This year’s Spring Servitization Conference (SSC) felt very different. Not only because it was held in beautiful Florence, the home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture, but also it was the first year that the community got together in-person after almost three years. We all had missed the great feeling of an in-person event: the hum of excited attendees, the buzz of interactive panels, and the energy of a packed room.
This year’s conference was in collaboration with the Universities of Florence and Brescia. Yet again, and similar to the past couple of years, we followed our established format of ‘single stream’ where all contributors presented their research to the whole audience and engaged in both structured and semi-structured panel sessions to discuss their work. We accommodated 35 academic presentations, 3 industrial keynotes, and more than 60 delegates.
The theme of this year focused on an important and timely topic of ‘Achieving net-zero through Servitization’. In addition to obvious reasons for selecting this significant theme was the fact that research into the impact of servitization on the environmental performance of a firm is limited. Although early works on servitization drew on research about Product-Service System (PSS) and targeted environmental sustainability, less attention has been given to the topic lately despite the changing wider environmental context. Only a handful of recent studies have highlighted the environmental impacts, for instance how servitization drives manufacturers to change products’ designs to extend their lifetime and, so reduce waste; or how it can lead to improved resource/asset efficiency through improved maintenance. Moreover, such contributions largely tend to be based on conceptual frameworks and anecdotal case studies. Therefore, we decided to centre the theme around this topic.
There were papers presented by academics from UK, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Japan, USA, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden, Brazil and Finland. Although we had very good presentations and relevant discussions on how servitization could and should support firms to address their net-zero targets, we are still at the beginning of the road on this journey to establish the full picture, both from the theoretical and practical perspectives.
As well as the academic panels, we had three great industrial keynotes from Paolo Mauri (Customer Care Director, Electrolux Professional), Tim Foreman (European R&D Manager, OMRON Europe) and Gabriele Tonini (Customer Experience Manager, Leonardo).
All being well, we are planning to go to Helsinki, Finland for SSC2023 with the University of Vaasa and Marko Kohtamäki. Looking forward to yet another great conference next year!