The service industry has in the past few decades experienced a significant growth, particularly in western countries where the service industry contributes to the highest percentage of GDP. Mass customization (MC) is a strategy that has made great progress due to a market environment of increased competition and higher expectations from customers. This forces companies to offer specialized and tailored solutions in order to stay competitive. By implementing the MC strategy, companies are able to meet these expectations as well as keeping costs to a minimum. The strategy is used more often in the production industry than in the service industry, which is also indicated by the lack of literature on MC strategy in the service industry. This report discussed the opportunities of implementing the MC strategy in the service industry. As products and services are increasingly converging, it is difficult to separate them completely. The theoretical background for the report is a questionnaire survey, performed by companies in 10 different markets within the service industry. On the basis of this survey, it is defined to which extend the MC strategy is used in the different markets. Furthermore, the answers from the participants are analyzed on the basis of MC theory- and method, transferred from the production industry to the service industry. We have continued the development of Lampels & Mintzbergs (1996) model of customization strategies and combined them with two of Pines & Gilmores (1997) “Four Faces”. Thus we developed a new model, including 6 MC strategies, of which 4 are focusing on production and the final two are focusing on marketing. When describing the possibilities of implementing the MC strategy, Pines (1993A) framework, consisting of 5 stages, is used as a theoretical background. This concludes that the average stage of the markets is stage 3, the point-of-delivery customization. When focusing on the application of the MC strategy, Lampels & Mintzbergs (1996) theories of product- process and transaction is used as theoretical frame of reference in order to provide an image of the companies’ potential for efficiently using the MC strategy. Therefore, we developed a model, indicating the placement of the service industry compared to the application of strategies related to MC. On the basis of this model, we conclude that many companies in the service industry, particularly airlines, hotels, financial companies and travel agencies, have already implemented the MC strategy to some extent. Furthermore, the survey shows that most companies base their services on human labor, which converges to the part of the survey that covers the use of IT in the companies. In terms of validation, please note that due to lack of survey participation from some markets, results may not be as comprehensive as if the companies where offered a wider range of answering options in the survey. This must be taken into consideration when evaluating the conclusions of the report.
|Educations||MSc in Supply Chain Management , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis|
|Number of pages||140|