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Integrating products and services through life: an aerospace experience

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journal contribution
posted on 2009-04-06, 10:22 authored by Stewart Johnstone, Andrew Dainty, Adrian Wilkinson
Purpose: Explores the evolution of ‘product-service’ (P-S) strategies in the aerospace sector. Despite the widespread perception that aerospace organisations are advanced in terms of P-S integration, little is known about the realities of P-S provision in the sector. Much of the existing literature is normative and prescriptive, focusing upon what organisations aspire to do, but offers little insights into how attempts to integrate products and services occur or the challenges organisations encounter. Design/methodology/approach: Presents an in-depth case study of an international aerospace Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), referred to as ‘JetCo’. A total of 18 interviews were conducted with key actors involved in the operationalisation of P-S strategy within defence aerospace and civil aerospace divisions. In addition, analysis of internal company documentation was also undertaken. Findings: Reveals that current P-S strategy, which builds upon a long history of service offerings, initially evolved separately in each division in response to the particular markets in which they operate. However, there was evidence of a corporate-wide strategy for P-S provision being developed across divisions to improve co-ordination. This was founded on the recognition that P-S delivery requires the development of a stronger customer orientation, better knowledge and information management strategies, and the engagement of employees. A key challenge concerned integrating the product and service parts of the business to ensure consistent delivery of a seamless value offering to customers. Research limitations/implications: The research is limited to a single case organisation in the aerospace sector, and as such the findings are not necessarily generalisable to other contexts. Nevertheless, the research provides important insights into the organisational challenges of P-S provision, and as such the findings are of interest to researchers, managers and policymakers across industries involved in P-S provision. Originality/value: The paper offers fresh empirical evidence into the development of P-S in an organisation drawn from a sector often flagged as an exemplar of P-S provision, and provides insights into the complex realities of P-S implementation and delivery. Notably, it highlights the challenge of attempting to embed an organisation-wide ‘service culture’ in pursuit of integrated P-S delivery, and questions the nostrums and overly simplistic models which pervade the current solutions discourse.


Project funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council: Grant Numbers EP/C534220/1 and RES-331-27-0006.



  • Business and Economics


  • Business


JOHNSTONE, S., DAINTY, A.R.J. and WILKINSON, A., 2009. Integrating products and services through life: an aerospace experience. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 29 (5), pp. 520-538


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This article was published in the International Journal of Operations & Production Management [© Emerald Group Publishing Limited] and the definitive version is available at: www.emeraldinsight.com/10.1108/01443570910953612




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