Service Engineering as the Systematic Development of Services: The Japanese Case
Japan was often described as being a service-oriented society, and there are numerous investigations in this field. A closer look at the current development confirms the assumption of Japan being a "service country": About 24% of the workforce is employed in the wholesale, retail and food industry, while some additional 22% work in other service areas. Previous research at the German Institute for Japanese Studies had already targeted this sector, for instance with H. Meyer-Ohle doing research on Japanese distribution systems.
However, there is one question that was not paid very much attention in the past: are methods used to systematically develop products (one of the reasons for Japan’s successful development in the past) suitable for the service sectors, too? In this joint research project with the Research Institute for Rationalization (Forschungsinstitut für Rationalisierung, FRI), Aachen, the DIJ is investigating
- how the terms "service" and "service engineering" are used in Japan,
- how the tertiary sector has developed until now and where it is going now, and
- how corporations from the manufacturing industries cope with the challenges of global competition, an increasing importance of services.
To answer these questions and get statistically relevant data, a questionnaire was designed and sent. Results will be analysed by comparison with two other economies: Europe and the U.S.
The project, supported by the German Ministry for Education and Research, is deeply connected with the DIJ project on "Competitiveness of Japan’s Economy for the Future", where Andreas Moerke pays special attention to the question of how Japanese companies change their organizational structure and behaviour in accordance with external changes.
Project partner: Harald Keith, Research Institute for Rationalization, Aachen