Article in Press: Servitization, digitization and supply chain interdependency

Ferran Vendrell-Herrero, Oscar F. Bustinza, Glenn Parry, Nikos Georgantzis

Available in Industrial Marketing Management


This study draws on literature at the intersection of servitization, digital business models and supply chain management. Work empirically explores how digital disruption has affected Business-to-Business (B2B) interdependencies. Dematerialization of physical products is transforming the way firms are positioned in the supply chain due to a reduction in production and transport costs and the different ways business engage with customers. Specifically, we propose that these new market conditions can empower downstream firms. We further propose that upstream firms can still capture additional value through digital service if their servitized offer includes difficult to imitate elements. The context of the analysis is the publishing industry. The Payment Card method employed is used to test UK and US consumer’s perceptions of digital formats (eBooks) and assess their willingness to pay in relation to printed formats. The method undertaken enables us to elicit aggregated consumer demand for eBooks which in turn identifies optimal pricing strategies for the digital services. Analysis demonstrates that during digital servitization upstream firms should seek to deploy unique resources to ensure their strategic position in the supply chain is not diminished.

“Digitisation, Integrated Solutions and Organisational Commitment”

Unioncamere del Veneto (Via delle Industrie 19/d – 30175 Venezia, Italia)

September 12, 2016

digitisation-integrated-solutions-and-organisational-commitment-2After collecting data from 1,400 manufacturing firms in the Veneto region preliminary results were presented in the Unioncamere del Veneto venue.

This data collection process is part of an extensive quantitative analysis of the phenomenon of servitization in this region. The event was well-attended, and practitioners and researchers from various institutions engaged in the discussion on how digital technologies and service business models can foster manufacturing competitiveness.

This was an exciting outcome of the fruitful collaboration between MAKERS participants involved in this study, including researchers from the university of Birmingham, the University of Granada, Unioncamere del Veneto and Ca’ Foscari University. This is hopefully the beginning of a series of studies on the topic.

“Servitization Processes and Digital Manufacturing: The Veneto Case Study”

 Ca’ Foscari University (Dorsoduro, 3246, 30123 Venezia, Italia)

September 30, 2016

oscar-bustinza2Six months of Oscar Bustinza’s secondment on Unioncemere del Veneto came to an end on September 30th. As a final wrap up activity Ca’Foscari University organized a seminar in which the main findings were presented and discussed. In addition to MAKERS´ researchers, faculty members and postgraduate students of Ca’Focari attended the seminar. Furthermore, Unioncamere del Veneto gave a kind and warm goodbye to Oscar Bustinza with coffee and cakes.


Learn more:


Meeting on Local Development – Edition 2016

Places, networks and actors of change. Digital manufacturing, alternative finance, new territorial scenarios

From 21 to 23 November 2016, Prato Textile Museum, Italy (in Italian)

The conference is a forum promoted since the 1991 in Tuscany (Italy) for exchanging ideas and results, between academics and practitioners, on national and international perspectives of local development, industrial districts and clusters, and related themes.  The 2016 will host a Session on the “New manufacturing and local development”, organised in collaboration with the “Makers” project, the University of Birmingham, the Fondazione per la Ricerca e l’Innovazione, the University of Florence and the University of Venice.

The session will present the Makers project, focusing in particular on the perspectives of manufacturing recovery led by systems of SMEs, like those typical of the Italian industry, in face of the present-day challenges. These include the effects of the long economic crisis, the relation with Industry 4.0, the trends of re-shoring and near-shoring in the global the value chains, the innovation processes supported by the exchange of knowledge with universities, the identification of new jobs. Guidelines for public policies and private investment strategies will be discussed considering also the increased uncertainty in market horizons, technological trajectories, and institutional structures.

Chair and introduction: Marco Bellandi, University of Florence.


Dr Ferran Vendrell-Herrero presents his research at the University of Granada

During his secondment in Galdon Software (Spain) Dr Ferran Vendrell-Herrero has engaged with the strong academic community at the faculty of business and economics at the University of Granada (Spain). Based on this growing and warm collaboration the past November 4th he was invited to present his research on “service innovation and firm internationalization” to the students of the master in economics, as well as various faculty members. The seminar stimulated the academic debate between attendants, and strengthened the research connections between University of Birmingham and University of Granada.

Is EU manufacturing ready for industry 4.0?

Thursday 13th October 2016, Brussels

In 2015 the EU Commission (DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs) and the European Parliament started raising awareness that a new manufacturing model was emerging: this is referred to as Industry 4.0 or smart manufacturing. Technological change, digitalisation and a new demand are driving a ‘production organisation revolution’ that is redefining the nature or the manufacturing sector and its contribution to the wider economy.

Industry 4.0 is argued to mean more servitised and customised manufacturing goods and the pervasive exploitation of key enabling technology across all sectors. Industry 4.0 offers a unique opportunity to upgrade EU industrial capabilities, to reshore and anchor competences and functions in the EU and to repopulate advanced industry systems across regions to secure jobs and prosperity. Speakers have discussed what it means and what it will take to align EU manufacturing sectors to Industry 4.0.


Prof Lisa De Propris (Birmingham Business School)

Prof Patrizio Bianchi (Regione Emilia Romagna, Italy)

Prof Steffen Kinkel (Karlsruhe University, Germany)

Prof David Bailey at NUS in Singapore: Meeting the GPN@NUS Group

I met faculty, post-docs and PhD researchers of the Global Production Network Centre at the National University of Singapore (NUS) at their research seminars and regular GPN meetings. This dynamic group of researchers spans Geography, Economics, Sociology, and Political Science at NUS. They are interested in studying global production and economic development, in particular in East Asia; it is directed jointly by Professor Henry Yeung and Professor Neil Coe from the Department of Geography. Visit their website for info:

On-going projects, fieldwork and activities of the GPN Centre were discussed, as well as the MAKERS project. The GPN Centre is looking forward kicking off collaborations with all MAKERS partners.  In a number of meetings with Henry and Neil, we talked about avenues for joint collaborations, secondments and engagement.

While in Singapore, I worked on a number of papers relating to WP4 (reshoring) and WP6 (industrial policy) – see secondment report. I also met local policymakers to discuss industrial policy, and wrote a MAKERS blog on the testing of driverless cars in Singapore, see:

While at NUS, I gave a joint MAKERS – GPN seminar entitled “Brexit, UK automotive and implications for industrial policy”.  Abstract below, followed by some photos of the event:

Abstract: The UK’s automotive industry has been seen as one of the ‘star performers’ of the UK economy in recent years – unlike most other manufacturing sectors. Output has increased by 60% since 2010 and there has been over £8bn worth of investment in the industry in the last four years. The industry supports some 800,000 jobs in the UK. The industry is seen as having benefitted from EU membership. So what might Brexit mean for the UK automotive sector, and in turn for industrial policy in the UK? This presentation considers short run impacts, before turning to the impact of uncertainty on foreign direct investment inflows and then the nature of a possible trading relationship. Some concluding thoughts highlight the need for a renewed industrial policy to support UK auto and manufacturing.