Newswise — Dr. Richard E. Crandall, a professor in the Walker College of Business at Appalachian State University, has had his book "New Methods of Competing in the Global Marketplace: Critical Success Factors from Service and Manufacturing" published by CRC Press, a division of Taylor and Francis Group.

It was co-written with Crandall's son, Dr. William "Rick" Crandall, a professor in the School of Business at UNC Pembroke.

The book is the result of an intensive analysis of current business trends in the service and manufacturing sectors.

"One of the things that really struck us was the fact that traditional manufacturing companies are borrowing concepts from service industries to improve how they make and sell their products," Richard Crandall said. "Likewise, service businesses are borrowing concepts from manufacturing in order to operate more effectively. It is an interesting phenomenon, since traditionally service and manufacturing companies have operated separately from each other, and have been managed in quite different ways."

Crandall said that manufacturing companies typically perform well in areas such as supply chain management, production transformation and outbound logistics, three areas that help reduce the cost of the final product. "What they have not been as good at is servicing their customers well and offering realistic customization of products in a timely fashion," he said. "Ironically, service industries have been better at these functions, but have not always been as good at containing costs, at least, not without sacrificing some degree of customer service."

The result of this changing business environment is an interesting phenomenon. Manufacturing companies are looking more like service companies and service companies are utilizing more tools from manufacturing. To prove his point, Crandall cites the example of IBM. "Originally, IBM was a manufacturing company. Today, they look more like a service company," he said.

The Crandalls' differing career experience proved beneficial to their book's topic. William Crandall was a hotel/restaurant graduate from Florida State University. He spent 10 years in that industry, which is typically viewed as services oriented. Richard Crandall was an industrial engineering graduate from West Virginia University and spent the first part of his career working in manufacturing environments. Together, they bring a perspective to this book that represents a blend of insight from the service and manufacturing sectors.

The book stresses the need for organizations to change. "Change cannot just come about though, it has to be planned," Richard Crandall said. "We focus on three elements that must be strategically planned if positive change is to occur. The structure of the organization may need to be altered. Today, organizations are flatter, with less levels of hierarchy than what we have seen in the past. The result is that lower-level employees must be allowed to make decisions without a lot of managerial approval."

The authors also believe that technology must be embraced to allow for flexibility in the manufacturing and service areas. "We are not just talking about putting a PC on every desk and using e-mail, word processing and spreadsheets," Crandall explained. "Today, technological applications have the ability to help businesses adjust to sharp fluctuations in customer demand, while at the same time, containing costs."

The Crandalls also believe organizational culture must be addressed when implementing changes. "Some organizations can change faster because their employees are receptive to it; in fact, they may actually embrace change," Richard Crandall said. "Others resist change because it breaks down the 'comfort zone' in which employees and management have been operating."

Register for reporter access to contact details

New Methods of Competing in the Global Marketplace: Critical Success Factors from Service and Manufacturing