Customisation - service process matrix, Operation Management

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Customisation - Service Process Matrix

Customisation reflects the degree to which the service provided is tailored to the needs of the customer. Organisations which have a high degree of both interaction and customisation are categorised as high in the matrix (eg hospitals). Conversely, organisations which have a low degree of both interaction and customisation are categorised as low (eg schools). In considering the matrix it is important to understand that Schmenner has partitioned it into quadrants, to permit convenient labelling: service factory, service shop, mass service and professional services. However, each of the axes should be viewed as a continuum, and an organisation could, in principle, locate its operations at a particular point(s) on the matrix.

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For example, whereas most state schools would be positioned near the bottom left-hand corner of the matrix, it could be argued that the University of Strathclyde's Graduate School of Business (USGSB) would be positioned rather nearer the centre of the matrix. USGSB would have a relatively low score for labour intensity (despite the high levels of academic and support staff) because of the high investment in facilities such as buildings, computer-linked colour projection equipment, computer laboratories, audio/ video equipment, etc. On the other axis, USGSB has designed its MBA degree programme to provide some degree of customisation as the course progresses, by presenting students with a choice of four elective classes from around twenty offered (assemble- to-order?). The purpose of such a classification system is to allow useful observations to be made, and actions to be taken. Schmenner used his matrix to identify the major challenges to be expected, according to the quadrant in which a service organisation is located (see figure). Once we can label an operation, we understand many of its characteristics. We can identify the most important variables and the least important. We can determine the key challenges facing the operations manager. We can also see where our system relates to other operating systems should it be necessary to review or compare performance.


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