Service Only Supply Chain: Sustainable Practices for Achieving Higher Performance and Sustainable Development Goals

Service Only Supply Chain: Sustainable Practices for Achieving Higher Performance and Sustainable Development Goals

Ramji Nagariya, Divesh Kumar, Ishwar Kumar, Bharat Singh Patel
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8426-2.ch012
(Individual Chapters)
No Current Special Offers


Broadly, the sustainable practices for the manufacturing supply chain are considered as environmental, social, and economic practices. But due to different characteristics of services, the above-mentioned sustainable practices are necessary. Beyond these practices, some other novel practices are necessary for the service context. This chapter discusses the novel sustainable practices for the service only supply chain (SOSC). The discussed sustainable practices will enhance the understanding of sustainable practices in SOSC context. How these practices will help the organizations in achieving sustainable development goals will also be discussed. Potential future research directions are also provided.
Chapter Preview


The World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) published a report “Our Common Future” also known as “Brundtland report” on the strategies for the sustainable development (SD) (World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987). This report suggested “economic growth, environmental protection and social equality” as the primary pillars of the SD. The ceremonial characterization of sustainable development states- “Sustainable development (SD) is a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (WCED .:. Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, n.d.). In 2015, the members of the United Nations acknowledged the program intended to peace and prosperity of everyone and the globe and named the program as the 2030 program for SD. United Nations coined 17 SD targets with a vital call for accomplishment by all the countries. In the Earth Summit held in Brazil in 1992, more than 178 countries agreed to carry forward Agenda 21 intended to form a global partnership to improve human lives and protect the environment (SDGs .:. Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform, n.d.). The inclusion of Sustainable development goals (SDGs) was taken progressively by the member nations and the researchers also called for research in the light of sustainable development.

The concept of sustainability became visible in the supply chain in the 1990s leading to sustainable supply chain management. Initial researches were focused on green issues and the rest of the goals of SD were not covered (Liu et al., 2017). While in the service supply chain (SSC) the researches are prominently leaned towards product service supply chain (PSSC) and the sustainability aspect in service only supply chain (SOSC) is still in the initial stage. The definition of SSC proposed by Ellram et al. (2004) is as “supply chain management is the management of information, processes, capacity, service performance and funds from the earliest supplier to the ultimate customer”. However, this definition was not considered appropriate for SSC by Baltacioglu et al. (2007) and redefined SSC as “the service supply chain is the network of suppliers, service providers, consumers and other supporting units that performs the functions of transaction of resources required to produce services; transformation of these resources into supporting and core services; and the delivery of these services to customers”. In this definition the “core services” refers to the benefits received by the customer. The treatment of a disease in hospital, memorable holiday in a hotel, account opening in a bank could be considered as the “core services”.

The service sector has become the fastest-growing sector in recent decades (Thakur & Anbanandam, 2016). Not only the developed countries are witnessing the growth in the service sector but the developing countries like Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) (Nagariya et al., 2020; Nagariya & Kumar, 2019) are also observing a developing trend in the service sector (Aliakbari Nouri et al., 2019). The contribution of services in the world economies has reached a new high and its share in global gross domestic product (GDP) counts to be more than 65% (Services, Value Added (% of GDP) | Data, n.d.). The prominent authors working in the service supply chain have predicted that in the coming decade's service sector will dominate the other types of business (Arnold et al., 2011; Nagariya et al., 2021a). The world is witnessing a change in the way of doing business (Sampson, 2012) and more service-oriented businesses are growing at a fast pace. The service supply chain has started attracting academicians and working professionals (Aliakbari Nouri et al., 2019).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Product Service Supply Chain (PSSC): Under the umbrella of SSC, PSSC is a kind of supply chain in which the physical product travels through the supply network with prime focus of providing higher level of service experience and satisfaction to the customers.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Seventeen SDGs were provided by the United Nations broadly aimed to eradicate poverty, discriminant practices, reduce the degradation of environment and ensure peace and justice to all.

Service Supply Chain (SSC): SSC is a special type of supply chain in which product and services are delivered to customers with a prime focus of improved service quality and customer satisfaction.

Sustainable Practices: Such practices are aimed to ascertain that the actions of an organization or individual do not harm the environment, society, and stakeholders.

Core Services: Core services are the benefits received by the customers when services are delivered to them.

Triple Bottom Line (TBL): TBL assembles three sustainability aspects, i.e., environmental, social, and economic; hence, it forms the three widely accepted pillars of sustainability.

Service Only Supply Chain (SOSC): In SOSC, the products are pure services. No physical product travels in the supply network.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: