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From Dr. Scott Sampson's Understanding Services Businesses Book (click for table of contents)
SBP 1d: Identifying the Production Process⇐Prior —[in Unit 1: Unified Services Theory Basics]— Next⇒SBP 1f: Weighting the Mixture

SBP 1e: The Unit of Analysis

With services, the unit of analysis is a process segment. A process segment is a sequence of steps of production. When processes are dissected into smaller segments, the presence or absence of service principles becomes more pronounced.

Why it occurs

This principle occurs because customer inputs are present in some parts of a production process, but not present in others. By the Unified Services Theory, the parts that involve customer inputs identifies the process segment as a service process.

How it effects decisions

We should manage some parts of an overall production process differently than others depending on the presence or absence of customer inputs in each. It is often helpful to analyze the process at varying levels of detail.

What to do about it

If a process step seems to be particularly challenging to manage, it is often useful to consider that step in greater detail–as a process segment. Often, the management challenge can be attributed to specific details of that process segment. This helps us isolate the specific sources of the challenge.

For example

hamburger As mentioned previously, the fast food restaurant process includes preparation of food, taking orders, assembling orders, and processing payment. Each of these is a process segment. The process of taking an order can be described at various levels of detail, such as (1) greeting customer and asking for order, (2) answering customer questions, (3) describing current specials, (4) recording order, (5) reviewing order, and (6) indicating price. In the customer order process segment, appropriate customer information inputs are particularly crucial in steps (2) and (4).

My airline example

There are indeed portions of the airline process–i.e. process segments–that are devoid of customer inputs. The airplane refueling process can be accomplished without any customer inputs. So can the preparation of beverages and so-called “food” for in-flight meals. Other process segments, such as boarding of passengers, cannot be accomplished without customer (self) inputs.

Two other airline process segments are ticketing and flights. Inputs to the ticketing process segment include customer information (day and destination), the flight schedule, seat availability, and ticket agent labor. The output is a reservation. Inputs to the flight process segment are the passengers and luggage, the plane, and the runway. Outputs are a transported passenger and luggage. The ticketing process can be considered part of the production process, or it might be considered a pre-production process relative to the primary process segment of transporting passengers and luggage.

How manufacturing differs

With manufacturing, the major process segments are devoid of customer inputs.

Analysis questions

  1. What are the major steps of production?
  2. At what point do customer inputs enter the process?
  3. Can the process steps involving customer inputs be described in greater detail? (Think of an example or two.)
  4. Can the process steps not involving any customer inputs be described in greater detail? (Think of an example or two.) What you will usually find is that the process segments involving customer inputs are managed quite differently from the process steps devoid of customer inputs.

Application exercise

Redraw the flowchart you created in “Identifying the Customer.” Identify one step of the process in which customer inputs are particularly prevalent or crucial. Also, identify a process segment involved in that process which is devoid of customer inputs, if there is one. Describe some of the ways the customer-input laden process segment is more difficult to manage than the customer-input-free process segment.

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== Public sections == * [[usb:toc|Understanding Service Businesses]] book. * [[ibm:ssme:ust|UST paradigm for Service Science]] * [[ibm:ssme:cambridge07|Cambridge 2007 notes]] ---- * [[:start]] * [[http://services.byu.edu/sw/doku.php?do=index|Site map]] * [[http://services.byu.edu/sw/doku.php?do=recent|Recent Changes]] * [[:wiki:dokuwiki|Help]] == Private sections == * [[gscm:pub|BYU GSCM student recruiting]] * [[ibm:scm|IBM SCM case study]] * [[cos:top|Commoditization of Services]] research

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