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Servitization, Logistics and Manufacturing in Resilient and Digital Supply Chains

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Transportation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2022) | Viewed by 28700

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Chemical, Materials and Industrial Production Engineering, University of Naples “Federico II”, piazzale V. Tecchio, 80125 Naples, Italy
Interests: industrial plants, operations management, supply chain management

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Guest Editor
Department of Engineering and Architecture, University of Parma, 43124 Parma, Italy
Interests: Logistics and supply chain management; analysis and optimization of supply chains; sustainable supply chain; supply chain agility; supply chain performance; RFID technology for logistics and supply chain dynamics; food processing plants; safety/security of industrial plants; Industry 4.0 in logistics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Management and Engineering, University of Padova, Stradella San Nicola 3, 36100 Vicenza, Italy
Interests: industrial plants; assembly and production systems design and optimization; supply and distribution networks modelling

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Guest Editor
Department of Engineering, University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”, via Roma 29, 81031 Aversa, Italy
Interests: human–robot interaction; industrial system design and optimization; supply chain modelling and simulation
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

“Servitization” is a term originally introduced by Vandermerwe & Rada (1988), who first argued that manufacturers needed a way to set themselves apart from competitors, and most importantly, to retain their customer base and increase the differentiation. Today, this term refers to industries using their products to sell “outcome as a service” rather than a one-off sale. A modern example of this is the delivery of media as a service, as done by many different apps, which replaces the need for customers to buy CDs or DVDs.

In a very different context, manufacturing and logistics can also benefit from servitization. Indeed, production environments can offer additional services (e.g. maintenance) to supplement their traditional products. However, if manufacturers are to become service providers, then it is their responsibility to keep the service up and running. Indeed, servitization is only a continuous and reliable revenue source for as long as the service provided by a company is continuous and reliable. There are, in particular, three levels of servitization within manufacturing companies:

1) Product Provision - This is the basics of manufacturing business, i.e. build and sell. Once it leaves the factory, the product ceases to be a concern to the manufacturer, but it also ceases to be a revenue stream;

2) Aftersales Servicing, repairs and condition monitoring: The maintenance of a product provides an ongoing source of revenue for manufacturers;

3) Advanced Services Taking aftersales to the next level: advanced services are more relationship focused and customer-centric than just selling and maintaining a product. In many cases, advanced services are delivered on a subscription model in which the consumer pays for the outcome – whether that be hours of jet propulsion or pages printed.

In contexts in which manufacturing companies remain the owner of the product, “servitization” means that companies should take responsibility for reverse logistics and waste management in cases where the product still remains in the manufacturer’s ownership and responsibility, which has obvious implications for logistics. More in general, supply chains which support the provision of servitized value propositions are different to those that support only products or services provisions (Johnson & Mena, 2008).

There are a number of benefits for businesses adopting a servitization model, the first being meeting customers’ demands, leading ultimately to greater customer retention. No longer can a business assume that products alone will sustain the profit, as customers are becoming more demanding with their requirements and offering additional services that can meet those demands. However, when a manufacturing or logistics business makes the decision to adopt a servitization model, it will also have to face specific challenges, primarily because the “service” culture is different from the mere production culture. The transition from a traditional product-based supply chain to a service value chain requires a reconsideration of the whole supply chain management. Both structure and relations between partners could be affected when a firm moves to provide industrial services (Bustinza et al., 2013). In such context, supply chain ability to change and to adapt successfully to changes become fundamental. A further challenge for businesses implementing a servitization model is the uncertainty of profitability: for instance, servitized business tend to generate lower percentage sales and can be more subject to bankruptcies (Neely, 2008).

In recent decades we have entered a phase of radical techno-economic changes, so that the progressive conceptualization of issues related to “servitization” have necessarily been significantly affected (Brax & Visintin, 2017). Modern Industry 4.0 technologies, in particular, are expected to enhance the potentials for business servitization. For example, the Internet of Things (IoT) and machine embedded sensors are expected to play a huge role in keeping servitized business models up and running. Sensors within equipment will be able to feed data back to the manufacturer or service provider about the condition of parts and the overall product which should mean that maintenance issues can be resolved before the problem occurs. Or, should anything break unexpectedly, the manufacturer/service provider will be notified automatically by the broken part. Recent studies have demonstrated that digital servitization, including software and data processing services, can enhance business resilience (Cusumano et al., 2015). In general, it has been proved that many service business models are more resilient than traditional models focused on selling products (Rapaccini et al., 2020). Servitization needs strong relationships with customer and dynamic connections among partners. The need to continuously assess quick market changes and customer requirements leads a higher ability of resilience.

