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Accelerating Service Innovation with Global Account Management – A Case Study at a Manufacturing MNC

Malmström, Emma LU (2017) INTM01 20162
Innovation Engineering
Abstract
Title: Accelerating Service Innovation with Global Account Management – A Case Study at a Manufacturing MNC

Author: Emma Malmström – Master of Science in Industrial Engineering and Management, em.malmstrom@gmail.com

Tutors: Malin Olander Roese – PhD Researcher, Department of Design Sciences, Faculty of Engineering, Lund University and Susanna Bill – PhD Student, Department of Design Sciences, Faculty of Engineering, Lund University

Issue of Study: This master thesis is conducted as a case study at a large, mature, manufacturing company; referred to as the MNC. Like many other global, business-to-business, manufacturing companies, the MNC works with global account management. The MNC’s global accounts are large, global customers of... (More)
Title: Accelerating Service Innovation with Global Account Management – A Case Study at a Manufacturing MNC

Author: Emma Malmström – Master of Science in Industrial Engineering and Management, em.malmstrom@gmail.com

Tutors: Malin Olander Roese – PhD Researcher, Department of Design Sciences, Faculty of Engineering, Lund University and Susanna Bill – PhD Student, Department of Design Sciences, Faculty of Engineering, Lund University

Issue of Study: This master thesis is conducted as a case study at a large, mature, manufacturing company; referred to as the MNC. Like many other global, business-to-business, manufacturing companies, the MNC works with global account management. The MNC’s global accounts are large, global customers of high strategic importance to the MNC. The Service Organisation is a company within the MNC. They drive service as a business and currently many new services are being developed within the central unit of the Service Organisation. The study focuses on how the central unit of the Service Organisation can be more customer-driven and accelerate service innovation by making better use of the Global Account Teams. The thesis also aims to fill the theoretical gap in existing literature regarding what role the global account management function can play for a company’s open service innovation approach.

Purpose: The purpose of this master thesis is to increase the understanding of how a company’s global accounts’ needs can be used to initiate and drive service innovation and thus, how global account management can be used to strengthen the competitive edge in service innovation.

Method: The study was designed as a qualitative case study with an abductive reasoning approach. The empirical data were collected through 30 one-to-one, semi-structured interviews held with MNC employees and 10 observations made of the Service Organisation’s weekly service development project status meetings.

Conclusions: In summary, the Global Account Teams can contribute to a more agile, customer-driven service innovation and thus, play an important role in a company’s open service innovation. The Global Account Teams can help to prioritise between customer needs, increase the early customer engagement in service development projects, drive deployment through central agreements and contribute to a customer-dominant logic in the service innovation. All this increases both relevance and speed of the service developments, which strengthens the competitive edge in service innovation. (Less)
Popular Abstract
We can all understand that the customers are critical to any business’ success. But how much input should we take from our customers? Should we listen more to our biggest and most important customers? For service innovation, customer engagement is more important than ever. Taking input from the Global Account Teams is one way to come closer to the customer. The Global Account Teams work closely with large, global, business-to-business customers and they can therefore contribute to a more agile, customer-driven service innovation. The Global Account Teams can help to prioritise between customer needs and help to increase the customer engagement during a service development project.

A successful service innovation starts with a need. The... (More)
We can all understand that the customers are critical to any business’ success. But how much input should we take from our customers? Should we listen more to our biggest and most important customers? For service innovation, customer engagement is more important than ever. Taking input from the Global Account Teams is one way to come closer to the customer. The Global Account Teams work closely with large, global, business-to-business customers and they can therefore contribute to a more agile, customer-driven service innovation. The Global Account Teams can help to prioritise between customer needs and help to increase the customer engagement during a service development project.

A successful service innovation starts with a need. The service becomes the solution to a pain or a problem that a customer is experiencing. To make sure the service meets the specific customer needs, early customer feedback is essential. To get the early customer feedback, an agile innovation approach is suggested, where the customer is engaged before the solution is fully defined. The company can test the idea on the customer and continuously improve the service. This way, they quickly find out what the customer is looking for, which secures the demand of the innovation.

