Servitization Trends in Manufacturing and R&D


Arlington, VA (September 8, 2015)—While manufacturing and service companies are often considered separate entities, manufacturing firms are increasingly moving from a product-oriented business model to one focused on advanced services. This trend, known as servitization, is explored in a special issue of Research-Technology Management (RTM), the Industrial Research Institute’s (IRI) flagship journal, released this month. Successful servitization relies on extreme customer intimacy. “Companies are doing more today to meet customer needs than ever before,” said Jim Euchner, Editor-in-Chief of RTM and Vice President of Global Innovation at Goodyear. “Even business units that are several steps removed from direct customer contact are building in feedback mechanisms from customers to researchers who are designing new products. We are all, in some way, becoming service industries.” The special issue of RTM is guest edited by Tim Baines, a professor at the Aston Business School in Birmingham (UK), Director of the Aston Centre for Servitization Research, and author of Made to Serve: How Manufacturers Can Compete through Servitization and Product Service Systems. It explores the various ways companies are navigating this shift to services. Articles include a look at collaborative services, in which win-win business models deliver value for companies that work together to create innovative service-oriented business models; a study of digitalized product-service systems in manufacturing firms; an in-depth look at the relationship between servitization and competitive advantage; as well as, ways companies can develop global service innovation capabilities. “Internationally, there is a growing recognition that manufacturers serving developed economies are moving away from concentrating their efforts on products and production and toward a services focus. The terminology for this development, however, has varied,” Baines wrote in his introduction to the issue. “In Germany . . . industry leaders are engaged in a debate around Industry 4.0; in Scandinavia, the term of choice is product-service systems. UK companies focus on servitization . . . while in the US, industry talks about servitization and service innovation, much of it powered by the Internet of Things (IoT). While the terminology might vary across these countries, the underlying message is very clear: innovation of services is becoming more and more important to manufacturing firms worldwide.” For access to this special issue of RTM, “Services Innovation,” contact Michele Taussig at   About the Industrial Research Institute The Industrial Research Institute (IRI) is an organization of 200+ industrial and service companies having a common interest in the effective management of technological innovation. IRI member companies span diverse industries and represent a substantial portion of our nation’s gross domestic product. IRI is the only cross-industry organization creating innovation leadership solutions and best practices in innovation management developed through collaborative knowledge creation. For more information, call 703-647-2580 or visit   About Research-Technology Management (RTM) Research-Technology Management (RTM) is IRI’s award-winning, bi-monthly journal focused on the practice of innovation. Since 1958, RTM has published peer-reviewed articles that map the cutting edge in R&D management, illustrate how management theory can be applied to real situations, and give leaders of research, development, and engineering the tools to promote innovation throughout their organizations. For more information, visit us at