The Advanced Services Group is a centre of excellence at Aston Business School, Aston University in the UK. We provide education, training, research and a global network of like-minded professionals around advanced services and servitization. We work help global manufacturers and technology innovators to develop services-led strategies.
Professor and Executive Director
Ali Ziaee Bigdeli
Ali’s research interests lie in the operational and organisational change brought about when businesses intend to introduce technological innovations to the market. His research explores how servitization helps a business to bring its products to market, expand the scale of its operations and increase financial sustainability, and the business model innovation that is required to enable this.
Andreas’ research and teaching interests lie in the systems and strategies needed to help businesses grow through the use of information technology (IT). His interest in servitization focuses on the value from the data that accumulates as part of the service provision.
Daniel is a key member of the research team on our EPSRC-funded project, Gamification for Servitization. His expertise lies in the use of visual, interactive and/or digital tools and programmes to capture and display stories.
Daniel is also experienced in the conceptualisation, design and creation of multimedia games. He teaches a number of programmes and courses on business games and gamification for industry.
Senior Project Manager
Gill manages our research projects and is Industry Liaison Manager for our EPSRC funded Digitally Enhanced Advanced Services (DEAS)Network Plus. She is an experienced manager, who has worked in a number of manufacturing industries and in several research management postings in leading UK universities.
Kawal's expertise lies in the diffusion of innovations, both product and social innovations. She works on publications related to various strands of Servitization. Presently, Kawal is working on clarifying the concept of platforms, and exploring their possible association with business models that incorporate the element of Servitization.
Senior Partnerships Manager
Eleanor manages our business partnerships and communities, most notably the Advanced Services Partnership, a network of like-minded senior executives from global manufacturing businesses.
Industrial Fellow and Commercial Director
Ian's expertise, developed throughout his 30 years working with manufacturing businesses, are in supply chain, strategy and continuous improvement. An experienced university industrial fellow, Ian leads our advisory services, including organisational development workshops, executive education and commissioned projects.
Director of Programmes
Iain is responsible for building relationships with industry and for securing government funding to improve the level of industrial / strategic engagement with servitization and advanced services.
Business Engagement and Programme Director
Paula leads the Group’s SME business support projects, funded by the European Union (ERDF). Working to support up to 185 companies in the Black Country, Birmingham and Solihull, the projects provide manufacturing SMEs with unique access to ASG’s tools and expertise to improve performance and stimulate growth through the introduction of advanced services.
Danny is the Programme Manager for the ERDF funded project ‘Advanced Services Growth'. The role focuses on working with senior executives, from manufacturing SMEs in the Black Country Local Enterprise partnership region, to help them transform their businesses through the adoption of advanced services and servitization.
Business Engagement Coordinator
Jill brings her extensive project support experience to our SME programme, managing events and relationships with partner organisations to promote servitization to the business and academic communities.
Industrial Fellow and Business Development Manager
Parikshit specialises in the development and innovation of business models for advanced services and holds a PhD in digitally-enabled servitization. With experience of participating in Innovate UK projects, he also runs organisational development workshops and commissioned projects as part of our advisory services.
Marketing and Communications Partner
Kristina manages our Marketing and Communications, promoting the work, research and programmes of the Advanced Services Group to engage with the business, manufacturing and academic communities.
Honorary Professors and Industrial Fellows
Honorary Professor | Advanced Services Partnership Co-Chair
Jim is Honorary Professor at Aston Business School and Editor in Chief of Research-Technology Management, a peer-reviewed journal for practitioners of innovation, technology and research management. He was previously Vice President of Global Innovation at Goodyear Tyre & Rubber Company, where he led the development of new businesses and helped launch businesses on three continents.
Des Evans OBE
Honorary Professor | Product Manager
Des, former Managing Director of MAN Truck & Bus UK Ltd is a passionate advocate of servitization in the transport industry. Together with the UK MAN Team, he transformed the business model of MAN Truck & Bus UK Ltd and helped the company become one of the country’s leading providers of advanced after sales and fleet management services for the haulage industry. His knowledge of what does and doesn’t work in practice, as well as tools, techniques and tips for implementing services strategies are key assets to the Centre’s work with industry.
