Services in Manufacturing Industries: Contributions to Quality and Competition

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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
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Operations & Information Management
operations management
operations strategy
service operations
Business Administration, Management, and Operations
Management Sciences and Quantitative Methods
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Motivated by the increasingly important role of services in manufacturing industries, this dissertation examines implications of this trend for quality management and competition by firms engaged in the production of joint product-service offerings. Broadly defined, we study the following research questions: How do the service contracts offered by manufacturers affect product quality? How does consumer demand respond to product quality and service attributes when manufacturers compete on services? How are consumer intentions influenced by product quality and service quality perceptions, and how does consumer heterogeneity influence this relationship? We empirically study these questions in the aerospace, automobile and consumer electronics industries, respectively. In the first study, we examine the impact of Performance-Based Contracting on product reliability in an application in the aerospace industry (aircraft engines), and show that the incentive alignment induced by performance-based contracts positively influences product reliability by different mechanisms. In the second essay, we formulate and estimate a structural model to analyze the impact of service competition and product quality in the U.S. automobile industry. We show that the impact of service attributes (warranty length, service quality) on consumer demand critically depends on the firm's product quality. Finally, in the third essay (consumer electronics industry), we examine the joint influence of product quality and service quality perceptions on consumer intentions toward a brand, and show that consumer heterogeneity plays a significant role in defining this relationship. Collectively, our results suggest that the joint consideration of product and service is essential for the development of an effective competitive strategy and for the management of quality by manufacturing firms.

Morris A. Cohen
Gerard Cachon
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