Service-enhanced manufacturing: a study of perceived service quality of apparel manufacturers
Within the last decade of the twentieth century, the apparel industry in Hong Kong has been undergoing drastic changes. These changes mainly stem from the challenges of process globalization, which has led to manufacturers shifting a majority of production processes to countries that entail better cost-competitive advantages, while retaining crucial planning and decision-making services centrally. Industrialists, educators and even the Government have made a great deal of effort to enhance the provision of high quality service in an attempt to transform the industry strategically into a centre of service excellence in the South-East Asian region. However, without accredited standard and reference points, the measuring and monitoring of quality in manufacture-related service is very vague and perplexing. In this paper, the authors first review the extant literature for measuring perceived quality in service provision and then explore the respective implementation issues. A Servqual scale in three-column format, adapted from the service quality measurement scale proposed by Parasuraman (1995), is used to survey the opinion of international buying offices and to assess the Hong Kong apparel manufacturers'service performance. Two expectation-discrepancy standards in Service Adequacy and Service Superiority are constructed to measure the service deficiency (gaps). As a result the authors learnt that there are empirical differences between what is perceived in the existing manufacturer's service performance and what the buyer side really desires. The paper concludes with a discussion of the Servqual modelling operational implications and future research directions.