Honorary Professor | Engineering Associate Fellow at Rolls Royce
Andrew has been a leading figure for 15 years in Rolls Royce’s ongoing development of advanced services offerings. He is an expert in how services requirements and principles should inform the design and engineering of aircraft engines in order to both optimise the service delivery to customers and also make the provision of services profitable and sustainable for the manufacturer.
Honorary Professor | Managing Director at Alstom
Michael played a pivotal role in the introduction of advanced services contracts to Alstom and he is a key ambassador for advanced services within the rail industry. Michael’s expertise in managing the complex organisational and technological pathway for an organisation to offer advanced services successfully is an invaluable benefit to our partners in other industries.
Senior Industrial Fellow
Sandra has over 15 years’ commercial experience and proven track record of supporting companies to grow. Having spent two years as the Programme Manager for the Advanced Services Growth programme she has specialist knowledge of advanced services and servitization in the manufacturing sector. She holds an MBA from Aston University and supports our advisory services, including organisational development workshops, executive education and commissioned projects, particularly in Europe.
Senior Industrial Fellow | CEO at Tactile Technology
Lee is the CEO of IT services companyTactile Technology. He started his career as a Flight Simulation Engineer in the Royal Air Force. He then moved into mainstream technology for vendors such as IBM and Sun Microsystems before starting his own business in 2004. In his words, ‘Throughout my time in technology two key things have driven me, Innovation and Disruption. I have always worked with highly innovative technologies and ones with the ability to disrupt, providing a major and positive impact on the organisations adopting them.'
Senior Industrial Fellow
Katja is a sustainability transitions expert with over ten years of inter-disciplinary project experience. She specialises in organisational change management and industrial development for sustainability. Katja holds a PhD in Management, a MSc in Environmental Management and Policy and a MA (Hons) in Town and Regional Planning. Based in Zurich, Katja supports the ASG advisory services, including organisational development workshops, executive education and commissioned projects.
Senior Industrial Fellow | Membership Director at Make UK
Charlotte’s role at Make UK, the largest voice supporting UK manufacturing, is to engage Make UK’s members and assist them in advancing as a manufacturer by providing bespoke introductions, providing industry insight and ensuring their views are heard. She also engages with regional stakeholders ensuring manufacturers’ interests are represented to LEPs, the West Midlands Combined Authority, Midlands Engine and the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Combined Authority.
Senior Industrial Fellow | Chair of the SME Roundtable | MD at UV Light Technology
Paul is founder and Managing Director of UV Light Technology Limited who manufacture ultra-violet light equipment for a wide range of industrial, healthcare and food applications. He is also the chairman of the SME Transformation Round Table.
Recent exposure to leading academic practice encouraged him to start a new journey on the Executive DBA programme at Aston University. His doctoral studies are based on servitization and he is a member of the Advanced Services Group Research Team.
Senior Industrial Fellow
Neil acts as the bridge between partner organisations and the research team. An engineer by training, he has enjoyed leadership roles in manufacturing and operations across many industries from utilities to FMCG in a variety of organisations including SMEs and large multi-nationals. He has a particular interest in how open collaboration leads to sustainable value.
Senior Industrial Fellow
Greg has over 25 years of experience in manufacturing and manufacturing services, most recently as Senior Director, Service Excellence at Thermo King, the global leader in transport refrigeration and heating for trailers, trucks, buses, rail cars and shipboard containers (part of Trane Technologies). Greg has significant experience of successful leadership of service businesses and servitization initiatives, and has won numerous career awards from Trane including the President's Award for Growth, The Presidents Award for operational Excellence in Service (twice) and the Chairman's Award for Operational Excellence.
Visiting Industrial Fellow | Managing Director at MNB Precision
Luke is Managing Director of MNB Precision Ltd, a Birmingham manufacturer. He has made significant changes to his business as a result of his work with Advanced Services Group. Luke is a passionate advocate of the work of Aston Business School and it is fitting that he joins us as a Visiting Industrial Fellow to be able to share his experiences more widely with the Aston community.
Visiting Industrial Fellow | MOE Business Development Manager at MTC
Stefan is the MOE Business Development Manager at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC). Operating across the West Midlands, Stefan’s role brings him into daily contact with manufacturing SMEs and he spends the majority of his time helping them to reduce waste and improve productivity. Stefan was the first Visiting Industrial Fellow to join the Advanced Services Group and, given his significant manufacturing experience and knowledge, he brings a wealth of expertise to Aston Business School.