| Worksheet W02 - Preparatory company questionnaire|
|Table of Contents|
|2. Putting into Practice|
|4. Software, templates and other support|
|5. Call on Resources|
|6. Literature, examples and background information|
The objective of this tool that is up to acquire basic information on the current situation of the company is to get clear whether and why a company should use MEPSS methodology, which elements of the methodology it could use, and what problems the PSS methodology should solve.
2.1 When and why should this tool be used?
This tool should be used to prepare the start of the PSS innovation development process, and the start of the application of the MEPSS methodology. By making an overview of the initial issues at stake and problems of a company, it will become easier to identify which parts of MEPSS are relevant for the company. To serve and motivate a company that is willing to innovate, it is important to start the innovation process from the company's needs and questions. This questionnaire tries to identify the company's needs. On the basis of the results of the questionnaire a consultant/or internal person to the company may prepare a first workshop in an optimal way.
Before involving companies in using MEPSS, a good preparation of the involved business people and of a the MEPSS consultant or internal person leading MEPSS is important. Therefore, the collection of basic information is required. This implies collection of information on current problems and questions of the company related to innovation and service transformation, and on the current situation of a company. Indeed, companies may be at any stage of innovation and PSS development, and this determines which part of the MEPSS methodology they need.
2.2 Who should use this tool?
Consultants (or the PSS champion) who want to attract interest for the MEPSS methodology should use this tool. Using this tool provides the opportunity to gain a good briefing on the company. For answering the questionnaire, the involved company management and the “PSS champion” responsible project leader are needed.
3.1 How should this tool be used?
Before planning and carrying out the other steps of the methodology, basic information on the company needs to be gathered. This implies collection of information on the current situation of the company, on current issues at stake, on problems encountered and the stage of (PSS) innovation the company is in. This makes it possible to identify the relevant phase of the MEPSS methodology to be implemented.
The tool is a questionnaire that consists of some overarching questions and a set of more detailed questions. A consultant or the PSS champion should use this questionnaire in a face-to-face interview with one or two top managers of the company.
The main overarching questions are:
- What are the current problems of the company? What motives for innovation does the company have?
- What stage of PSS-innovation or service transformation is the company in?
- What need for information and knowledge on sustainable PSS-innovation and service transformation does the company have?
- What are the company conditions (in terms of time and money) for the innovation process?
Explanation of the overarching questions
What are the current problems of the company? What motives for innovation does the company have? Do changes in the company, market or society ask for innovation and a new strategy?
The following kind of problems may be starting point for the wish to innovate: eg. lack of new product ideas, impossibility of continuing to innovate in the usual way, restricting regulation (environmental, social etc) asks for new innovation ideas, loss of market share, too many competitors make a new kind of innovation necessary, too small profit margin requires new kinds of innovation, very small market penetration, lack of client loyalty, loss of social acceptance of product.
Does the company have this kind of problem, or other problems? The company should explain the starting point for the wish to innovate and to develop a PSS.
What stage of PSS-innovation or service transformation is the company in?
Answers to these kinds of questions make clear where to start in the MEPSS methodology and which steps are necessary or not.
- Is the company already aware of strong and weak points as to market positions etc, client satisfaction etc
- Does the company know new innovation opportunities?
- Does the company know which innovation opportunities service transformation provides to their company?
- Does the company know with whom (other companies, such as service providers) to cooperate in order to develop a PSS
- Does the company know its target group?
- Does the company know the social acceptance of the current offer and of new offer ideas?
What need for information and knowledge on sustainable PSS-innovation and service transformation does the company have?
Answers to these kinds of questions make clear which elements of MEPSS methology and theory the company needs
- Does the company know how to communicate PSS innovations?
- Does the company know how to improve customer acceptance of the new offer?
- Does the company know how to assess the environmental impact of the offer?
- Does the company know rules of thumb for market success
What are the company conditions (in terms of time and money) and requirements for the innovation process?
After having determined the issue(s) that the company wants to address in executing a PSS development process, it is good to make explicit what level of detail and elaboration the company expects as to a certain issue or tool.
For that purpose the following checklist has been developed. It attempts to identify what expectations and demands companies have with regard to the level of detail of MEPSS results. The following checklist also aims at agreement on time and resources for the PSS development procedures. Instead of pre-formulated question (closed questions) one can use open questions (without answer categories).
Table 7: Answers to these questions will be fed into the preparation of a first stakeholder workshop.
|Input data - type, quality
What level of detail do you deem necessary regarding data in the process of developing a PSS?
- High level: case-specific detailed information
- Medium level: case-specific global information / detailed information applicable to PSS in general
- Low level: generic data applicable to PSS in general
|Output data - type, quality / Result / objective
||What do you see as the most important (desired) outcome of the PSS development process?
|PSS specific nature
Would you consider (e.g. customer analysis) in the framework of PSS development:
- New element, specific for the development of a PSS
- Existing element on a product under development to be adapted for PSS
- Existing element on a product development that can directly be used for PSS
|Required resources (time, cost, people involved, training)
How much effort would your company be willing to allocate (within the framework of developing a project service system):
- No effort
- 1-5 person-days
- 5-20 person-days
- 20-50 person-days
- > 50 person-days
How do you wish to apply the tools:
- During workshop
- As homework
- Train people internally to use the tools
Identification of relevant issues
This list of issues is only indicative. It can be used to pinpoint issues of particular interest to the company and help to select the right MEPSS tools to implement:
- Property issues
- Involvement of potential clients partners, NGO’s, other stakeholders
- Finding the right market segment
- Expanding the market share
- Finding promising markets
- Exploring customer needs
The result is an image of the situation of departure for the innovation process. This means an image of the current problems and changes that are the initial starting points for PSS innovation. The result is insight in the necessary and useful MEPSS-elements for the company. It is clear where to start in the MEPSS methodogy and what the knowledge need is.
3.3 Input needed/ data required/ data acquisition process
The best input at this stage is oral information of the top management on the company’s strategies and future options.
This may be complemented by the collection of publicly available information on the company: company’s annual reports, project plans and other relevant material.
4.2 Templates and other support
5.1 Personnel and time needed
This tool would be used during a two or three hours meeting or interview. Collection of the additional background information takes one day’s work.
6.1 Methodological References
Excerpt from different publication of Frederic Vester and Robert Wimmer’s and Wilma Aart’s experience.