We live in a world that is evolving and changing faster than ever. Paradigms are set, and revoked the next day. One of these paradigms, that have fueled the prosperity of market economies all around the world in most of the 20th century, is growth. More production leads to more consumption and an increased standard of living. Today, hardly anyone in academia or politics sees a future of prosperity through the growth of production and sales of physical products alone. Scarcity of resources is a fact we are faced with today and even more so when looking ahead to the next 30 years or so. Different ways of creating value without destroying the very base of our existence must be contrived while attempting to maintain the standards of living in the developed world and providing emerging countries with a fair chance for prosperity in the future.
Product-Service Systems (PSS) are one possible way of creating added value and thus growth, but disconnecting this growth from an increase in material consumption and therefore resource depletion (as discussed e.g. by Manzini et al., 2001). This issue will be discussed further in chapter 2.4. By combining products and services, developing them in an integrated manner and approaching their design and operation from a life-cycle perspective, offerings can be conceived that reduce the strain on the environment through different effects but allow for new sources of revenue, growth and prosperity to be discovered. As mentioned by Meier et al. (2010), the portion of the GDP created through service activities in Japan (69%), Germany (70%) and the USA (75%) surpasses that of the industrial sector by a large margin. Combining the two and making use of the resulting synergies is a main objective of the research on Product-Service Systems in roughly the past decade. Current research will be examined in the following chapter to fully explain PSS and why it holds such great potential, both from an environmental as well as an economic perspective.
One of the main focuses of research in the field of PSS is PSS development. Since an integrated approach of product and service development is the explicit aim of most PSS design strategies (e.g. Lindahl et al., 2006), traditional means of product development known and successfully applied in engineering design do not apply to the world of PSS or must be altered and adapted to do so. This issue is discussed in detail in chapter 3 of this thesis. The PSS-design method SPIPS (Toward Solution Provider - Through Integrated Product and Service Development), introduced in Sakao et al. (2009) and extended in Sakao and Lindahl (2012) is one possible approach to PSS design that is introduced and related to this thesis in chapter 3.5. At this point, although possessing a verified method for consumer-value assessment (Sakao and Lindahl, 2012), the method is lacking an approach toward the assessment of the producer-value of PSS components and offerings. This thesis aims to fill this void.
The primary aim of this thesis is to provide a structured method to assess the producer value (PV) of components and combinations of components (offerings) of Product/ Service Systems. This goal is intended to be reached through answering the following sub-questions or completing these tasks:
- Provision of an introduction to PSS and current research as well as definitionsfor the most important terminology
- Discussion of traditional product development, interfaces with PSS and review of literature relevant to this
- Review of methods of producer value assessment and extraction of useful issues
- Discussion of uncertainty, interdependency and cost within the scope of producer value evaluation in PSS design, derivation of possible solutions and issues for further research
- Finding a way to quantify producer value
- Describing the structure of the method proposed
- Outlining the possible realization of the method in a software environment
- Applying the findings to an example of realistic nature
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2013. , 115 p.