Business services are a large and important sector of the European economy, accounting for 11% of GDP. They are an essential component of the value chain, supporting both manufacturing and other service sectors as well as generating new combinations of goods and services. In the broader sense, they include all activities that enable and facilitate businesses to carry out their trade. This includes services like banking, transport, warehousing and marketing, as well as inter- and intra-departmental communication.
The main characteristic of business services is that they do not result in the creation of a tangible or physical product. As a result, they cannot be stored as inventory for future use, and they have to be delivered when demanded. Moreover, the production of a service takes place at the same time as its consumption. This means that customer involvement is essential for business services. This could involve clarifying requirements, conveying expectations and setting service-level agreements. In addition, it is often necessary to adapt a service to meet changing customer demands.
One of the key challenges in managing business services is that they are typically performed by humans, and inconsistency is a natural part of the human experience. As a consequence, it is difficult to guarantee that all customers receive a consistent quality of service. This is particularly the case when a service is delivered over the internet.
Outsourcing is a common way for companies to obtain business services. This allows them to focus on their core activities while leaving noncore services to experts or specialists. Depending on the type of service, this can help them reduce costs and improve efficiency. In addition, outsourcing can allow them to access expertise that would be cost prohibitive to hire in-house.
For example, a company may outsource its IT support to a third-party provider. This can free up IT resources to focus on other projects and increase employee productivity. It can also save money on maintenance and repair, as the provider will be responsible for this.
The types of business services that a company requires are dependent on its industry and location. For example, in the transportation industry, a business needs transportation services for both moving raw materials and finished products. In addition, they will need warehousing services for storage, packaging and labelling goods. Finally, they will need to have communications and telecommunications services to communicate with customers.
Another important category of business services is financial services. This can include everything from supplying cash to businesses to advising them on their financial situation and providing loans or lines of credit. It is a crucial aspect of any economy and can help a company to expand or invest in new equipment.