Definition and measurement of supplier quality in industrial services
Järvensivu, Topi Nikolai
Permanent address of the item is
Toimittajan laadun määrittely ja mittaaminen tuotannollisissa palveluissa
Services have been traditionally separated from goods in terms of intangibility, heterogeneity, inseparability and perishability. Even though the line between goods and services is blurred, as many services include a physical component and vice versa, services pose some differences to the purchasing process compared to tangible goods. With services, the importance of the specification phase is highlighted due to the fact that services are difficult to define unambiguously. This has also implications on the performance evaluation of the service supplier: the difficulty of defining a service makes it challenging to measure service quality. The objective of this research was to develop an approach for supplier quality measurement in industrial services from the viewpoint of the buyer. However, the intention was that the measurement system would ultimately be used jointly by the buyer and the supplier. The research in this thesis was conducted as a case study utilizing a mixed-method research approach. The empirical part of the research consists of two parts: the definition and measurement of supplier quality in industrial services. In defining supplier service quality, literature review as well as interviews with the case company and the service supplier representatives were used. As a result, a framework for supplier service quality was developed. The framework offers a comprehensive view on supplier service quality, combining the viewpoints of service profit chain, relationship quality, and process and outcome quality of the service. Based on the framework, supplier service quality consists of four dimensions: supplier capability, supplier-customer relationship, and process and outcome quality. The measurement of supplier service quality was constructed as a survey based on the developed framework, and it was used to measure the quality of cleaning service. This thesis describes the undergone process from the development of the measurement items to the actual data gathering and analyzing the results. Statistical analysis was used to examine the survey data. This thesis also developed a model of supplier service quality, aiming to examine the links between the four service quality dimensions. The results provide support for the use of process and outcome quality as dimensions of service quality. Even though the model could not be examined in full, the results suggest that process quality has an effect on outcome quality. Overall, the measurement process reported in this thesis offers useful insights for the future use and development of the supplier service quality measurement.