Research for better customer satisfaction
Service development is a popular field in the manufacturing industry. Some ten senior researchers have joined forces in the ManuServ network, at the initiative of Professor Tomohiko Sakao. This Linköping University initiative is welcomed by the industry.
One of the companies now investing in collaboration with LiU researchers is Siemens Turbomachinery in Finspång. A gas turbine must function flawlessly, under all conditions and during its entire lifespan. This requires service, maintenance and possibly upgrades, which is known as aftermarket.
Siemens is not the only major company to discover that there is money to be made by taking control of their aftermarket and that it also has competitive advantages and boosts customer satisfaction.
“Service sales are showing strong growth in parts of the manufacturing industry, especially in mature economies,” says Tomohiko Sakao, professor at the Division of Environmental Technology and Management at LiU.
This is also an expanding field of research in which Linköping University holds a strong position. Recently a new centre formation, ManuServ, was started at the Department of Management and Engineering, IEI.
Ten senior researchers from several different departments and a number of doctoral students are part of around ten major projects that are already under way. Sakao, the originator of the centre, hopes that the network will also attract major research funding.
“Here at LiU we have one of the strongest groups in the world in this area, with a large number of scientific publications. Places like Germany and Great Britain retain large research groups, but we have the advantage that we cover management and the pure engineering aspects too,” he says.
One reason for formalising the research network in ManuServ is also that industry representatives, and research financiers like Vinnova, now have a convenient way to access the research at Linköping University.
And there is a lot of interest.
“We had a workshop in February, with almost twenty people from seven major companies:
- Alfa Laval
- Atlas Copco
- Tetra Pak
They work with completely different products, yet they face the same issues regarding production and sales of services. They are very interested in our research,” says Tomohiko Sakao.
The project with Siemens is valid for three years and addresses the adaption and implementation of the model for service production developed by Tomohiko Sakao.
In a nutshell, it is about including customers’ needs for service, maintenance and upgrades early on in the design process, as well as developing services in parallel with the development of the gas turbine itself. A doctoral student, Amir Taabodi, will also work on the project.
At the end of May Linköping University also hosted The International Academy for Production Engineering, CIRP, which assembled doctoral students researching service production. 22 doctoral students from all over the world listened to presentations on the latest research findings, took part in workshops where they tackled concrete problems along with invited companies, and naturally also exchanged experiences with each other.
Division of Environmental Technology and Management at LiU
Department of Management and Engineering (IEI)
ManuServ CIRP’s school for doctoral students
Vinnova, Sweden’s Innovation Agency
LiU Electronic press
Last updated: 2013-05-30