How to maximize output with given inputs? How to reduce input and still achieve a stable output? Can both be achieved at the same time? Engineers have managed to solve this for machines. Current machines are for example able to produce more units per hour and yet consume less power than the previous models. If one wants to profit from that increased benefit there quite literally is a price to pay for this gain in productivity: the price tag on that particular high-end machine. Does the same hold true for »high-end services«?
Thinking about service productivity quickly brings us to a lot of »it-depends-on’s«. Service productivity depends on exactly whose productivity you have in mind. Are we talking about increasing the productivity of the service provider or the productivity of the service consumer? Ever called the help-line of your telecom provider? Think about the voice computer at the very beginning of your call. Does it increase your productivity? Maybe. Does it increase the productivity of the call center? Most definitely (or at least that is the intention).
Service productivity – the whole is more than the sum of its parts
Service productivity depends on whether the service we are examining is a stand-alone service, like a legal consultation, or a product related service like machine maintenance. Thus is service productivity something that is being bought largely for itself or is the service a vehicle to ensure the productivity of something/someone else. Think about the machine: it has a (hardware) productivity of its own. Hard data about output / input. A service like a 24hrs repair team ensures that the productivity of that machine will be restored within a negotiated period. The owner of this machine can calculate his overall productivity by combining the machine’s productivity and the service of the machine manufacturer to restore this productivity should it ever be unavailable. Are service providers really able to provide hard data about their services yet? Service productivity depends on the required degree of interaction, e.g. information that needs to be shared, access that has to be granted, etc. Yet who is to provide that information? Is it the service consumer’s responsibility? Is it up to the service provider? Straight to another »it-depends«: Do you want to give that information away in the first place (provider) or would you be delighted if you never even had to provide that information in the first place (convenience of the consumer)?
Join us on September, 8.-9. 2011 in Hamburg, Germany for the XXI. RESER conference entitled »Productivity of Services NextGen – Beyond Output / Input«. A total of 28 workshop sessions, two top-notch keynotes, a plenary discussion, and a lot of answers to those »it-depends« are awaiting you. Registration is still open. Please visit www.reser2011.de for further information.