Product-Service Systems | 7.5 ECTS | PhD course

Product-Service Systems | 7.5 ECTS | PhD course

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For PhD candidates

The courses gives 7.5 ECTS and you will get course certificate including theory on the background to PSS and methods and tools to move towards a circular economy reasoning.

For executive education (industry)

You can receive a diploma (and ECTS), and will get theoretical background to PSS and its role in industrial development, together with a toolbox to adress PSS in your organisational strategy.


A Product-Service System (PSS) is an integrated combination of products and services. This concept embraces a service-led competitive strategy, environmental sustainability, and the basis to differentiate from competitors who simply offer lower priced products, moving into more value-based product offerings.

A PSS can be thought of as a market proposition that extends the traditional functionality of a product by incorporating additional services. Here the emphasis is on the ‘sale of use’ rather than the “sale of product”. The customer pays for using an asset, rather than its purchase, and so benefits from a restructuring of the risks, responsibilities, and costs traditionally associated with ownership. Similarly, the supplier/manufacturer can improve their competitiveness as these ‘solutions’ may be clearly differentiated from product-based offerings while simultaneously retaining asset ownership that can enhance utilization, reliability, design, and protection.

The concept of a PSS builds on sustainability. The underpinning expectation is that a pure PSS will have a lower environmental impact than, simply, a more traditional transaction where an enterprise manufactures products but then transfers responsibilities of ownership and use to the customer. An illustration of both the business and environmental benefits of a PSS is apparent in the Total-Care Package offered to airlines by Rolls-Royce plc. Here, rather than transferring ownership of the gas turbine engine to the airline, Rolls-Royce (R-R) delivers ‘power-by- the-hour’. The gas turbine technology is world leading and the spares and maintenance service they offer exemplary. Furthermore, as R-R maintains direct access to the asset they can collect data on product performance and use. Such data can then enable the improvement of performance parameters (for example, maintenance schedules etc.) to improve engine efficiency, improve asset utilization, and so reduce total costs and the environmental impact.

PSS is a potentially valuable concept for manufacturers based in developed economies. Manufacturing industries worldwide continue to undergo colossal change. Many traditional producers are increasingly challenged by countries with a low-cost labour base, with the survival of many European operations continuously in doubt, and the relocation of production facilities prolific.

PSS innovation and development is simplistically seen as the development efforts of making sure that the function that is the carrier of the PSS is being developed in a suitable way; taking care of the integrated service & artefact development processes.

Aim and goal

The course aims to give an overview of the current strategies, methods and tools related to the design and implementation of Product-Service Systems in industry, as well as to highlight current and future areas of research in the PSS field.

After the course, the successful participant should show the following abilities:

  • Know central pieces of literature within the PSS field, including main contents, area of applicability.
  • Be able to in detail discuss chosen product- and service oriented development theories.
  • Be able to apply methodologies supporting PSS development.
  • Be able to discuss trends and development needs within the area of PSS development.
  • Be knowledgeable in a research method approach applicable to PSS.

Course set-up

The course builds upon a number of central literature readings (se literature). In the course, PhD students’ team up (2-3 persons per team) and choose readings for deeper study with reference to own research focus. The group writes a short write-up on the reading that summarizes the parts of the methodology together with an analysis of the applicability in terms of fields, and advantages/disadvantages of the methodology. This work is also presented for the other groups.

A chosen “set” of methodologies/tools/methods are then applied to a suitable problem and documented in a case report. The results from the write-up and the case study are then presented for the entire class in order to compare and discuss the different methodologies.

Finally, every student writes a reflection report where a personal view on the development needs for the area are given and analyses the relation between the literature and the personal research field are done. If desired, the reflection report can be in paper form for dual use in the individual research process


A collection of relevant book chapters, research papers and other readings for each addressed topic will be handed out during the course. These will include the following:.

  • Aurich, J. C., Fuchs, C., & Wagenknecht, C. (2006). Life cycle oriented design of technical Product-Service Systems. Journal of cleaner production, 14(17), 1480- 1494.
  • Bertoni, A., Bertoni, M., Panarotto, M., Johansson, C., & Larsson, T. C. (2016). Value-driven product service systems development: Methods and industrial applications. CIRP Journal of Manufacturing Science and Technology, 15, 42-55.
  • Kjaer, L. L., Pigosso, D. C., Niero, M., Bech, N. M., & McAloone, T. C. (2019). Product/service‐systems for a circular economy: the route to decoupling economic growth from resource consumption?. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 23(1), 22-35.
  • Jagtap, S. (2019). Key guidelines for designing integrated solutions to support development of marginalised societies. Journal of Cleaner Production, 219, 148-165.
  • Pirola, F., Boucher, X., Wiesner, S., & Pezzotta, G. (2020). Digital technologies in product-service systems: a literature review and a research agenda. Computers in Industry, 123, 103301. 
  • Tukker, A., & Tischner, U. (Eds.). (2017). New business for old Europe: product-service development, competitiveness and sustainability. Routledge.


A successful completion of this course will be judged on the successful submission and approval of the following assignments::

  • Approved write-up, and oral presentation of chosen literature
  • Approved application report (case study) including oral presentation
  • Approved reflection report
  • Approved opposition on another group presentation

Grading is Pass (G) or Fail (U).

Course examiner is Professor Tobias C. Larsson, and after completion of the course the participant will receive a course certificate.


The main teachers are (other experts in the field will be involved and invited):

  • Professor Tobias C. Larsson, Product Development, Blekinge Institute of Technology.
  • Assistant Professor Christian Johansson, Product Development, Blekinge Institute of Technology. 
  • Professor Marco Bertoni, Product Development, Blekinge Institute of Technology.
  • Associate Professor Alessandro Bertoni, Product Development, Blekinge Institute of Technology.
  • Associate Professor Santosh Jagtap, Product Development, Blekinge Institute of Technology.
  • Guest lecturers


The course intention is to organise two physical meetings to kickoff and conclude the course, together with eight online lectures with possibility to attend physically for the doctoral students located at Blekinge Institute of Technology.

  • L1_Product-Service Systems: drivers and key definition (Tobias Larsson). An introduction to the main trends, challenges, drivers, concepts and definitions for Product-Service Systems.
  • L2_PSS implementations in industry (Tobias Larsson) A review of successful (and less successful) industrial PSS implementations.
  • L3_Knowledge sharing for PSS design (Marco Bertoni) A review of how PSS impact the sharing of knowledge in the cross-functional engineering team.
  • L4_PSS Research Methodology (Alessandro Bertoni) A review of how the Design Research Methodology is used to provide rigor to the research in the PSS field.
  • L5_PSS as a business and innovation model (Christian Johansson Askling) A introduction to the business and innovation models underlying the PSS transition.
  • L6_PSS modelling and simulation (Marco Bertoni) A review of the most popular approaches and techniques to simulate PSS processes.
  • L7_SPSS for resource-limited societies (Santosh Jagtap) An introduction to the key guidelines for designing integrated solutions to support development of marginalized societies.
  • L8_Digital technologies for PSS (Giuditta Pezzotta) A review and a research agenda related to the introduction of digital technologies in the PSS domain.
  • L9_PSS vs. circular economy: similarities and differences (Daniela Pigosso) A discussion on how to decouple economic growth from resource consumption through PSS. .
  • L10_Case discussions and final presentation (Tobias Larsson)


For more information, please contact;

Tobias Larsson or Marco Bertoni



Categories: Education, Research