Not all things that are important can be counted. There are many intangible aspects of service operations management that likely more important than “countable” things.
Today, we continue our series on defining the unique aspects of Service versus Manufacturing, especially in how we apply the concepts of Lean Manufacturing and Six Sigma. Previously, I argued the critical aspects between service and manufacturing and talked more in-depth about the concept of consumption in service and manufacturing and how that is an important aspect that characterizes their difference.
Today we’ll discuss the concept of the “intangible” and how that characterizes a major difference between service and manufacturing.
Critical Aspects of Services are Intangible
When we buy something that is manufactured, it has a size, shape, weight, and texture. We can touch it, see it, and it is very tangible in nature.
In a service business the atmosphere, the attitude and the feelings that are part of the whole experience are intangible AND are critical aspects of the service. How you are treated in a restaurant, how you are treated on an airline – these are all important parts of the service delivery, which is part of the product and are not tangible.
Series on Difference Between Service Versus ManufacturingGo here for details on applying Lean for Service Operations. For other posts in this series, please refer to the table below:
These examples will ring true to you.
- The quality of and the speed at which you receive your coffee is important, but how you are treated by the barista is equally important.
- At a restaurant, restaurant operations are often focused on efficiency but people’s smiles and kind words and thoughtfulness in how service is provided makes a big positive difference in the experience.
It’s Your Turn
What are some examples from your experience? Do you agree or disagree?