘lines. activities like the allocation of age (Kingman-Brundage. 1995. In 1984a. picture or map that accurately portrays the service system so Kingman-Brundage et al. choices and interactions The line of interaction. between front office and back office activities.’’ According to him. the line of order penetration can also describe both purposes. Noch. Zeithaml and the service blueprint is to be read from the top to the bottom Bitner. action areas can be identified which are separated by four This last version of the service blueprint will be used to horizontal lines (Kingman-Brundage and George.. behavior (Kingman-Brundage et al. In logistics. which are necessary to provide front office introduced: the line of order penetration (Kleinaltenkamp. managing and controlling (management zone) the service process and support activities (support zone). five key (Zeithaml and Bitner. maps literally show how service personnel manipulate sidering the application of blueprinting during the last 15 service components to bridge the gap between management years. Kleinaltenkamp / Journal of Business Research 57 (2004) 392–404 4.e. Fließ. of internal interaction are adopted from Kingman-Brunda- . The revised service blueprint: separating area from the supplier action area. three stages of development can be identified. 1996). . Above the ‘‘line of interaction. resources.’’ Blueprinting has top zone.’’ meeting of production and market risk is called the point of order penetration (Jacob..’’ we find activities. to understand management’s logic and reading of the service Although blueprints of the third stage are not homoge. 1995): . the management area.’’ actions and decisions carried out by front office external factors. 1997). 1987) and developed further by Kingman-Brund. i. Fließ..1. . 2 interprets the dynamics of this bridging activity’’ (King- based on Heskett et al. but can also be used to direct numerous service processes. Technical logic comprises the basic picture of a service process: The horizontal axis represents principles that govern service production. 1995).]. The areas between the lines comprise visible and invisible to the customer. blueprint starts from the bottom and ends at the top zone nously structured (Zeithaml and Bitner. are carried out beneath 1999. contains the underlying rationale that drives employee tomer and the service provider. 1995. 1995. Here.396 S.3 As tion of revenue reports can be found.. representing the direct customer-induced and customer-independent activities interactions between customer and supplier. 1989. Management activities are also related to this specific service process Blueprinting is a method invented by Shostack (1982. the line of visibility and the line performed by the customer. whereas service blueprinting is the technical term for the purpose of planning a new or revised service customer-independent activities form the service potential of process (Lovelock. calling the line separating customer-induced from customer-independent 3 Lovelock differentiates between the terms ‘‘service blueprinting’’ activities the line of order penetration. ities. Schna¨bele.’’ Customer logic refers to the customer’s role as consumer A blueprint can be regarded as a two-dimensional and coproducer as well.b. 1993. be linked to the production theoretic approach of services. a new line is processes. These activities also Zeithaml and Bitner (2000) put it. activities that only can be carried out after having . Kingman-Brundage. the conduct of employee surveys or the prepara- Brundage et al. Kingman. The ‘‘line of interaction’’ separates the customer action 4.

M. Blueprint of a simplified acquisition process. Activities beneath production process (see Fig. which take place within the customer-inde. purchase of equipment and other fixed assets and customer and only rely on the service company’s internal employment are activities that belong to the facility area. Activities above the line of order produce the service. They refer to the combination of pendent area of service activities. activities provide the supplier with resources necessary to cleaning of premises and training of employees are typical Fig. 2. 3. from the service process. therefore. Maintenance of machines. Storage of components and the line of order penetration are independent from a specific material. production factors. S. Stages of blueprint development. put facilities into operation. They refer to the assets or capacity penetration are customer-induced and are. Preparation activities are those which are necessary to Activities. Fließ. 1). factors and the commodity factors of the first stage of the dependent on external production factors. can be further structured different internal production factors within the first stage of in preparation activities and facility activities. Facility service production (see Fig. . Kleinaltenkamp / Journal of Business Research 57 (2004) 392–404 397 Fig. 1).

