Service Modularization - Development of a methodology capable of a multiple-criteria analysis and a modularization of industrial services

Goal of the research project was to develop a methodology capable of multiple-criteria analyses and modularization of services in product-service-systems, consisting of physical products and services. The development should be carried out with integrative consideration of products, processes and resources as a foundation for efficient product-service-system configuration. In order to ensure a user-optimized and SME-compatible transfer of the results the developed methodology was implemented into an IT-tool capacitating the efficient usage of the results.

Companies have to meet the challenge of ensuring the availability of their services on the one hand and optimizing their costs for holding services available, which are only inquired infrequently, on the other. Due to high levels of technological maturity caused by homogenization of physical products in the field of investment goods and a growing trend of deficiency of the capability to differentiate against competitors, individualized product-service-systems consisting of physical products and industrial services increasingly gain in relevance and permanently change the competitive situation.

Because of this altering situation innovative companies align their service offering with customer’s problems and progressively offer comprehensive product-service-systems. The customer’s demand for complex problem solving solutions especially confronts SME with great challenges. Firstly, SME are typically focused on their core business and secondly often only dispose of very limited resources which inhibits them from extending their service offering arbitrarily. At the same time SME face the challenges to optimize their service offering and service provision as well as manage the complexity which derives from a grown service portfolio. Given this situation SME need to find suitable strategies in order to respond to challenges coming from supply and demand side equally and ensure a competitive position.

Modularization of services constitutes on approach to manage the complexity of the service offering variety and deriving complexity costs without decreasing the customer’s perceived benefit of the service. Furthermore modularization enables companies to absorb market- and technology-driven dynamics by only having to adjust certain modules to market shifts while the remaining modules show a high level of robustness.

Goal of the research project SERVMO was a sustainable improvement of SME’s competitiveness through the modularization of industrial services in product-service-systems. In order to achieve this goal a methodology was developed and implemented into a software tool, which on the one hand was capable of describing the modules regarding results, processes and resources of services as well as explain the mutual interfaces between these three aspects. On the other hand the methodology was capable of modularizing existing product-service-systems. With this methodological know how companies should be enabled to manage the complexity of their service offering variety through efficient modularization. In order to ensure the application of the results, the research project stipulated the transfer of the developed know how into a software tool. Especially to SME this tool represents an added value, because it allows cost-efficient use without the requirement of expert knowledge about modularization.