As product markets mature, firms are increasingly offering industrial services, in order to differentiate themselves and remain competitive. The general strategic view emerging from the services literature is that service infusion in manufacturing industries takes a somewhat unidirectional path from products to service provision. Based on in-depth case study research in the materials handling industry and drawing on Lindblom's (1979) concept of disjointed incrementalism, this study shows how service infusion often takes place in small steps without clearly directed efforts. The study identifies elements of incrementalism central to service infusion and demonstrates how a successful service strategy involves continuous modifications, adaptability, the seizing of ad hoc innovation, a continuous recalibration of opportunities, and the management of intertwining goals. The study introduces the concept of agile incrementalism; this concept aptly describes this contingency approach. The article contributes to a multifaceted and nuanced picture of service strategy and the service-infusion process.
- 512 Business and Management