information management can be seen as an ante- than to the organizational structure of service operations. Each of the areas stresses different aspects of efficiency management a service provider can use to improve the service process. The line of implementation separates tors. In the traditional blueprint. a service process can start provider does not manage to communicate appropriately with management activities (Kingman-Brundage. when and how to participate in the service pro- consultant engineer or a customer bringing the wrong cess. when and how to participate in the service can be found in the following aspects: process. Failures because of insufficient customer contributions The main differences between the ‘‘traditional’’ blue. process is always set in motion by the customer and never e. Services delivered can only meet the customers require- ures can also be due to mismanagement in integratively ment at lowest costs if the customer and the service provider disposed activities.g. 3 contains a simplified version of a sales be regarded as factor combination management.1.e. carried out by different Factor combination management. Process awareness means that the customer knows . advertisements rising inappro- by integrating the customer’s external factors. It ment of service processes can be identified. As it tomers. the customer even does not know which problem has to the customer who did not contribute the right quality or be solved — s/he is lacking problem evidence (Engelhardt quantity of external production factors at the right place or and Schwab.1. Therefore. services. therefore. it is considered a preparation activity. These failures are mainly due to of process awareness and process transparency (Fließ. we find customer-induced management can. Sometimes. a service process ex definitione starts independent activities. are often caused by misinformation. the service connect our suggestions to the blueprint technique. we will show how some 5. the customer does not know in time. In the traditional blueprint. S/He only has limited process evidence. mismanagement in combining internal and/or external fac. M. Information insufficiencies arise if the service . the two areas. They also can be caused by customer- the revised blueprint. Maybe.398 S.g. provider did not procure or did not use the resources that serve best (personnel.e. The second area of efficiency . in the revised blueprint. the activity of developing Inefficiencies in service processes in general and in advertising and sales promotion is considered to be a factor combination especially can also be based on insuffi- support activity and. rather shows different activities. The revised blueprint shows er’s information is normally needed to combine internal and activities concerning the production structure of service external factors according to the customer’s needs and operations and refers rather to the value chain of services wants. a customer missing his appointment with a why. capacity). 1996b). approach and the revised blueprint. the traditional blueprint does not differentiate between area of efficiency management. e. process using the revised blueprint. where. 1982). the development of advertising and sales pro. will continue to differentiate between Failures in service process management are due either to customer-induced and customer-independent activities and the service provider or the customer. the property rights manage- customer-induced and customer-independent activities. Increasing efficiency by information management not dispose it in the right way (e. machines. We. i. These are failures anchored in autonomously disposed activities. The customer does not print of Kingman-Brundage et al. is placed between the line ciently specified property rights concerning either the of internal interaction and the line of implementation (King. while the man- Section 5 will show the three areas of efficiency agement of property rights is a process accompanying the management. and the revised blueprint know where. Some- customer properly. combining them with the production-theoretic combination of internal and external factors. or by customer-induced activities. software or orders) or did 5. Is a consultancy company allowed to use the motion is customer-independent. an employee does not serve the know which resources and contributions are required. 1995). cedent of factor combination management. new competition of experienced customers? As the third So. and if not. Fließ. therefore. As the custom- structure of the service process.g. Kleinaltenkamp / Journal of Business Research 57 (2004) 392–404 preparation activities. a service priate expectations. Fig. e. man-Brundage. 1997). the traditional blueprint ment and property rights management are not independent refers to different responsibilities and to the organizational from one another (Kleinaltenkamp. be regarded as the information activities as well as customer-independent activities. Areas of efficiency management measures of efficiency management relate to these three areas. and finally. 1995). In the management of service processes. they can also be caused by times. therefore. how can the customer prevent him to do requires the combination of different internal production so? How can the service provider protect himself against the factors. i.g. In to the customer. for example. this activity operation for other service operations with different cus- has to be placed below the line of order penetration. it is not induced by the information gathered from the customer during a service customer. which consists documents to the lawyer. traditional blueprint.e. therefore. i. external factors or the outcome of the service operation. Referring to the production-theoretic Property rights are especially crucial for knowledge-based approach. inappropriate or inadequate guidance of the customer by the management. during the service process. The first area of efficiency management can. information manage- persons or departments. In Section 5. Therefore. Fail.

