As a result, Lisa and Xander are also part of the Business Service Innovation research group in Venlo. This research group is led by lector Bart Nieuwenhuis (IEBIS), who also acts as promoter of both Lisa and Xander. The responsibility for daily supervision of Lisa and Xander lies respectively at Raymond Loohuis and Ariane von Raesfeld Meijer (both NIKOS). The PhD projects are part of an overall research program “Servitization in SMEs”, which is funded by the Province of Limburg.
Servitization is the observed trend that refers to an organizational transformation in which firms offer functionality or outcomes rather than just stand-alone products or services. This functionality or outcome is realized by offering a combination of products and services that are highly interdependent and reinforce each other, this is often called a product-service-system or hybrid offering. The trend of servitization is a response, among other things, to increasing global competitive pressures and product commoditization. Furthermore, servitization is driven by technological developments in the manufacturing industry like the Internet-of-Things and advanced data analytics.
The research of Lisa adopts a dyadic perspective in servitization. Hereby, the research aims to explore the role of customers in servitization, specifically their role in collaborating with manufacturing firms to provide business solutions. Customers’ involvement in servitization is crucial as their willingness to adopt offerings, but also to share knowledge and the integration of resources, affects the success of delivering customer-oriented offerings that create sufficient customer value. Therefore, the main question to be answered is how firms can engage their customers to co-produce solutions and what the implications for both parties are due to engaging in these collaborations.
The research of Xander will take an ecosystem perspective on servitization. So how do (regional) ecosystems develop as response to the servitization trend or how can managers use these ecosystems to increase their servitization success? Overall, how do manufacturing firms cope with these servitization developments in the light of ecosystems? These questions are relevant in the current business environment since outcome based offerings often exist of a bundle of products and services which cannot be offered by a single firm. This implies increasing specialization within the industry which means that firms must increasingly rely on an ecosystem of other actors / partners to ensure value creation.