Advanced services: Driving a more responsible approach to product development & through-life support?

Posted on: 18/05/2022
Sustainability Engineers Inspecting Wind Turbine

Innovate UK KTN’s Dr Abi Hird talks to Steve Gregson (Rolls-Royce Eng. Fellow – Service System Solutions) and Professor John Erkoyuncu (Cranfield University) to find out more about what Advanced Services means.

With climate concerns, raw material limitations and wider recognition of the duty of care to our planet, responsible creation of products and systems is paramount. Not only does design have a lot to answer for, but the discipline also must find new ways of working to support considerate product development – with a focus on understanding impact across the lifecycle.

Advanced services incentivise the manufacturer to be more careful and considered about the Through Life performance of the product and service. By making use of technology and new business models to provide new ways of delivering value to customers.

Innovate UK KTN’s Dr Abi Hird talks to Steve Gregson (Rolls-Royce Eng. Fellow – Service System Solutions) and Professor John Erkoyuncu (Cranfield University) to find out more about what Advanced Services means.

What’s involved in delivering Advanced services?

Advanced services drive a closer alignment of a business with the operational outcomes that customers care about, such as availability, performance, and sustainability.  In doing so, organisations are rewarded with a more predictable and profitable revenue stream in return for taking on more operational risk from the customer. The move toward services directly supports the ambition to become more sustainable – as this focuses on maximising asset performance, extending asset lives (by intelligent design & manufacture and more benign operation in service), repairing/reusing parts and recycling as much as possible (enabled once again by intelligent design and re-manufacturing capabilities).  All aimed at achieving the required customer outcomes, predictably & profitably.

How do you start the Through-life Engineering Services (TES) journey?

The move to advanced services can appear daunting for organisations who are deeply entrenched with traditional business models. Advanced services can lead to a more complex environment – but it offers more degrees of freedom to optimise your business and develop more meaningful, enduring relationships with your customers. The Through-life Engineering Services framework has been established to guide your thinking.  Often, the best approach is to build up your service offerings bit by bit, experimenting as you go to get a feel for the new ways of working required in this more complex but rewarding environment.

Have you considered the move to advanced services? If not, why not?  The TES Council would love to hear your thoughts so we can signpost you to members in the network who can help you and to understand any systemic issues that are hampering the journey to services for the SME community.

Who is the UK Through-life Engineering Services (TES) Council and how is it helping organisations on the servitization journey?

The UK have been leading innovators in manufacturing since the Industrial Revolution and looking to the future, the market influence for engineering services, manufacturing and technology where new methods and business models are applicable is huge. This opportunity was assessed as part of a national strategy for TES and was scoped to be of the order of 16% UK Gross Value Added (GVA), with very significant export potential. For organisations such as Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems, nowadays over 50% of the revenues come from services. The strategy challenged UK industry to grasp the opportunity to lead the world in advanced services applied to complex, engineered assets. The UK TES council was established in 2016 to drive and support this national endeavour. It provides critical thought leadership, inspirational insights, and practical advice through its powerful network of core members and working groups.

TES council members are drawn from a wide cross-section of industries, academic institutions (e.g., Aston Advanced Services Group, Cranfield & Strathclyde Universities etc) funding and standards agencies.  The industrial members are currently typically from some of the large, well-established companies such as Rolls-Royce, BAE, Babcock, Leonardo and Network Rail; all of whom are at different stages in their own journey on transforming their business into service-oriented value creation for the customer. 

The Council has developed a Publicly Available Specification (PAS 280) on the subject, sponsored the development of an Apprentice Level 7 (MSC level) course on Through Life Service Sustainment, forged links with the Institute for Asset Management, lobbied government funding agencies to include TES thinking into the scope of the investment portfolios, helped position TES as a central tenant of sustainability thinking. Their members regularly present on the subject at key conferences and events. The 11th International Conference on Through-life Engineering Services 2022 (TESConf2022) is planned to be held during November 7 – 9, 2022 at Cranfield University, UK.

This all sounds interesting; how can people get involved?

The council is keen to engage the SME community on the journey as they represent an important element of the services ecosystem.

If you’d like to share your views or instigate a conversation with the TES council, please get in touch by contacting the Innovate UK KTN Design team.

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