Support Service Solutions: Strategy and Transition

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Engineering


The service industries today represent over 70% of all employment in the USA and Europe and this figure is increasing at a significant rate. Even from within the manufacturing sector, organisations view a significant percentage of their efforts being service-related, and increasingly manufacturers are exploring strategies for evolving their product offerings into service-based ones. The overall vision for the research proposed is to establish an academic focus that will inform and lead the continued transformation of the UK economy towards increasing value generation from product related services. It will immediately benefit current practitioners, especially in aerospace and defence through the development and application of related research thinking, and provide a clear academic foundation to lead the development of capability increasingly critical to the UK economy.In April 2007, BAE Systems and EPSRC issued a call for expressions of interest and a proposal in the area of Support Service Engineering Solutions. The call was based on the urgent need to develop research thinking to underpin the transformation of the UK defence industry towards more efficient integrated service-oriented support solutions for complex engineering assets. New research, using both service science research and also strong foundations in manufacturing research as a base, is needed to guide and accelerate emerging practice, and to ensure that engineering and management aspects of this discipline are addressed in parallel with business and strategy issues. Whilst focussed on the defence sector imperative, the research and codification of best practice in integrated solutions is of interest to other sectors where producer manufacturers are looking to the value-add from product based support services such as Transportation, Automotive Services and Healthcare. The research is novel in that it takes a truly multi-disciplined stance in addressing service provision issues within industries underpinned by complex engineering systems.In order to address this growing industrial imperative in an effective manner, a programme divided into five sections / referred to as Work Packages / is proposed. Four Work Packages address issues of importance to the development of support service solutions and a fifth is focussed on ensuring a tight cohesion between the activities and on providing an overall direction for the field. The Work Packages are:WP1 / Organisation Transformation WP2 / Service Information Strategy WP3 / Risk & Cost Assessment WP4 / Combined Maintenance & Capability Enhancement WP5 / Integration & Co-ordinationLed by Professor Duncan McFarlane the programme draws on experienced academics from nine different universities and builds a future model for support service solutions from a multi-dimensional perspective. Programme Investigators:Prof Duncan McFarlane (University of Cambridge)Dr Nigel Caldwell (University of Bath) Dr Richard Curran (Queen's University) Prof Andrew Graves (University of Bath) Prof Michael Henshaw (University of Loughborough) Wg Cdr Chris Hockley RAF (Rtd) (Defence Academy)Prof Alison McKay (University of Leeds) Dr Irene Ng (University of Exeter) Dr. Ken Platts (University of Cambridge) Mr David Probert (University of Cambridge) Prof Rajkumar Roy (University of Cranfield) Dr. Ashutosh Tiwari (University of Cranfield)Prof Wenbin Wang (Salford University) The consortium will address technological, operational and strategic issues and using an integration activity to tie the work together in a comprehensive model. The research will simultaneously develop a blueprint for next-generation industrial service organisations and establish route maps for industrial organisations seeking to make a transition. It will also provide an academic base and leadership for the UK in a research field which is likely to grow significantly in the coming years.


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Carr M (2011) An approximate algorithm for prognostic modelling using condition monitoring information in European Journal of Operational Research

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De C. Henshaw M (2011) Identification of Induced Complexity in Product Service System Enterprises in Journal of Enterprise Transformation

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Kerr C (2008) Technology insertion in the defence industry: A primer in Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part B: Journal of Engineering Manufacture

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McFarlane D (2012) Modelling information requirements in complex engineering services in Computers in Industry

Description The project addressed many of the technical challenges manufacturers face as they move to providing support service solutions, particularly when guaranteeing the availability of equipment to customers. In particular, the project looked at what an affordable support service offering for availability contract should look like, and what type of organisation is required to deliver it. The project then looked at how traditional offerings and organisations can be migrated to hel p a company achieve th
Exploitation Route The research was directly relevant to manufacturers who are beginning to provide equipment based services, particularly those guaranteeing the availability of equipment. Exploitation of S4T research by industry was facilitated by two routes

A) Direct exploitation by the collaborating companies (BAE Systems and MBDA), both during the research and subsequently.

B) Through the EPSRC supported Knowledge transfer award "KT-Box", with BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Bombardier &IBM, plus 4
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Security and Diplomacy,Transport

Description Research has been incorporated into business plans and activity of BAE Systems. Broader outputs were applied in a variety of business sectors through the follow-on KT-Box programme.
First Year Of Impact 2010
Sector Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Education,Financial Services, and Management Consultancy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Transport
Impact Types Economic

Description BAE Systems 
Organisation BAE Systems
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
Start Year 2008
Description MBDA UK Ltd 
Organisation MBDA Missile Systems
Department MBDA UK Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
Start Year 2008