Andy Neely, Founding Director of the Cambridge Service Alliance, hears about the challenges and enablers of servitization, the importance the country puts on technology, and the growth of e-platforms...
I recently spent a week in China, visiting the Southern China University of Technology (Guangzhou) and Ceibs, the international business school in Shanghai. While at Ceibs I participated in the first seminar on “Servitization and Service Innovation”.
Attended by around 100 people, industrial speakers at the seminar included eCoal (an online coal purchasing platform), HP, Sevalo (a construction and mining equipment services business) and SKF from the world of industry, whilst Professors Marjorie Lyles (Indiana University), Chris Voss (Warwick Business School), Xiande Zhao (Ceibs) and I delivered academic presentations.
It was a great trip, fascinating in so many ways, and here are my thoughts on some of the themes that came out for me at the seminar.
The importance of technology to China.
Many firms were looking to create platforms, often to combine buying power and/or to utilize spare capacity.
Services and solutions often cross multiple products and categories.
Through the course of the seminar I heard five key themes:
- Get inside the mind of your customer’s customer. Understand what is value to them, so you can better help your customer create value for their customer; to understand you need deep relationships - ask yourself are we really close enough to our customers;
- Seek to balance control and collaboration in the ecosystem - not everyone needs to control or create a ecosystem. Sometimes you have to accept you are part of one and the best you can do is seek to influence
- Think about creating win-win-win across the ecosystem to drive change;
- Learn from your experience, codify it and share it; and
- Think about solutions - SKF has created solutions factories where they can work with customers to solve their problems. Using your own ideas and technology collaboratively with the customer is a great way of getting inside their minds and building a deep relationship with them.