Methods Used in Manufacturing - Operation Strategy
Many of the methods used in manufacturing are just as applicable; however a greater degree of customisation will be required. The manufacturing sector may be viewed as relatively homogeneous in terms of operating characteristics; the same cannot be said about the service sector. Indeed the 'service sector' is made up of many sub-sectors such as education, health, local and national government, emergency services and in the private service sector, financial services, retailing, distribution and entertainment. One difference that cannot be avoided is the interface between the service provider and the customer. This link does not exist in manufacturing but is crucial to service organisations.
In this figure (Heskett and Schlessinger, 1991), you can see that if there is a pool of low cost labour available and management adopts a low salary-no training approach to the recruitment of front line service staff, the resultant 'cycle of failure' will result. Heskett et al argue that this cycle can be reversed if a reversal in human resource management policy is adopted. Heskett (1994, 1997) went on to develop the service-profit chain illustrated in the figure opposite. They consider customer satisfaction to be defined as 'the customer's perception of the performance of the company and the difference between the service received and paid for and the service expected.' They suggest that there are direct linkages between profit and growth, customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, employee loyalty and the value of services and goods delivered. The figure outlines the linkages in a service-profit chain. They suggest that the strength of these links may vary from one organisation to another yet they are always significant. You will note that customer loyalty is therefore a significant metric in determining if customer satisfaction has been achieved. Jones and Sasser (1995) suggest that the linkage between customer satisfaction, loyalty and future business though extremely significant does not take into account other factors such as the competitive environment. They describe four categories of customer which the operations system must contend: hostages, mercenaries, terrorists and apostles. The figure below categories customers from being terrorists to devotees.