Call for papers for a Special Issue in Computers in Industry

“Product‐Service System Engineering:  From Theory to Industrial Applications”
Goal of the issue is to provide strategic frameworks, conceptual and analytical models and case studies that focus on the systematic development, design and implementation of Product-Service Systems.
Submissions to this Special Issue must represent original material that have been neither submitted to, nor published in, any other journal.
Extended abstract (2 pages): March 15th 2011
Submission of full paper: June 30th 2011
Camera‐ready version: February 15th 2012
Publication of the Special Issue: Early Summer 2012


Computers in Industry
Special Issue
“Product‐Service System Engineering: From Theory to Industrial Applications”
Sergio Cavalieri, University of Bergamo
Giuditta Pezzotta, University of Bergamo
Yoshiki Shimomura, Tokyo Metropolitan University
Background and Motivation
The recent macro‐economic events have contributed to an increased awareness of the strategic relevance
deriving from the provision of services related to products, as an economic remedy for facing the sharp
downfall of the markets. The result is a sudden and steep accumulation of empirical knowledge coming out
from the various and dispersed “lessons learned” which managers and engineers are currently
experiencing in supporting the transition of their companies to a Product‐Service orientation.
The current challenge for the research community is not trivial: instead of building mere descriptive
models in order to frame and generalise individual strategies and actions; but rather providing sound
guidelines and normative models which could exempt a practitioner from implementing her/his strategies
using rules of thumb or, even worse, starting from scratch.
Early researchers in the ‘60s made a fundamental distinction in considering a product as a thing and a
service as an act. Nowadays, this distinction, which links goods to something tangible and services to
something intangible, is vanishing because many service outputs rely also on substantial material
components and, conversely, many manufactured products have embedded intangible service attributes.
Since the ‘80s a marketing‐oriented approach has dominated the service and product‐service research as
well as the definition of companies’ strategy. The same cannot be said from the Engineering and the
Operations Management standpoint. Their attention has been mainly devoted to the provision of an
artefact through effective and efficient supply chains, neglecting the importance of designing and
engineering ‐ since its early lifecycle stages ‐ the connected services and of laying down a consistent service
provision chain.
In fact, the general notion of a Product‐Service System (PSS) entails multiple elements to be designed,
engineered, implemented and supported, including: products, processes, software & technology, people,
shared information (e.g. metrics, price, and laws), and organisations. As a result, an interdisciplinary
approach is required.
In this context, Service Engineering is becoming a predominant field: it calls for a design and engineering of
Product‐Service solutions really valuable to the customers in order to contribute to a positive change of
state during the customer’s “journey of experience”. Service Engineering has been defined by Bullinger
(2003) as “a technical discipline concerned with the systematic development and design of services using
suitable models, methods, and tools”.
The relevance of the Product‐Service concept in industrial companies and the need of a systematic
approach to this research area lead to many innovative issues. Many researchers have undertaken studies
in the area and created new and adapted old frameworks, models, methodologies, and tools from Service,
Product or System Engineering fields.
Goal and Topics
The proposed Special Issue aims to provide a contribution to a consolidation of the theoretical and
empirical knowledge on Product‐Service Engineering. Papers on the following topics are expected to be
appropriate for the Issue:

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