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Service Management: Operations, Strategy, Information Technology.

Service Management: Operations, Strategy, Information Technology by James A. Fitzsimmons and Mona J. Fitzsimmons, Seventh Edition, McGraw Hill Education (India) Private Limited Publications, New Delhi, 2014, Pages 544.

The book is written in an engaging literary style, has used extensive examples, and is based on research and experience of the authors. Each chapter has a preview, closing summary, key terms and definitions, service benchmark, topics for discussion, an interactive exercise, solved problems and exercises where appropriate, and one or more cases. To motivate the reader, a vignette of a well-known company starts each chapter, illustrating the strategic nature of the topic to be covered.

The integration of technology, operations, and human behavior is recognized as central to effective service management. The theme of managing services for competitive advantage is emphasized in each chapter and provides a focus for each management topic. The models and diagrams are particularly good as are the referencing.

Although the case studies are not that relevant and the authors can bring more valuable case studies for aspiring students.

The book has been divided into four parts:

Part I of the book discusses the central role that services play in the economies of nations and in world commerce. As an economy develops, services become even more important and soon the vast majority of the population is employed in service activities. It also addresses the nature of service operations and focuses on the customer and serving his or her needs which is very important activity for service provider. This section also covers an effective competitive service strategy which is particularly important for service firms because they compete in an environment where there are relatively low barriers to entry.

Part II of the book covers the issues of service design, new service development process and the issue of technology in services including automation, the rise of self-service technologies (SST' s) and the nature of service delivery via the internet. It also emphasizes on service quality issues, including its measurement and service recovery. Servicescape and processes improvements are also discussed. This section also covers service encounters between customer and service provider in the context of service profit chain and location models to minimize travel times or maximize revenue in the presence of competitors.

Part III of the book coves matching capacity and demand. This challenge illustrates the inseparability of marketing and operations in service management. The perfect match is seldom possible which leads to waiting customers. Thus management of waiting lines to avoid customer perceptions of poor service experience is an important skill. This section also covers service supply relationships and project management.

Part IV of the book covers quantitative models that have important applications in service operations. It explores the use of Queuing models for planning service capacity. It also covers Demand forecasting for services and managing service inventory. Knowledge of expected customer demand allows staffing of service capacity in advance to achieve acceptable levels of customer waiting times.

The key additions in seventh edition of the books are chapter- 2, The Nature of Services, has been added. A new section has been added to Chapter 3, Service Strategy, on the topic of Porter's Five Forces Model and SWOT analysis. The topic of intellectual property has been added to Chapter 4, New Service Development. In Chapter 8, Process Improvement, the discussion of Six-Sigma has been expanded to include the topic of process capability and its measurement. A section on Lean Service has also been added. A Field Study and end-of-chapter questions have been added to Chapter 12, Managing Waiting Lines.

Anupam Narula

Associate Professor, FORE School of Management.
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Author:Narula, Anupam
Date:Oct 1, 2014
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