Variety in business-to-business services and buyer-supplier interaction

Wendy van der Valk, Finn Wynstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose
The paper aims to empirically validate a recently developed typology to demonstrate that services that are similar in terms of technical content, but different with regard to how they are used by the buying company, require different buyer-supplier interaction processes.

Design/methodology/approach
The paper conducts an embedded case study based on dyadic data collection to investigate the purchase of cleaning services by Netherlands Railways (NS) from two suppliers. These services differ with regard to how they are used by NS: as part of the value-proposition to customers (train and station cleaning) or as part of the support processes for NS (office cleaning).

Findings
The paper finds that for a technically homogenous service, fundamental differences in required interaction arise as a result of different usage situations. These differences are reflected in the sourcing decision and the design of the service delivery management process.

Research limitations/implications
Besides the general limits of single case studies regarding external validity, a specific limitation of the study is the limited number of supplier interviews conducted.

Practical implications
In order to develop appropriate sourcing and service delivery management strategies, practitioners need to consider the use of the service purchased and how it relates to their value proposition. This research shows that pooling volume for services that are used differently may enable immediate price reduction but could reduce supplier performance and ultimately customer satisfaction.

Originality/value
The case study and the validated typology complement the limited literature on the procurement of services transferred to the next level of customers in the supply chain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-220
JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
Volume34
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Fingerprint

Cleaning
Industry
Customer satisfaction
Supply chains
Business-to-business services
Buyers
Interaction
Suppliers
The Netherlands
Railway

Keywords

  • case study
  • service
  • interaction
  • purchasing
  • buyer-supplier relationships
  • business services

Cite this

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title = "Variety in business-to-business services and buyer-supplier interaction",
abstract = "PurposeThe paper aims to empirically validate a recently developed typology to demonstrate that services that are similar in terms of technical content, but different with regard to how they are used by the buying company, require different buyer-supplier interaction processes. Design/methodology/approachThe paper conducts an embedded case study based on dyadic data collection to investigate the purchase of cleaning services by Netherlands Railways (NS) from two suppliers. These services differ with regard to how they are used by NS: as part of the value-proposition to customers (train and station cleaning) or as part of the support processes for NS (office cleaning). FindingsThe paper finds that for a technically homogenous service, fundamental differences in required interaction arise as a result of different usage situations. These differences are reflected in the sourcing decision and the design of the service delivery management process. Research limitations/implicationsBesides the general limits of single case studies regarding external validity, a specific limitation of the study is the limited number of supplier interviews conducted. Practical implicationsIn order to develop appropriate sourcing and service delivery management strategies, practitioners need to consider the use of the service purchased and how it relates to their value proposition. This research shows that pooling volume for services that are used differently may enable immediate price reduction but could reduce supplier performance and ultimately customer satisfaction. Originality/valueThe case study and the validated typology complement the limited literature on the procurement of services transferred to the next level of customers in the supply chain.",
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Variety in business-to-business services and buyer-supplier interaction. / van der Valk, Wendy; Wynstra, Finn.

In: International Journal of Operations and Production Management, Vol. 34, No. 2, 2014, p. 195-220.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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