To set themselves apart from competitors, Flemish product orientated companies can no longer solely focus on products. They have to add service components to their supply. However, research shows that the preconditions in product orientated companies are not met to create successful product service systems.
Over the last few years, Antwerp Management School has built up knowledge about these preconditions. The business school concluded that the preconditions mostly deal with non tangible or soft factors, like attitude, knowledge and skills. The levers that product orientated companies can use, can be developed by the companies themselves. The internal levers are for example the competence to co-create solutions for clients' problems with other customers or suppliers, the competence to thoroughly analyze problems in terms of technical solutions, the competence to build up relations with customers by organizing interaction with customers and realizing a customer focused culture, etc.
In this research project, Antwerp Management School wants to translate the carefully built up knowledge into a method so students, service providers and companies (especially design driven companies in the product industry) can use this knowledge to make a successful transition from a product dominant logic to a more integrated one. An integrated logic is a company logic in which the ideal balance is found between a product-dominant and a service-dominant logic, and in which all needed preconditions are met to create successful product service systems.
The method that Antwerp Management School develops in this research project, will consist of a questionnaire that will invite companies to score themselves on the preconditions or internal levers that are needed to realize the transition to an integrated company logic in function of creating successful product service systems. Among other things, the questionnaire asks the company how it deals with mistakes, how success is measured, the attention the company has for the customer experience, what time and means the company invests in customer relations, how the company deals with complaints, how the company creates value with their customers in a network, etc. This makes it possibles to visualize the current dominant company logic (the "as is" situation) and the way in which the company currently uses internal levers, in a diagram.
Next, the company's score is compared to the integrated company logic that is typical to companies that successfully use internal levers to offer product service systems to their customers. The gap between the two situations exposes the improvement potential. Based on this, the company sets up a improvement plan. To do so the company can use the guide that Antwerp Management School wants to set up in this research project. The guide will be illustrated with best practices from Flemish production companies.
After the company has implemented the improvement actions, the preconditions are met to create successful product service systems. The company will and can take soft factors associated with services into account. Executing the plan does take some time and means. Previous research shows that an SME of 50 employees will have to free up one full time equivalent, but this does mean a expected return of an increase in value of 3-5% at the least.
In the project “Internal levers for creating successful product service systems" Antwerp Management School translates the available academic knowledge into a measurable tool, that companies can use to list which internal levers they can use to make the transition to an integrated company logic. This logic allows companies to create product service systems in a successful way. Finally, this will allow product orientated companies in Flanders to keep on setting themselves apart from cost efficient foreign competitors.
Want to know more about the course of the project? Curious to see the tool they used? Click here!