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.