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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Studying at Cambridge

Wen Liu

Analysis of Sustainable Product Service Systems Within Chinese Manufacturing Industries.

Product services system (PSS) can be seen as a sustainable business model, which is a process of creating value by adding services to products. Sustainable PSS have significant potentials to deliver social benefit and economic prosperity as well as address environmental challenges. Many firms see sustainable PSS as an excellent vehicle that can simultaneously enhance their competitiveness, realize product value enhancement and foster sustainability. Furthermore, consultants and industry groups have made some considerable contributions regarding implementation of sustainability principles within the manufacturing industries. But there are still few academic contributions and empirical examples on this issue.  The overall research purpose is to gain a deep understanding of the barriers for implementation of sustainable PSS in China. It is also to investigate the tool available to provide company with a business-wide plan for the adoption of PSS. The aim thus is to explore the current situation of sustainable PSS adoption and make Chinese companies become more aware of the needs  of implementing sustainable PSS. Research methodology involves a combination of critical analysis of literature and a qualitative research study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with senior managers across various industrial sectors.  The results of the research showed that in China, the state-owned manufacturers are lack of understanding of servitization and PSS compared to private and multinational companies. They struggle to come up with new and creative ways to provide services for their customers. Chinese manufacturers face enormous cultural challenges and uncertainties about the impacts of servitization. They have unclear perspective about the transitional process towards servitization and fear about financial risks in the long term. Therefore, wider adoption of sustainable PSS in China is limited and there is still no guarantee that sustainable PSS will be widely adopted and become common in China. The findings suggested Chinese manufacturing firms carrying out a more effective plan to make a further attempt to implement sustainable PSS and reshape business models in Chinese manufacturing industries.


Keywords: Sustainability, Product Service Systems, Servitization, Manufacturing