Product Service Systems

Product designers typically design products for sale. Their aim is to provide high value goods at low production cost, and maximise the customers rate of consumption in order to provide high profits. Inevitably this results in consumer’s needs not being met, poor value for money and vast wasting of material resources. Product Service Systems (PSS) are not a new idea but if used intelligently can offer significant benefits to all parties. A typical PSS involves lending a product to a customer while selling them a service. For example, the manufacturer might manufacture photocopiers and loan them to businesses who then pay for the service of photocopying. The customer gets good value for money by only paying for the service that they want, and need not worry about maintenance of the copier, which is taken care of by the manufacturer. The manufacturer never loses ownership of the copier and the business is no longer tied to manufacturing and selling photocopiers. They have an incentive to maximise the life of their products and and re-manufacture/recycle old or broken models.

Pros: Reduced consumption of materials and reduced disposal of products
Cons: Poorly designed systems can encouraged increase use of energy consuming products
Pros: Reduced overheads increase profit margins while service contracts ensure secure, predictable long term revenues
Cons: Slower payback on product manufacture and development compared to sake of products
Pros: Better value for money and higher quality service
Cons: Customers tied to continuous charges for services. Some people prefer ownership of products even if more expensive.