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Exploring product–service systems in the digital era: a socio-technical systems perspective

Exploring product–service systems in the digital era: a socio-technical systems perspective
Exploring product–service systems in the digital era: a socio-technical systems perspective

Purpose: In the age of Industry 4.0, digital advancement is reshaping manufacturing models towards product–service systems (PSS). The drivers, readiness and challenges to move to a PSS model are not well understood, and the exploitation of the digital era presents the gap of this research. Design/methodology/approach: The research was conducted using semi-structured interviews in six manufacturers. Two forum debates were also conducted to supplement and validate the findings. Findings: Social and economic motivations rather than environmental considerations were driving the change to PSS. Digital technologies could be an important driver if manufacturers reached a certain PSS maturity level. A high level of technical readiness was offset by a low level of social investments and the strategic development of human resources. Value co-creation was a main challenge though manufacturers had the advantage of digital connectivity, which indicated new human requirements; the greater the enabling power of digital technologies, the greater the need for advanced human skills. Practical implications: Human resource management has underpinned lean models; yet, the role of employees within PSS is underdeveloped despite the impact of staff in exploiting digitalisation and value co-creation. A “learning organisation” and socio-technical fit are required for the “diffusion of innovation” of PSS. Originality/value: This research attempted to explore drivers, readiness and challenges for PSS from a socio-technical systems (STS) perspective. Three levels of PSS maturity with STS features were derived from the research, providing guidance for manufacturers.

Challenges, Digitalisation, Drivers, Industry 4.0, Product–service systems, Readiness, Socio-technical systems
1754-2731
897-913
Li, Ai Qiang
9f914353-362c-49d4-b44e-09dbc7db7cca
Rich, Nicholas
560d9366-a7d3-487f-af5e-0e14b54f102e
Found, Pauline
01dd4bed-9ecc-4ea1-be50-d1cf3e67bf64
Kumar, Maneesh
00e56ed4-8662-41b7-a04b-e8c83e7aa09a
Brown, Steve
b4aaf64c-2032-4715-a9ea-ef5e604b5de1
Li, Ai Qiang
9f914353-362c-49d4-b44e-09dbc7db7cca
Rich, Nicholas
560d9366-a7d3-487f-af5e-0e14b54f102e
Found, Pauline
01dd4bed-9ecc-4ea1-be50-d1cf3e67bf64
Kumar, Maneesh
00e56ed4-8662-41b7-a04b-e8c83e7aa09a
Brown, Steve
b4aaf64c-2032-4715-a9ea-ef5e604b5de1

Li, Ai Qiang, Rich, Nicholas, Found, Pauline, Kumar, Maneesh and Brown, Steve (2020) Exploring product–service systems in the digital era: a socio-technical systems perspective. The TQM Journal, 32 (4), 897-913. (doi:10.1108/TQM-11-2019-0272).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Purpose: In the age of Industry 4.0, digital advancement is reshaping manufacturing models towards product–service systems (PSS). The drivers, readiness and challenges to move to a PSS model are not well understood, and the exploitation of the digital era presents the gap of this research. Design/methodology/approach: The research was conducted using semi-structured interviews in six manufacturers. Two forum debates were also conducted to supplement and validate the findings. Findings: Social and economic motivations rather than environmental considerations were driving the change to PSS. Digital technologies could be an important driver if manufacturers reached a certain PSS maturity level. A high level of technical readiness was offset by a low level of social investments and the strategic development of human resources. Value co-creation was a main challenge though manufacturers had the advantage of digital connectivity, which indicated new human requirements; the greater the enabling power of digital technologies, the greater the need for advanced human skills. Practical implications: Human resource management has underpinned lean models; yet, the role of employees within PSS is underdeveloped despite the impact of staff in exploiting digitalisation and value co-creation. A “learning organisation” and socio-technical fit are required for the “diffusion of innovation” of PSS. Originality/value: This research attempted to explore drivers, readiness and challenges for PSS from a socio-technical systems (STS) perspective. Three levels of PSS maturity with STS features were derived from the research, providing guidance for manufacturers.

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Exploring product-service systems in the digital era a socio-technical systems perspective_Final v2 - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 14 January 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 29 February 2020
Published date: 21 July 2020
Additional Information: Publisher Copyright: © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited.
Keywords: Challenges, Digitalisation, Drivers, Industry 4.0, Product–service systems, Readiness, Socio-technical systems

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 439519
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/439519
ISSN: 1754-2731
PURE UUID: 795ff361-544a-4843-92f2-1fae36e87f4b

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Date deposited: 24 Apr 2020 16:44
Last modified: 28 Oct 2022 17:11

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Contributors

Author: Ai Qiang Li
Author: Nicholas Rich
Author: Pauline Found
Author: Maneesh Kumar
Author: Steve Brown

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