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Defining Product Service Systems
There are a number of theories that describe the necessary improvements in global envi- ronmental performance in order to maintain status quo in our ecosystem (1, 2). These theo- ries are far reaching in their ambitions, and it is not immediately apparent as to how we should be able to achieve, for example, a factor 20 improvement in our environmental per- formance. One attempt, however, has recently emerged, which combines the product as an artefact with the service that the product provides to the user. Through the combination of these two facets, the company retains ownership of the physical artefact and instead pro- vides what the customer really wants - the actual functionality from the product. This en- ables a series of potential improvements to the product's performance throughout its lifecy- cle. The ideal of product service system (PSS) development is that all three stakeholder groups - customer, company and society - benefit from the service systems related to each one of these dimensions, rather than simply one of the above. There are existing examples of the enhancement of business and market share by focusing on PSS, but this is often not a result of upfront strategy and ambitious goals. We attempt to identify the nature of such a multiple definition of PSS, the link to proper understanding of value and utility and innovative approaches for PSS-oriented product development. This paper will expand on the phenomenon of PSS in the belief that a proper understanding of PSS will give us the design degrees of freedom necessary to create radical innovation. The article draws upon existing product development and PSS theory and models and ex- periences from projects carried out with both industrialists and students.