27-07-2016 | Original Paper
Smart servitization within the context of industrial user–supplier relationships: contingencies according to a machine tool manufacturer
Bart Kamp, Ainhoa Ochoa, Javier Diaz
International Journal on Interactive Design and Manufacturing (IJIDeM)
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Advanced manufacturing technologies (AMT) have been hailed as enablers to make industrial products and operations smart. The present paper argues that AMT can not only form a lever for developing smart goods and smart production environments, but can likewise form a basis to offer smart services and to propose servitized earning or payment models to industrial users. We do so on the basis of a literature review, followed by a case-based analysis of the AMT and servitization challenges to which a machine tool manufacturer is exposed in its industrial market environment. Consequently, the present study identifies a set of contingencies c.q. catalyzers with regard to seizing AMT for smart servitization practices within industrial business-to-business contexts. These are: the ability to capture relevant data; to exploit such data adequately and convert them into actionable knowledge; and to build trust among users and producers of capital goods in order to come to effective data exchange. We finish by deriving implications for smart servitization in a manufacturing context, and by outlining case-based lessons on how AMT and servitization can further interactive design and manufacturing practices in an industrial producer-user setting. We contend that there may be a gap between the technological and organizational readiness of (many) machine tool companies for smart servitization, on the one hand, and what different publications on AMT and Industry 4.0 are trying to make out. We also find that besides the high-tech and big data components to smart servitization, companies with an ambition in this field should take into account minimum/right information principles, to actually get to deep learning, and to establish a culture of trust with business partners, and inside implicated organizations among departments to create an environment in which smart servitized user-supplier relationships can prosper.