Service managers also must recognize that the decision to adopt technology is often driven by the need to not only to increase productivity but also to improve the existing performance of their operations. (Improved performance. as defined earlier, includes faster speed of delivery, more product variety, and improved customer responsiveness,
to name a few.) Often, however, with the proper technology, both performance and productivity can be improved. creating a win-win situation for the firm. Faster service. Technology has allowed service operations to significantly reduce and, in some cases, totally eliminate the need for customers to wait in line for service. In addition to providing faster service, technology can simultaneously reduce labor costs by entirely eliminating the customer-worker encounter. For example, many hotels now provide an in-room checkout option. Guests who want to
take advantage of this option simply follow the menu-driven instructions on the television in their room, leave their hotel keys in the room, and never have to wait in line at the front desk to check out. In this case, customer waiting time is totally eliminated and the requirement for
front desk personnel is also reduced when guests take advantage of this option. Car rental agencies have similar processes. As we saw in the opening \ vignette. customers are no longer required to go into the office to finalize their bills when returning their rental cars at an airport. A worker greets them at the car when they drive up and quickly
toners to go directly to the shuttle bus and the terminal .Pinter, thereby allowing the As another example. the use of bar code readers h .
markets has significantly reduced the amount of ti . at t e checkout counters In super line while also reducing labor co ts and errors' Kevin a ~. In crying .Chemotherapeutic may expect to stand in big also reduces the need to consistently inventories which Performance. Barometer control. ' ,naggers With Improved knowledge about customers In ma . with detailed information Another method of ruing technology for obtaining data on individual customers is through membership cards. Many retail operations now require membership cards or provide discount incentives to encourage the use of these cards. Such cards allow the retailer to track the buying patterns of individual customers. thereby providing management with in depth information about their customers that can be used for future planning purposes. For example. Wholesale Club. Costco, and Sam' Club all require their customers to have membership cards. Shaw·s. Stop & Shop. and Price Chopper are examples of supermarket chains that also have introduced a similar type of card, the use of which entitles customers
to significant discounts on products. The proper use of technology thus can provide a service company with a competitive advantage through its ability to better understand the individual behavior patterns and past
experiences of each of its cu toner Increased product customization. Technology of allows service managers to provide their customer with a wider variety of options than the) could previously offer. The terms "micro machining" and "mass customization" have evolved. in part. as a direct result of advances in technology that now permit firms to identify and provide customized goods and services to meet the needs of individual customers. As an illustration, Levi Strauss now provide customers in it retail stores with the option of buying jeans that are made to the customer's exact size. The customer's specific measurement trans entered into the computer and a few weeks later the jeans are delivered to the
customer's home. Additional pairs can be ordered with only a telephone call, thereby eliminating the need to Visit the store. Another example is L.L. Bean. the mail-order company in Free projection. which will
sew a cu toner's name or monogram on many products. Compute Riled wing machines allow operators to select the Is. size. and culvert: ) in a matter of second .. A monitor . screen located above the sewing machine show- the operator how the name will appear on the product before it is actually stitched on the article .