14 Octobre – Thesis defense - Hao Guan

11 h Amphi Jean-Paul Dom - bâtiment A31 (campus de Talence)

A design framework for customer-oriented PSS based on three dimensional concurrent engineering approach.

The world industrial economy has also been witnessing to step into service economy during last two decades, just like those pure services industries such as bank services, assurance services and consultancy services, etc. Under this background, recent surveys launched by Microsoft Dynamics 365 and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) have shown that customers’ requirements now have been changing to more economical, more flexible and more sustainable services in a modern service economy context. In order to satisfy customers’ requirement abovementioned, researchers spare a lot of effort on a new concept called “Product Service Systems” (PSS).
PSS was firstly defined by Goedkoop et al. in 1999, in which they emphasized the new offering should be a marketable set of products and services capable of jointly fulfilling a user’s need. Since then, more and more definitions emerged, taking more aspects such as offering, customers, sustainability, networks and infrastructures, value co-creation into considerations. My thesis recommends a PSS definition proposed by Vezzoli et al. (2015) in which PSS is regarded as an offer model providing an integrated mix of products and services that are together able to fulfil a particular customer demand (to deliver a unit of satisfaction), based on innovative interactions between the stakeholders of value production system (satisfaction system), where the economic and competitive interest of providers continuously seeks environmentally and socio-ethically beneficial new solutions. The reason why the researchers advocate the concept of PSS mainly because of four aspects: (1) for customers, they can obtain more value from the product-service lifecycle, they can enjoy more comfortable services from system, they can do more beneficial things to environment; (2) for companies, they can obtain more market opportunities since they can provide more diverse offerings to customers, they can achieve higher loyalty and trust from customers; (3) for government & society, PSSs are able to provide more jobs for citizens, PSSs are able to bring better environmental consciousness to the citizens; (4)and for environment, PSSs are able to bring less environmental impacts.
Although there are so many benefits of PSSs, industries are hard to adopt PSSs due to the following barriers. In terms of providers, companies need new competencies, skills and experiences in relation to both management and design activities; additionally, companies are always reluctant to add sustainability constraints into PSS design along whole lifecycle of PSS, due to its higher cost and longer response time when take sustainability into consideration; what’s more, how to make the collaborate among stakeholders more effectively and efficiently is also a key barrier along the system creation and operation. Customers are more concerned with the possible higher price when purchasing services due to adding sustainability concerns; further on, the more important thing for customers is the experience they get from interactions with providers and other stakeholders along PSS lifecycle. In terms of context barriers, the key gap is lacking of well-performed technologies and infrastructures.
Hence, researchers and practitioners spare a lot of efforts on the frameworks, methodologies, techniques, tools in order to deal with these barriers. In my thesis, a literature review of existing frameworks, methodologies, tools and techniques has been done in order to get a basic understanding of current design related knowledge. Particularly, the methodologies are categorized into design methodologies, evaluation methodologies, and management methodologies; techniques are categorized into modelling techniques and visualization techniques; and tools are categorized into IT related tools and other tools.
However, during the research of PSS, the authors found a critical problem that PSS offerings are most of the time provider driven. Products or services providers hope to obtain benefits from their technologies or new business models, thus they integrate them into PSSs and push the PSS solutions to their customers. As traditional customers mainly play a role of receivers with fewer interactions with their providers, they also have less consciousness of function economy. In this way, huge wastes have been generated along PSS lifecycle. In order to figure out this problem, this thesis advocates a new concept called “customer-Oriented PSS” (COPSS). Customer-Oriented PSS has positive effect on roles collaboration, new idea generation, better offering development and better customer acceptance according to my literature review. And the review summarized five findings: (1) customer experience and customer satisfaction hold a vital position in a COPSS; (2) a COPSS’ sustainable target could benefit from adopting a customer-oriented approach; (3) offering design should emphasize customers’ requirements and offerings’ functionalities; (4) COPSS ideology advocates customer involvement along entire PSS lifecycle; (5) despite of new PSS design challenges coming from customer-orientation, customer oriented design stile take more advantages over traditional product-centric method and innovation-pushed PSS. Since then, the thesis will focus more on COPSS rather than only on PSS.
What’s more, what’s worth emphasizing is that the literature review of existing frameworks found that existing frameworks usually focus on the design of products and services, which are two main components of a PSS; however, most of them usually ignored the significance of networks and infrastructures. And this is not enough in current collaborative environment. And during the research of existing frameworks, we found that none of them is able to satisfy the following requirements which are very significant for current PSS design: (1) customer orientation, including customer requirements analysis, deeper customer involvements, and customer satisfaction assessment; (2) integrated design, including Product-Service Offering design, design for X and agile management; (3) customer-provider satisfaction trade-off (CPST) including sustainability assessment and CPST based PSS design.
Hence, the thesis concludes the objective is to this thesis is to build a framework for the collaborative design of COPSS involving in particular composite services in a usage-driven perspective. When adhering to the customer orientation principle, customers’ requirements should come first, which means that the framework should be able to well analyze and integrate customers’ requirements into PSS solution design. Additionally, this framework is also dedicated to achieving a sustainable development of PSS which is able to take environmental and social aspects into consideration. Finally, good communication and interaction is also a primary concern in a product service system, since a system is in particular composed of a set of stakeholders interacting together.
In order to fulfill this objective, the thesis firstly starts from the three key design activities including Product-Service Offerings (PSOs) design, Value Co-Creation Processes (VCCPs) design and Virtual Enterprise (VE) design. The thesis adopted Three-Dimensional Concurrent Engineering to help analyze the interactions between three activities in order to make the design processes more effective and efficient. The mass customization is adopted to support PSOs design and VCCPs design; the AGORA multi-agent based VE modelling is adopted to support VE design. According to the framework requirements and 3DCE approach, this thesis proposed a new design framework for COPSS based on 3DCE approach. However, during the design, the metrics of PSS, such as the customers’ requirements, providers’ requirements, customers’ value and providers’ value keep changing, which may lead to many risks. In order to help manage the design processes, the thesis develops “stakeholder-driven PSS lifecycle models in VE context” for PSS lifecycle modelling, ”COPSS design cycle based on customer-provider satisfaction trade-off” for optimizing PSS offerings, and “multi-layer SCRUM management framework” for responding customers with high-quality in a short lead time.
Last, this thesis launched a case study for a weeding robot in order to help readers to understand how to utilize the framework and methodologies developed in the thesis.

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