In line with this premise, the aim of this special issue is to attract research focused on the general theme of servitization, with a particular attention to the manufacturing and logistics contexts and to the potentials of Industry 4.0 to enhance service capabilities and resilience of firms. We are confident that this topic will capture a variety of contributions, due to its relevance in modern business environments.

Prof. Teresa Murino
Prof. Dr. Eleonora Bottani
Prof. Daria Battini
Prof. Marta Rinaldi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Servitization
  • Manufacturing industry
  • Logistics and supply chain
  • Industry 4.0
  • Resilience
  • Industrial service operations
  • Digital servitization business models
  • Digitalized product-service systems
  • Service supply chain management
  • Data-based value chains
  • Cloud-based approaches for maintenance
  • Remote maintenance
  • Maintenance services
  • Operational services
  • Customer services

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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19 pages, 320 KiB  
Article
From After-Sales to Advanced Services: A Network Analysis on the Impacts of Digital Servitization Evolution
by Serena Galvani, Elisa Carloni, Roberta Bocconcelli and Alessandro Pagano
Sustainability 2022, 14(14), 8308; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14148308 - 07 Jul 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1790
Abstract
The B2B context has experienced a push toward digital servitization (DS), i.e., the development of services by means of digital technologies. There are three levels of DS: (1) product provision, (2) after-sale servicing, and (3) advanced services taking after-sales to the next level. [...] Read more.
The B2B context has experienced a push toward digital servitization (DS), i.e., the development of services by means of digital technologies. There are three levels of DS: (1) product provision, (2) after-sale servicing, and (3) advanced services taking after-sales to the next level. At level 3, DS evolves from a product and service-oriented strategy to a service-centric one. The literature has acknowledged the changes provoked by levels 1 and 2 of DS. Yet, further changes at level 3 still have not been explored. This research aims to understand the impact of DS’s evolution after the DS setup, with an intra- and interorganizational focus. To reach this aim, the case of Beta, an Italian mechatronic manufacturer implementing IIoT-based DS, is analyzed. The adopted framework is the ‘developing’, ‘producing’, ‘using’ (DPU) framework, formulated within the industrial marketing and purchasing (IMP) approach. Results are summarized in three propositions, showing how: (1) DS complexity unfolds intra- and interorganizationally and is gradually embedded in the three settings of the framework; (2) integration of settings and resources becomes essential; and (3) processes of resource procurement, development, and integration allow the evolution toward a service platform. Theoretical and managerial implications are provided. Full article
20 pages, 887 KiB  
Article
Structuring Servitization-Related Capabilities: A Data-Driven Analysis
by Ornella Benedettini
Sustainability 2022, 14(9), 5478; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14095478 - 03 May 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2147
Abstract
The existing literature investigates organizational capabilities for servitization in exploratory studies based predominantly on interviews with managers. This has led to classification frameworks that tend to reflect managerial perceptions regarding key capabilities (rather than actual firm capabilities) and in which associations and connections [...] Read more.
The existing literature investigates organizational capabilities for servitization in exploratory studies based predominantly on interviews with managers. This has led to classification frameworks that tend to reflect managerial perceptions regarding key capabilities (rather than actual firm capabilities) and in which associations and connections between capabilities remain anecdotal. This study examines the servitization-related capabilities existing in manufacturing firms that have taken strategic service initiatives and adopts a data-driven approach to explore their underlying structure. A quantitative study based on secondary data from annual report narratives is used to assess the servitization-related capabilities of 79 firms from the aerospace and defense sector and to identify the underlying factors through exploratory factor analysis. The study identifies seventeen capabilities structured into five factors: (i) management of production/delivery operations; (ii) development of valuable and sustainable offerings; (iii) identification of incentives; (iv) planning for uncertainty and change; and (v) relationship management. The study provides evidence of servitization-related capabilities in practice. By examining gaps between existing (current) capabilities and the capabilities identified in our five-factor model, business managers of aerospace and defense firms can assess the status of servitization-related capabilities at their firms and set objectives to develop such capabilities further. The study contributes to the systematic development of a reasonable and parsimonious representation of organizational capabilities for servitization, which is statistically supported and validated through empirical data. Full article
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21 pages, 1636 KiB  
Article
Platform Service Supply Chain Network Equilibrium Model with Data Empowerment
by Yongtao Peng, Bohai Chen and Eleonora Veglianti
Sustainability 2022, 14(9), 5419; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14095419 - 30 Apr 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1810
Abstract
With the rapid development of information and communication technology, data empowerment has become an important way for platform service supply chain (PSSC) members to obtain a competitive advantage. Based on the three-level PSSC network structure composed of service providers, platform operators, and demand [...] Read more.
With the rapid development of information and communication technology, data empowerment has become an important way for platform service supply chain (PSSC) members to obtain a competitive advantage. Based on the three-level PSSC network structure composed of service providers, platform operators, and demand markets, this paper assumes that platform operators empower service providers to improve service quality, and PSSC members invest in data security risk control. Then, using variational inequality and equilibrium theory, a supply chain network equilibrium model considering data empowerment is constructed, and the equilibrium conditions of the whole network are obtained. Based on numerical examples, this paper analyzes the impact of the sensitivity of the demand market to service quality, the relative importance of service providers’ service quality improvement level, the data empowerment cost of PSSC members, and the data security risk control investment of PSSC members on the equilibrium state of the supply chain network. The results show the following: because the service quality is produced by the cooperation between service providers and platform operators, platform operators may have free-riding behavior and are only willing to invest a fixed data empowerment cost to ensure the essential service quality; data security risk control investment is an important factor affecting service sales; and when supply chain network members reduce data security risk control investment, consumers’ willingness to pay for services will be reduced, resulting in a decline in the overall profit of the supply chain network. Full article
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37 pages, 996 KiB  
Article
Implementing E-Commerce from Logistic Perspective: Literature Review and Methodological Framework
by Ilenia Zennaro, Serena Finco, Martina Calzavara and Alessandro Persona
Sustainability 2022, 14(2), 911; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14020911 - 14 Jan 2022
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 13897
Abstract
E-commerce is always more diffused as a selling channel around the whole world market, and its importance has increased and continues to increase with the COVID-19 pandemic emergency. It provides enterprises a lot of opportunities, as the importance of physical stores to sell [...] Read more.
E-commerce is always more diffused as a selling channel around the whole world market, and its importance has increased and continues to increase with the COVID-19 pandemic emergency. It provides enterprises a lot of opportunities, as the importance of physical stores to sell goods is bypassed. However, it has also changed the role of logistics in the supply chain. For this reason, this work aims to identify the main logistics research areas related to e-commerce implementation and the factors and key performance indicators, which should be taken into account for each logistics research area, with particular attention to sustainable aspects. For doing this, a structured and comprehensive literature analysis is carried out. Keywords associated with e-commerce and logistics areas are matched to identify the most interesting works related to its implementation. From the analysis, five main research areas are identified: Supply Chain Network Design (SCND); Outbound Logistics (OL); Reverse Logistics (RL); Warehousing (WR); and IT and data management (E-IT). For each area, key factors, strategies and performance indicators have been identified. Finally, a methodological framework that summarizes the results of the analysis is presented; this is a useful tool for managers to implement or expand their e-commerce business. Many works are focused on one research area, carrying out critical factors, models, and methods to implement that topic. Instead, the methodological framework presented here summarizes multiple research areas from a logistic point of view, identifying for each one input and output variables and how they influence each other. Full article
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Review

