Schmenner's Service-Process Matrix
The service-process matrix was introduced earlier. It is Schmenner's service industry equivalent of the product-process matrix. The service matrix can help companies to assess their competitive stance and the means by which they provide their service. Schmenner creates axes based firstly on the level of interaction and customisation of service and secondly on the ratio of labour cost incurred to the value of the plant and equipment. A high labour intensity business involves relatively little plant and equipment and considerable worker time, effort and cost. Schmenner asserts that this matrix also has a main diagonal running from service factory to professional service. He suggests that mass services on one side of the diagonal require a different type of control from service shops on the other side. Mass services require control which focus on throughput efficiency and costs. They require careful scheduling of labour; plant and equipment are rarely constraints. For example, in retailing, staff shift scheduling is a major consideration. In service shops, staff availability is less critical; the problem is more usually scheduling jobs through expensive equipment, such as in auto-repair shops or patients in hospital. Schmenner goes on to say that the service factory and professional service firms suffer less from lack of control. In professional service firms, control is a matter of individual concern, and can be handled through its high degree of interaction with clients. The service factory can develop its 'production process' to provide better control.