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Service postponement: Translating manufacturing postponement to service operations

Publication Date
  • Ts0155 Production Management. Operations Management
  • Economics


Purpose – The paper aims to explore the application of manufacturing postponement in a service setting. Design/methodology/approach – In elaborating on the many key differences between goods and services highlighted in the literature, it has been argued that postponement strategies developed in manufacturing have a potential for improving service performance. The authors then examine the implications of postponement for the service push-pull boundary and the line of visibility. Findings – A focus on postponement at the service push-pull boundary enables more activities to be performed in advance. Its benefits include reducing costs and shortening service delivery time. Postponement can also assist service providers in re-locating the line of visibility to develop a more effective service operation. Originality/value – While the significant economic benefits of postponement have been documented in manufacturing companies, the literature has also mentioned the potential role of postponement in service. However, very little has been written with respect to the exploitation of the transferability and applicability of postponement to a service setting. In this paper, the authors have explored what value postponement might have to offer for service operations. The application of postponement has a potential for service performance akin to what is expected of a manufacturing organisation

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