Towards mass individualization
Life-cycle oriented configuration of time-variable product-service systems
The objective of this article is to identify the requirements for product service systems (PSS) with nonpredefined services due to unknown customer demands over the life cycle of the product and to identify the requirements to the non-predefined stakeholders of the PSS within a collaborative network due to unknown business processes/scenarios over the life cycle of the solution. Aim of this paper is to describe an approach for simultaneous life-cycle optimization of productservices and business processes within the network of stakeholders. This paper presents an in-depth case study based on a network of OEMs, components suppliers and system suppliers of durable capital equipment, organized within a best practice network with focus on mass customization. Basis of the approach is an analysis of realized projects of the past in combination with strategic approaches of the future. The used approach is based on the findings of modularization of products and processes and is adopted to non-predefined business services and business processes. The paper investigates PSS through an understanding of a service-enhanced product solution, consisting of tangible and intangible assets; the understanding of collaborative network as a process in which companies/stakeholders share information, resources and responsibilities towards a common goal (e.g. customer order). The paper identifies the following recommendations for mass individualization-oriented companies - how to enlarge their tangible assets (e.g. machines, smartphones etc.) with intangible assets (e.g. service engineering, product financing etc.) into service-enhanced products - how to take into consideration changes in technology and market in order to adopt their products and their technologies to these changes over the whole product life cycle (PLC) - how to find out the relevant processes to realize these service-enhanced products and how to realize these processes on a mass production level - how to find the right network partners to overtake and to integrate these stakeholders with a maximum of efficiency - how to control the whole product and process system over the whole life cycle with the use of a business intelligence solution This paper provides further empirical evidence that the systematic creation of business services and the identification and integration of corresponding business processes cannot be treated as discrete stages but is evolutionary and requires a complex systems perspective. The approach is transfer-oriented, e.g. being based on a methodology and adopted to a special group of stakeholders (best-practice network).