The work aims to investigate how the shift towards a service economy is changing the way manufacturers compete and behave, particularly in the foreign markets. Manufacturing firms seeking to diversify their core business by adding services to bolster the product offering soon understand how different it is to develop and provide services compared with exclusively the manufacture and marketing of products. Diversification into services poses new challenges that cannot be mastered using the traditional, manufacturing-oriented management tools. Further, it is one thing to effectively integrate products and services for the domestic market, which itself presents new hurdles, but a completely different ball game when companies that serve the international markets attempt to expand their offering to meet the service needs of foreign clients. What kind of difficulties can the companies expect to come up against? How does a product-related strategy differ from a services-related strategy in the international arena? After reviewing the proposals advanced in the relevant literature, we conducted an empirical analysis of the strategies adopted by a sample basket of Italian manufacturing firms in the Italian leisure boats industry.
Keywords: After-sales services, internationalization, product-service integration, recreational boat industry
Jel Code: M16, F23