By Tim Baines, Professor, Aston Business School; Director, Aston Centre for Servitization Research and Practice; and, guest editor of RTM special issue on Service Innovation
Manufacturing and service industries are often seen as largely independent. Whether in national economies, business classifications, education, training, or employment, they tend to be thought of as separate. Indeed, the growing role of services in developed economies has been the topic of much discussion over the past decade or so. Yet manufacturers can offer services; in fact, they can, and increasingly do, base entire competitive strategies on service innovation—finding ways to rethink their offerings and replace one-time product sales with ongoing, value-creating relationships. This is the process of servitization; icons in this mode are companies such as Rolls-Royce Aerospace, with its Power-by-the-Hour model; Xerox, with its document management solutions; and Alstom, with its Train-Life services.