Using Flowcharts to Prepare Service Industry Value Chain

“From an operational perspective, exports challenge companies to design, develop, manufacture and supply products to discerning customers in global markets. This, in turn, motivates companies to scale up the value chain, which results in higher realizations.” – Baba Kalyani

The accretion of value continues to present a central theme in most lines of modern economic activity. A company’s stock price, for instance, must gain incremental value to remain an attractive investment for buyers. Certain industrial mechanisms must process metal ores sourced from mines into high-value end-products that grace glitzy showrooms. Similarly, organized industry must develop and implement value chains that represent “processes or activities by which a company adds value to an article, including production, marketing, and the provision of after-sales service.

Such actions are essential from the points of view of customers, vendors, stakeholders, regulators, and competitors. In this context, the operation of a service industry value chain enables providers to elevate and differentiate service offerings, expand their market footprint, reinforce positive impressions in the minds of customers, develop cost-effective supply chains, engineer profitable pricing strategies, and drive industry innovation at multiple levels. These facets of service industry value chain, when designed inside flowcharts, offer the best opportunities for the planned addition of economic value.

The quick service restaurant industry could develop a special edition of service industry value chain in a bid to bolster its commitment to customers. The components of such value chain could include outstanding ambience inside restaurants, comfortable seating arrangements, and polished service personnel for guests at each table, smooth takeaway mechanisms, and promotional offers for app-based customers, corporate discounts for groups of regular customers, and more. These elements, when etched inside a flowchart, offer readers a composite image of an operational value chain in the QSR industry. Higher levels of differentiation can find expression when strategists and planners examine each element in said chain and apply insights and innovation. Such initiatives can take shape inside the flowchart, thereby creating layers of meaning in conventional definitions of the modern value chain.

Technology in various forms, when harnessed appropriately, allows businesses to generate critical sections of service industry value chain. This assertion finds validity in the fact major industrial and commercial systems and processes are now mediated by technology. For instance, an operator of brick-and-mortar supermarkets could boost its value chain by deploying electronic technologies such as bar code readers and RFID systems. This stance promotes efficient customer services, better inventory control, and higher levels of success in catering to the requirements of the average customer in supermarkets. In addition, the service industry value chain gains heft through strengthened back-end IT systems that boost in-bound logistics for supermarkets, while allowing a seamless customer experience across real world locations. When designed inside flowcharts, these stances find ready integration into wider blueprints designed to drive corporate expansion and business development initiatives.

Certain elements of the purely abstract, when combined with artful whimsy, can help the typical service industry value chain to gain additional credence. This technique is necessary for service operators that seek high levels of business performance through outstanding customer services. For instance, pilot projects designed by a coffee chain operator could seek to expand definitions of customer service by encouraging coffee-drinking communities inside the chain’s outlets. These projects could find motive power in activities such as small sections of real estate devoted to modern art, workshops conducted by local artists, blank canvas stands that encourage casual visitors to paint, and special sessions devoted to art appreciation. These experience-based activities can contribute significantly to the value chain of products and services, thereby attracting a special cachet to the coffee chain. We note flowcharts can help design such innovation into the constructs typical of a service industry value chain.

The phenomenon of social media handles and posts can help propagate a central part of service industry value chain. These channels of digital communication allow brands to access the customer base online and interact with individual patrons, clients, and users. For instance, operators that offer professional home cleaning services could utilize said channels to enhance the customer experience by creating bespoke services uniquely tuned to different types of contemporary residential spaces. This stance gains elaboration and service specialization when said operator offers customers choices in terms of cleaning agents, disinfectants, detergents, timelines, and proficient service personnel. Flowcharts, deployed to outline versions of such strategy, can help create new versions of value chains and promote experimental techniques and flavors in the primary service. The graded spaces inside flowcharts could also augment efforts to expand the components of the value chain and ideate on new avenues of value addition.

Business leaders, senior executives, strategists, and planners must pay close attention to service industry value chain because “a business which wishes to outperform its competitors through differentiating itself through higher quality will have to perform its value chain activities better than the opposition.” To illustrate, a telecom services provider must upgrade business processes by, for instance, integrating clean energy sources such as wind, solar, and tide into its operations. In addition, the operator must demonstrate commitment to capital investments into telecom spectrum and other aspects of communications infrastructure, improve the sustainable quotient of its supply chain operations, and implement a corporate resolve to recycling and re-use as appropriate. These actions allow the service provider to attune itself to modern sensibilities and establish a bona fide presence as an industry champion of best practices. The intelligent use of flowcharts can empower the provider to design and implement these policy stances across the organization.

Optimized materials management practices, the deep and widespread use of information acquisition and processing technologies, and the over-stocking of medical supplies represent key components in the service industry value chain of modern healthcare service providers. When these elements find connections to commercial metrics such as annual sales, operating costs, capital turnover ratio, revenue, profitability, and return on investment, we obtain a picture of an efficient value chain operation in modern healthcare. Flowcharts allow operators to position these elements and their many derivatives in the visual medium, thereby generating an outline of the business case that drives modern healthcare. In addition, such illustrations offer intelligent scope for ambitious service providers that wish to scale operations in tune with stakeholder expectations. These illustrations also allow service providers to benchmark their performance with industry leaders, thereby unearthing locations to drive innovation in existing value chains.

Observers say that “value chain thinking helps solve technical and business problems.” Such thought and analysis allow service providers to innovate constantly, refresh and upgrade the quality of commercial contracts, assist in knowledge management practices, and “reduce costs, meet environmental regulations, and develop better products.” For instance, business operators in the modern packaging industry could initiate steps to source plastic packaging waste with a view to develop (and boost) sustainable elements in supply chain operations, produce their products responsibly, abide by the relevant legislations enforced in various markets, and ink long-term business agreements with recyclers of all manner of plastics and resins. Subsequently, they could elect to chart the many avenues of value addition in the different domains of the packaging industry to generate product lines that pass scrutiny from multiple perspectives. When detailed inside flowchart diagrams, these (suggested) actions, objectives, and processes can help construct the outlines of a service industry value chain in the packaging industry; thereby reinforcing our faith in the value of deploying flowcharts in designing cutting-edge value chains that resonate with contemporary imperatives.

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