Aston launches new programme designed to meet industry needs

30th November 2015

Innovation through services (servitization) is a rapidly-growing trend in industry. 62% of global manufacturing and technology businesses expect to be competing through services innovation by the year 2017*.

Yet most universities are still to catch up with this trend and provide students with the requisite knowledge to get ahead in this changing industry landscape.

Aston Business School however, is perfectly positioned to address this growing trend as home to the Aston Centre for Servitization Research and Practice. The Centre is the world’s first and only centre dedicated entirely to understanding and promoting servitization within the global market. Servitization is the process by which a manufacturer changes its business model to provide a holistic solution to the customer, rather than just engaging in a single transaction, helping the customer to improve its competitiveness.For 2016, Aston has launched its MSc Services Innovation, a course which will prepare graduates to work for any business attempting this transformation and entering into the services market.

Drawing on cutting-edge research and industry-leading practice, the programme is designed to meet the needs both of recent graduates and those already in employment. It will be taught by a faculty which incorporates researchers, practitioners and industry leaders who all have a unique depth of knowledge and experience of the models, frameworks and practical requirements of this business model transformation for industry. Modules will be taught by a team that is actively researching and working in partnership with companies such as Xerox and MAN Truck and Bus who are actively innovating through services.

The result is a course that delivers specific knowledge in services innovation, along with a range of professional skills such as:

  • ·Knowledge and understanding of the theories, principles and underlying concepts and practice of business models and processes in a national and international context.
  • ·An understanding of strategic decision-making within organizations.
  • ·The ability to critically assess business and management problems.
  • ·The ability to discuss key theories and concepts of innovation through services strategies

Professor Tim Baines, a globally-renowned authority on the subject of servitization and Director of the Centre, will be teaching on the course. He said:

“Our Research Centre has developed relationships with both large and small manufacturers that have fostered the growth of some fantastic new business opportunities. Now we have a really exciting opportunity to develop education programmes that will further increase the competence and capabilities of both individuals and organisations.”

The launch of this new course is part of the Centre’s threefold mission which includes an aim to develop leaders across the globe with the skills to drive business transformation. Students taking the course will have the opportunity to learn through case studies and lectures by industry guest speakers as well as projects with industry partners.

Des Evans, former CEO of Man Truck & Bus UK Ltd, was the catalyst for introducing this new model within his business, which subsequently became one of the country’s leading providers of advanced after sales and fleet management services for the haulage industry. Now an Honorary Professor with Aston Business School, he says

“Servitization is a way of demonstrating points of differentiation from the competition and enables businesses to sell on the basis of the products value as opposed to its features.

Servitization can move a business model from a transactional base to a consultative base, with associated increase in turnover and profit, but this transformation also has implication with regard to the culture, organisational structures , reward and recognition systems , all of which will need careful management.”

Talking about the MSc Services Innovation, Des said:

“Corporate change management is big business for many organisations as they grapple with new products, new technology and new competition on a global basis.

Managing this change, however, is arguably the biggest management and leadership challenge there is. I am convinced that graduates of this course will become equipped with the necessary knowledge and experience to really make a difference.”

* According to Oxford Economics/ PTC Proving the Service Continuum

For more information, please contact Katy Lewis, Aston Business School, at k.a.lewis@aston.ac.uk or explore the MSc course page.