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27 pages, 3507 KiB  
Review
Towards a Conceptual Development of Industry 4.0, Servitisation, and Circular Economy: A Systematic Literature Review
by Sehrish Atif, Shehzad Ahmed, Muhammad Wasim, Bassam Zeb, Zeeshan Pervez and Lorraine Quinn
Sustainability 2021, 13(11), 6501; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13116501 - 07 Jun 2021
Cited by 39 | Viewed by 6871
Abstract
Industry 4.0 (I4.0) technologies have been highlighted in recent literature as enablers of servitisation. Simultaneously, businesses are advised to implement a circular economy (CE) to bring new opportunities. However, it is pertinent to mention that little attention has been given to assess the [...] Read more.
Industry 4.0 (I4.0) technologies have been highlighted in recent literature as enablers of servitisation. Simultaneously, businesses are advised to implement a circular economy (CE) to bring new opportunities. However, it is pertinent to mention that little attention has been given to assess the role of I4.0 in adopting the CE and servitisation in a fully integrated manner. This research fills this gap by developing a conceptual framework through a systematic literature review of 139 studies investigating the relationship between the I4.0, CE, and servitisation. This study identifies the impact of these variables on a firm’s operational and financial performance (revenue stream, growth, and profitability). Our research findings advocate that adopting I4.0 technologies to the business and manufacturing model enables sustainability, energy and resource efficiency while enhancing performance and offering innovative products through smart services. Thus, firms must systematically adopt I4.0 technologies to support a CE model that creates value through servitisation. This study identifies the research gaps that are unexplored for practitioners and future researchers while providing insight into the role of I4.0 in implementing CE in the servitisation business model. Full article
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