specify and define the amount. while factor tomer. So. s/he may want to participate more customer nor the supplier has the knowledge to direct the intensively as s/he now has a better impression of how his/her service process without trial and error. moving the line of knowledge advantage. the blueprint as a picture of the service process service processes. the degree of visibility may not always be appropriate to Service processes of the first type are supposed to be decrease production risk: If the customer gets more insight characteristic for innovative services where neither the into the service process. The application of the evidence and factor evidence (Fließ. moving the line of Service process evidence may not always be similarly visibility may help to increase process evidence. 1991). Changing the degree of customer participation can 5. Integration service blueprint will help to identify possible pitfalls. to evidence means that the customer does not know when agree on milestones and to coordinate activities.2. the service blueprint can the customer has an idea how the service activities are carried be used. i. effectiveness is to weigh against service efficiency. These service processes are well coordinated. In cus- and where to participate in the service process. to reveal the competitive advantage and to redesigning the service process. the line of internal processes of the second type. as in- kamp and Staudt. information management does not only mean called customer directed. Process transparency. the supplier knows more interaction shows potential frictions in the internal flow of exactly than the customer how. uations. Fließ. directing them to their most efficient use are the main tasks . 1996b). the appropriate internal and external factors and combining and importance of personal interaction for customer satisfaction. In this case. deal of experience. Therefore. refers to the customer’s script of the service process together with the customer—even in trial and error sit- (Bateson. S/He knows more exactly how the visibility is only appropriate for those service operations. Here. the service blueprint develop a suitable marketing strategy. 1985. the which meet the customer’s service script and in which cus- customer is likely to direct the service process and therefore tomer contributions are easy to handle for the supplier. The information flow between customer and out and which part s/he plays. serves as a planning tool. However. four types of service pro. M. note that increasing cesses can be distinguished (Fließ. Kleinaltenkamp / Journal of Business Research 57 (2004) 392–404 399 that his participation is required during the service process customer involvement. For example. operations can be used to formulate specifications for soft- The last type is the service process where customer and ware programs supporting the information and work flow. kind and quality of typical for a situation where the customer has never bought information needed while work is passing from one person the service before. The line of internal interaction can be used to will participate into the service operating system. whereas the supplier already has a great or department to another. the blue- evidence refers to the situation that the customer does not print may help to integrate the other party. which external factors are kind and time of customer’s contributions. It probably will not work with service processes of the second type because the Efficient factor combinations are those which serve the customer will refuse to participate. Service processes of this type can be However. service may be typical for this kind of service process (Kleinalten. the production risk of a management stones and to anticipate failures because of delayed consultant can be lowered if the customer delivers exactly customer contributions. This is identify. external production factors. Corsten and Stuhlmann.e. to show the know how to participate. Moving the distributed between customer and supplier. already match. to fix mile- required. Lead User projects contributions affect the service outcome. We suppose that line of visibility means to inform the customer about the depending on the degree of process and factor evidence different steps of the service process and to give him/her customer and supplier possess. where and when the customer information. Standardization always customer’s needs and wants at the lowest costs. and the customer contact personnel but also inside the Service processes of the third type are opposite to service service provider’s company. In a situation like this. They are typically linked to a strong to improve the flow of information between the customer supply management as we find in the automotive industry. there. the service outcome. the information the consultant needs to analyze the compa. The different examples show that the blueprinting tech- This is true especially for mature service industries where nique can be used as either a coordination instrument or a customer’s and supplier’s scripts of the service process planning instrument. S. Another possibility is to use the service blueprint for ny’s situation. 2001). both parties get an idea of the expectations Process evidence refers to two dimensions: integration and concepts of the other party. Especially. 1997). Process transparency means that To increase process evidence. the customer’s risk attitude and and that service production and delivery is dependent on his situational influences (Gersch. service provider exactly know how to deliver the service. Increasing efficiency by factor combination manage- increase efficiency with the third type of service and enlarge ment effectiveness with the first type. 1995). Here. They are called supplier-dominated Finally.or supplier-dominated service processes. supplier can be improved by designing a service blueprint fore. creasing customer participation makes it more difficult for the In service processes of the second type. insight in the service operation. So. the customer has a supplier to direct the service operation. service company should operate. Choosing has to take into account the expectations of the customer.

