One of the chapters I am covering in a trend report I am working on (As a Service Trend) will explain how even tangible products can be open to “servicification” and purchased or subscribed to. For example, razors for personal grooming, cars for transport, fork lifts for logistics, etc.
This post lays out the key premises for the chapter and some of the research I will be referencing.
Lets start with an explanation and borrow shamelessly to do that, because why reinvent the wheel. And besides, the point of the trend report is to show that others are thinking the same thing 😉
That quote really does encapsulate rather neatly this sub trend. If you follow the link in the citation you can read more about how Deloitte see this playing out. What you will discover is an important distinction that needs to be made – that between industrial and consumer product companies.
The industrial consumer divide
As you can imagine, it would be rather simpler to “servicify” a product in the consumer category than in the industrial one. That is because of the nature and complexity of the product in each category. For industrial products it will be rather more complex. The buyer is different too. Rather than an individual or small group (like a family) making the decision, it is an organisation that will make a decision for industrial products.
On the consumer side, although you will still have to think about some of the after sales services that the industrial company does, they still wont be as complex.
Taking a product like a razor and offering it to customers “As a Service” will be a lot easier than offering a car on the same basis. On the former there are now many offerings, kickstarted by the wildly popular Dollar Shave Club.
Now look at the automotive industry, as I have done more than once. Here is an article from McKinsey which documents their view on how the European car industry needs to change to become a Mobility (as a Service) company. One of the topics they cover is how the industry needs to move from a product to a service centric model. But you will also find there are many other complex considerations needed for transformation.
Complexity notwithstanding, this has not prevented automotive companies from trying to offer their products as services. See further down for where I have documented announcements in this area.
The product service divide
There is some blurring in this area too, even confusion. This article (From Products to Services?) does a really good job of clarifying the distinction between products and services, even an incorrect distinction.
These days the distinction doesn’t hold as much water as a “product is, in fact, a variable number of goods and/or services bundled together as a value proposition offer”.
The emphasis in the quote from the article above is mine and intended to convey the different meaning to “product” that is explained. Product in this sense, as a good, is just a physical attribute in a broader offering alongside service elements.
Which is a great segue to introduce an important service concept which is Service-Dominant (S-D) logic (an alternative theoretical framework for explaining value creation). S-D logic has a focus on service and steers attention to the process, patterns, and benefits of exchange, rather than the units of output that are exchanged (e.g. goods).
As a Service trend updates
If you want to learn or know about the many companies making decisions and announcements about their move to this new service (some call it subscription) oriented economy, check out the posts below. And if you subscribe (see what I did there 😁) you will forever be kept up to date.
- 150 Million reasons the subscription economy is real , 2020
- Update on As A Service Trends , 2019
- Update on As a Service Trends
- Update on As a Service Trends