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Towards integrated solutions: Alfa Laval and the wastewater industry
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2004 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Manufacturing companies in the capital goods industry face opportunities and challenges to their traditionally used business model for selling products, spare parts and services. They are encountering increasing pressure to provide their customers with broader, more tailored solutions. With these integrated solutions, as they are referred to in this thesis, companies are combining services with products to address their customers' business needs, and focus on the delivery of performance.

The objective of this thesis is to address this fairly new concept of integrated solutions using Alfa Laval as a study case in a wastewater industry setting. The business and organisational implications of the move towards integrated solutions have been explored and the move characterised in the context of innovation literature. The thesis comprises five supporting chapters and four empirical papers. The first of these four papers explores and identifies incentives and new competence requirements for providing integrated solutions. The second paper highlights the influence that external elements such as changes in market structure have on providing integrated solutions. The third paper explores internal processes at Alfa Laval supporting a move towards integrated solutions. The fourth and final paper describes the development and launch of a self-optimising control system for the dewatering process, which is licensed out to customers, hence challenging Alfa Laval's traditional way of doing business.

The thesis links Alfa Laval's move towards integrated solutions with its capabilities in the areas of system integration, operational services, partnering and organisational competence, and its approach to customers. It also shows that Alfa Laval's move towards integrated solutions encompasses products, services, performance and organisational innovations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 2004. , 59 p.
Series
Dissertations from the International Graduate School of Management and Industrial Engineering, ISSN 1402-0793 ; 81Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 40
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-22207ISRN: LiU-Tek-Lic-2004:40Local ID: 1364ISBN: 91-85295-23-X (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-22207DiVA: diva2:242520
Available from: 2009-10-07 Created: 2009-10-07 Last updated: 2013-10-23
List of papers
1. Manufacturing firms and integrated solutions: characteristics and implications
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Manufacturing firms and integrated solutions: characteristics and implications
2004 (English)In: European Journal of Innovation Management, ISSN 1460-1060, E-ISSN 1758-7115, Vol. 7, no 3, 218-228 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

For an increasing number of firms in the capital goods industry, combinations of products and services, so called integrated solutions, are becoming part of their future growth strategies. By analysing three case studies, the article highlights the variety of such solutions and some important implications for the involved companies. The analysis suggests that companies need an extended set of competences to succeed in providing integrated solutions, amounting to a balance of technical and integration competence with market/business, consulting and partnering competences. This implies a move from product-focus to customer-centric orientation and focus on optimisation of user processes. From a research perspective the paper underlines the importance of integrating studies of product and service innovation, two fields that so far have been studied separately.

Keyword
Capital, Innovation, Manufacturing industries, Services
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-14481 (URN)10.1108/14601060410549900 (DOI)
Available from: 2008-11-12 Created: 2008-11-12 Last updated: 2017-12-13
2. Suppliers in the privatised UK wastewater market and their possible moves towards integrated solutions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Suppliers in the privatised UK wastewater market and their possible moves towards integrated solutions
2006 (English)In: Water Policy, ISSN 1366-7017, Vol. 8, no 6, 559-572 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

An increasing number of companies in the capital goods industry are turning towards new strategies where the focus is to add value for customers by providing integrated solutions (combining products and services), instead of selling components, spare parts and support services. These new strategies represent moves in the value chain and create a need for new business models as well as new competencies.

In this paper, the fairly new concept of integrated solutions is explored in the context of a privatised industry. The findings are based on empirical case studies carried out at two companies supplying products and services to the UK wastewater industry. In the UK, both water companies and their suppliers are influenced by economic and environmental regulations, an increased focus on cost, and outsourcing. On one hand, the two manufacturers have increased their competence with respect to system integration and operational services – competencies for supplying integrated solutions. On the other hand, a fragmented and vertically structured market with a multitude of different actors increases the distance between the water companies and the manufacturers. In addition, the division of the industry into a capital and operational side complicates the coordination between new sales and services.

Keyword
Capital goods; Integrated solutions; Privatisation; Services; Solutions; Wastewater
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-14483 (URN)10.2166/wp.2006.056 (DOI)
Available from: 2007-05-21 Created: 2007-05-21 Last updated: 2013-10-23
3. Towards integrated solutions: exploring the opportunities and implications for Alfa Laval in the wastewater industry
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Towards integrated solutions: exploring the opportunities and implications for Alfa Laval in the wastewater industry
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Companies in the capital goods industry currently face challenges affecting their approach to and utilisation of their traditional business models for selling products, spare parts and support services. Hence these companies are turning towards new strategies involving combining products and services, and focusing on customer needs and actual outcomes of their products and services-in other words they are moving forward in the value chain towards providing integrated solutions.

This paper is an endeavour to contribute to the evolving discussion onintegrated solutions by linking this fairly new strategy to the value chain and value network perspectives. The paper presents an empirical case study ofAlfa Laval's business role in the wastewater industry, exploring the complexity and ambiguity of a company's shift towards providing integrated solutions, and highlights new competence-related requirements.

Alfa Laval has extended its range of products within the sludge treatment process; hence potential exists for further increasing knowledge about system integration. Furthermore, the company has increased its responsibility for operational services. Together with an increased focus on customers and new organisational solutions, these developments illustrate that Alfa Laval has changed its position in the value chain, and appears to be addressing the need for increasing its capabilities in relation to integration, markets, business and partnerships. It remains to be seen however, whether or not these developments will interact with one another, how they will be managed by the company, and whether or not they will be integrated by the company in its continuing move towards providing integrated solutions.

Keyword
integrated solutions, services, solutions, value chain, value network
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-99927 (URN)
Available from: 2013-10-23 Created: 2013-10-23 Last updated: 2013-10-23
4. Octopus: Alfa Laval's launch of a new business concept based on performance
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Octopus: Alfa Laval's launch of a new business concept based on performance
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The innovation of a self-optimising control system for decanter centrifuges challenges Alfa Laval's traditional way of doing business. Instead of selling components, spare parts and service, the new technology makes it possible for Alfa Laval to create customer relationships based on performance optimisation and incentive contracts. An internal corporate venture, Octopus, has been created to launch the new technology and business concept. This paper describes and analysis the first stages of the development and launch of Octopus. Dedicated individuals from the beginning of the process and a highly supportive top management in the later stages have driven the on-going development and launch. The findings show how and why Alfa Laval moves into this new activity, which represents innovation and change for the company on a strategic, technological and market level.

National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-99928 (URN)
Available from: 2013-10-23 Created: 2013-10-23 Last updated: 2013-10-23

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