1995). 1994). uses a segmentation according to the characteristics of the required software program where the customer himself can design external factors (Corsten. Weiterbildendes Studium Technischer Vertrieb of the Freie Of course. Standardization of the critical path in the service operations. Using software programs measures refer to qualifying and training customers (Gouth. standardization means to standardized components based on autonomously disposed move activities from the customer-induced area into the activities (Jacob and Kleinaltenkamp. the content differs from customer to customer (each customer service blueprint can be used in different ways. Standardization of external factors and interfaces formation management go close together. therefore. In combination with complaint and satisfaction tion of integration tools has to be completed before analysis. person consist of repeated actions. Of course. Repeated actions offer possibil- or department. To evaluate productivity. operations. are not started and influenced by the customer any more These standards can refer to the time needed for different but that the sequence and kind of activities are determined actions (Zeithaml and Bitner.400 S. the number of offers in relation to the number experience curve. be reached by establishing homogenous customer – supplier itates to specify the external factor’s requirements. On of inquiries and the number of orders in relation to the the contrary. of order penetration can show the orientation of service Of course. standards can be set. Every service all customers. standardizing its operations. filling efficient factor combination management. it has to weigh Standardization can be applied to different objects. the design and implementa- factors. 1997. An example are cash dispensers where (more activities above the line of order penetration) or the external factors are information (name. First.g. For the most parts of the service process means that most of the activities important activities on the critical path.e. the number of inquiries per service. this is in the necessary information and testing the developed a supplier-dominated point of view. but the form of the It can help to choose suitable external factors and information (digits of the account number) is the same for integrate them into the service process. instead. . may be made up of cess. 2000) or to the quality of by the supplier before a customer enters the service certain activities. these measures already exist: The number of As customer-independent activities are autonomously inquiries. from above the line of It is evident that the service company loses flexibility by order penetration beneath the line of order penetration. M. input – output ratios can be included to therefore. The line customer contributions can be standardized (Gersch. Decreasing production risk by standardization. An empirical study undertaken by the activities above and beneath the line of order penetration. the blueprint can show where to substitute people by services consisting of integratively disposed activities. In addition. Toshiba. for example. or implementing service procedures on the internet goes a ier. In allocation by choosing and directing the appropriate internal order to standardize interfaces. interfaces: it standardizes parts of the service process itself. The analysis of If external factors differ highly. As these which can be located in the blueprint in the following examples show. we also can think about ratios of scope (Jacob. Customer contact from the customer-induced area of the blueprint beneath the points along the line of interaction are the most appropriate line of order penetration into the customer-independent area starting points for such efficiency standards. In the blueprint terminology. Therefore. thus lowering the costs per activity. which are stored on the bank card. 70 – 80% of the offering. More customer-oriented design (Kleinaltenkamp. it helps to identify bottlenecks and to highlight customer-induced activities take place. It. Kleinaltenkamp / Journal of Business Research 57 (2004) 392–404 in factor combination management. in at the counter in the usual way at the airport. should show a 20– 30% degree of individualization. i. automated quick check-in procedure and check. has a different account number). To find out if the process itself works ities for using economies of scale and for profiting from the efficiently. 2001). a market offering ideally combination management is also a matter of technology. 2000) or designing different service processes according step further than just standardizing external factors or to the different characteristics of external factors and cus. 1995). while machines and though how to standardize the service pro. this is only possible if the external factors are companies: towards flexibility and higher production risk highly homogenous. To fulfil these tasks. process requires certain external factors. towards certainty and lower production risk (more activities etc. means that more and more activities are moved evaluate the process and direct resources. way. mainly affects the customer-induced activities but has a The service blueprint can also help to improve factor minor impact on customer-independent activities as well. e. the blueprint can help to redesign service Universita¨t Berlin comes to the conclusion that as far as processes. tomers. processes. that is. standardization can only the customer contact points at the line of interaction facil. activities above the line of order penetration number of offers are taken as benchmarks. For acquisition of the service company.). 1998) allows for an ASIC by following certain steps within a menu. has an impact on service process design. As the improvement of efficiency in factor revenues and costs are concerned. flexibility against certainty in operation planning. Fließ. In order to plan should be evaluated according to the use of economies of capacity more efficiently. account number. customer-independent area. ratios can be customer-independent activities mostly are supposed to formulated. it is easier to reduce costs in this area because contact points. factor combination management and in. Schnittka. e. The information beneath the line of order penetration). Market interfaces (Fließ. 1996).g. offers and orders are measures for customer disposed.

