Servitization for consumer products: an empirical exploration of challenges and benefits for supply chain partners

Melanie E. Kreye*, Dirk Pieter van Donk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To increase sustainability of their products and enable new business opportunities, manufacturers explore servitization in consumer markets. Yet, the literature has not addressed this development. This study is one of the first to investigate the challenges and benefits for manufacturers and their supply chains when engaging in business-to-consumer (B2C) servitization. Design/methodology/approach: The study explores two unique cases of manufacturers of complex consumer products that aim to extend their service offerings to the end-users. Data were collected via semi-structured interviews, observations and secondary data. Findings: First, the authors identify two factors as prerequisites for a servitized set-up: internal collaboration within the manufacturer and product characteristics (e.g. product complexity). Second, the authors identify the network as an important factor for B2C servitization, which includes the triadic set-up between manufacturer, installer and consumer. Third, the authors identify moderating institutional settings, such as regulations and consumer needs. Originality/value: This research elaborates existing B2B servitization theory into an empirically informed theoretical framework for B2C contexts. It expands the view on servitization by introducing the network perspective to service a large number of geographically dispersed customers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-516
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge the Special Issue editors? contribution to this paper through their insightful and constructive comments throughout the review process. The authors also acknowledge contribution of Julia Frielink and Rasmus Peter Osterlund for data collection.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Business-to-consumer
  • Case study
  • Circular economy
  • Consumer products
  • Servitization
  • Sustainability
  • Triads

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