ASU Center for Organization Research and Design

Leveraging the Sustainability Potential of Mass Customization Through Product Service Systems in the Consumer Electronics Industry

by Stephan Hankammer; Frank Steiner

May 14, 2015

Companies experience an increasing importance for implementing sustainability concerns into their processes and product offerings. In the consumer electronics industry, traditional manufacturing-focused initiatives to minimize the environmental impacts of products are currently still far from satisfactory. The European research project SMC-Excel aims at enhancing the ecological sustainability in the consumer electronics industry through the integration of new business models based on the ideas and concepts of mass customization. In this paper, first insights of the project revealed during a Business Model Innovation workshop are presented. The main hypothesis derived in this workshop – the suitability of product service systems as a lever for the sustainability potential of mass customization– is discussed with the help of an analysis of the state-of-the-art literature on product service systems and mass customization. The paper concludes that the combination of mass customization patterns and product service system patterns carries a significant potential to foster the environmental sustainability of the full business model, but that this potential is highly context dependent. The insights of this paper set up the basis for further empiric research in the consumer electronics industry.