Industrial product-service systems think-tank : establishing long term research directions

Shehab, Essam and Tiwari, Ashutosh and Annamalai Vasantha, Gokula Vijayumar and Lightfoot, Howard and Roy, Rajkumar (2011) Industrial product-service systems think-tank : establishing long term research directions. [Report]

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    Abstract

    Cranfield University and Rolls-Royce plc designed and developed a one-day ‘Think-Tank’ international workshop to establish the future research direction for Industrial Product-Service Systems (IPS2). The workshop was held at Cranfield University, UK, by invitation only to visionary academics across the globe, senior industrialists and funding organisations. The workshop aimed to trigger discussions on high impact challenges involved in IPS2. The research directions from the workshop could inform IPS2 researchers and research funding decisions in the future. The overall objectives were to: Engage multi-disciplinary academics and practitioners in a deeper discussion to identify major research directions for the future. Identify the unique challenges faced in IPS2 and also any country specific requirements. Prioritise the research directions into mid-term and long-term categories. Identify major industry and public procurement trends across different countries. The workshop design has gone through two main phases. Prior to commencing the event, the participants submitted their thoughts on either “IPS2 Research Directions” or “Industrial requirements for IPS2” and these were thoroughly analysed. During the event, the analysed results were presented and followed by capturing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis) to IPS2 research across different countries. One of the main strengths of the research area is that IPS2 research is maturing in international profile and creating wide awareness of its importance among stakeholders. How the bigger picture of IPS2 was described and the immaturity of models, tools and techniques developed for real industrial applications were major weaknesses of IPS2 research. To develop an enhanced understanding of IPS2 research results across countries, wider opportunities to establish a common case studying pool is suggested. Finally, prolonged research funding for analysing real impact on industry is a major threat widely discussed. Every delegate had to express his/her views on potentially high-impact in their countries. Combined grouping analysis of these answers gave ten common themes within them. Examples of these common themes are cost, skills, design and manufacturing, society, and case studies. These themes underwent a rigorous prioritization process by the delegates to identify high impact challenges. From the prioritization of grouped challenges, the themes - Design and Manufacturing, Case studies, Business capability, Cost and Complexity, all emerged as the foremost areas on which to concentrate.