Nevertheless, starting with the technical solution is common. Companies might start from the perspective of what is technically possible and then try to match that solution with a customer need that they believe the solution is addressing. When the solution is already defined, they start to look for a customer whom they can test the solution on. This might be when they realise that the demand is lower than they thought or that the customer would rather pay for something else. At that stage, much time and money have already been invested in the service development project.

The global accounts are a supplier’s large, global, strategically important customers. Due to the globalisation around us, more and more customers are requesting global standardisation and global consistency on products and services and the need for global account management is therefore rising. The Global Account Team is the team in the supplier’s organisation that works towards this big customer. The interaction between the supplier and the customer depends on the customer’s need for global standardisation as well as the culture, strategy and geographical spread. Having alignment, a common agenda and shared goals and targets are needed to build a close partnership. Additionally, if the supplier is present where the customer is present, they can help the customer with their global standardisation. This partnership enables many business opportunities. As the two parties share goals, targets and strategies with each other, the Global Account Team knows exactly what the customer needs both short-term and long-term and they have many meetings where they can get customer feedback.

Taking input from and interacting with the Global Account Teams in the service development work can therefore be a way to drive service innovation based on the true customer needs, with customer engagement throughout the service development project. This would increase both relevance and speed of the new service developments. The Global Account Teams can help to prioritise between customer needs and they can contribute to a service business where the customer needs are in focus.

The study was designed as a case study at a large, global manufacturing company. The empirical data was collected through 30 one-to-one, semi-structured interviews held with employees from the case company and 10 observations made of the internal, weekly service development project status meetings. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Malmström, Emma LU
supervisor
organization
course
INTM01 20162
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Service Innovation, Global Account Management, Customer Needs, Customer-Driven Innovation, Speed to Market
language
English
id
8912621
date added to LUP
2017-06-12 14:12:40
date last changed
2017-06-12 14:12:40
@misc{8912621,
  abstract     = {Title: Accelerating Service Innovation with Global Account Management – A Case Study at a Manufacturing MNC

Author: Emma Malmström – Master of Science in Industrial Engineering and Management, em.malmstrom@gmail.com

Tutors: Malin Olander Roese – PhD Researcher, Department of Design Sciences, Faculty of Engineering, Lund University and Susanna Bill – PhD Student, Department of Design Sciences, Faculty of Engineering, Lund University

Issue of Study:	This master thesis is conducted as a case study at a large, mature, manufacturing company; referred to as the MNC. Like many other global, business-to-business, manufacturing companies, the MNC works with global account management. The MNC’s global accounts are large, global customers of high strategic importance to the MNC. The Service Organisation is a company within the MNC. They drive service as a business and currently many new services are being developed within the central unit of the Service Organisation. The study focuses on how the central unit of the Service Organisation can be more customer-driven and accelerate service innovation by making better use of the Global Account Teams. The thesis also aims to fill the theoretical gap in existing literature regarding what role the global account management function can play for a company’s open service innovation approach.

Purpose: The purpose of this master thesis is to increase the understanding of how a company’s global accounts’ needs can be used to initiate and drive service innovation and thus, how global account management can be used to strengthen the competitive edge in service innovation.

Method:	The study was designed as a qualitative case study with an abductive reasoning approach. The empirical data were collected through 30 one-to-one, semi-structured interviews held with MNC employees and 10 observations made of the Service Organisation’s weekly service development project status meetings.

Conclusions: In summary, the Global Account Teams can contribute to a more agile, customer-driven service innovation and thus, play an important role in a company’s open service innovation. The Global Account Teams can help to prioritise between customer needs, increase the early customer engagement in service development projects, drive deployment through central agreements and contribute to a customer-dominant logic in the service innovation. All this increases both relevance and speed of the service developments, which strengthens the competitive edge in service innovation.},
  author       = {Malmström, Emma},
  keyword      = {Service Innovation,Global Account Management,Customer Needs,Customer-Driven Innovation,Speed to Market},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Accelerating Service Innovation with Global Account Management – A Case Study at a Manufacturing MNC},
  year         = {2017},
}