or in the customer-independent area. Customers must be willing to pay for more telecommunication networks and customized X-ray unit) performance. same time. customer and supplier is that customer and supplier possess therefore. Marion. i. Fließ. the text. Outsourcing can take place either in the ization that rely on vertical structures comprising strong customer-induced areas. production and consumption of services take place at the automation and outsourcing customer-independent activities. as mentioned above. Property rights (Alchian and Demsetz. a changing degree of customer revealed that integration tools like design check sheets. Otherwise. are supposed to lie in the area and content of these property rights have to be specified. Lovelock and Young. they expected. To increase cost lead. Customer-induced activities tures. contracts are carried out by the supplier before. at of customer-independent activities.. As a general suggestion. For this reason. the customer has to release the layout. whereas His increased knowledge may use to develop new services activities above the line of order penetration are to be jointly with the customer as a lead user. we also can derive conclusions for the can always be sure that for each task the external factors organization of service companies (Kleinaltenkamp and have accurately been combined with their internal factors. the supplier may not be able to fully meet the in two ways: First. Schade. inspection and release of designs can serve but also on competitive advantage and service positioning. relate to a firm’s potential for value creation provide oppor- whereas a benefit advantage would be expected in the area tunities to benefit from specialization and hierarchical struc- of customer-induced activities. therefore. can lead to higher costs for the software programs. Kleinaltenkamp / Journal of Business Research 57 (2004) 392–404 401 Another way to improve efficiency is to shift activities Jacob. 1997). property rights of external factors are limited. best at the beginning of the service process. Later on. The extension Cost advantages. The the customer. This is because horizontal (Porter. If the competitive advantage is based on a structures provide the most appropriate form of organization cost advantage. Contemporary concepts of organizational from the service provider towards other participants in the design demand a departure from traditional types of organ- service process. activities beneath the line of are characterized by close customer contact so that the order penetration are to be organized within vertical hier- supplier can win new insights into the customers’ processes. build the base for the next steps of the process. property rights are fixed within a contract. . i.g. wants and processes. additional integration Besides. This is especially true for services. neither the customer nor the supplier will get what Shifting activities towards the customers can be com. 1980). 1972) are crucial Otherwise. the service process. 1996a). Competitive advantages of a company can either should retain is a direct function of the decision on the extent be based on customers’ benefits or on cost leadership of customer-induced activities. this advantage is supposed to be more likely for processes underlying customer integration. in many cases. development and implementation of service company. etc. the object of the contract is created during tions do not affect the service outcome in a negative way. activities. 1997). property rights of the outcome are shaped and Considering outsourcing potentials of customer-independent transferred during the service process. customized customer. as. M. Second. and the supplier must be sure that the customer’s contribu. the supplier has to take into account that customers and coordination tools are needed to shape and fix property can differ in their desire to participate in service operations rights in order to make sure that the service process still (Hilke. 1979. alized solutions and to strengthen the knowledge potential of Customer-induced activities may strengthen the service the company (Kleinaltenkamp and Jacob.e. the supplier’s customer’s requirements. the Considering production risk and cost management of graphics. the service blueprint can also be used to link the ring information. 1997). If this ongoing process is not watched actions of the service provider and its subcontractors. properly. Processes that situated in the area of customer-independent activities. supplier’s core competence concerning the knowledge of the customers’ processes and business. may increase production risk instead of decreasing it..3. 1989. these organized in horizontal structures to benefit from individu- services may be offered to additional customers as well. mainly by transfer- activities. interfaces.e. On the other side. A this purpose (Fließ. tenders. as Macneil (1978) made clear. meets the parties’ requirements. the prints. An exploratory study of 14 case studies from different Increasing the degree of activities taken over by the fields of business-to-business-marketing (e. taking over activities from the customer where during the production process of an image brochure. decision on how much of a horizontal organization a firm activities are shifted to subcontractors (Kleinaltenkamp et should implement or on how much of its vertical structures it al. as ership. 1996). If the customer takes over actions that have been However. bined with the standardization of external factors and/or Normally. The characteristic of these tools is prerequisite for changing the division of labor between that they confirm the outcome of the actions taken so far and. Otherwise. letters integration has a negative impact not only on cost structure of intent. archical structures to benefit from specialization. 5. A similar knowledge about how to perform the necessary very good example is the work of an advertising agency. Increasing efficiency by property rights management offering highly customized services require the core com- petence of knowing customer’s needs. activities are shifted towards hierarchical elements (Hammer and Champy. 1994). 1996. so that the advertising agency service activities. S. service suppliers can think about rationalisation. the interface must be clear normally incomplete. on the contrary.

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