Advances in technology have allowed significant increase in the complexity of human-created, heavily-engineered products and systems. Infrastructure projects, defence systems, chemical processing plants, mining and exploration, manufacturing, and supply chains are large-scale assets that require continuous services such as installation and commissioning, on-going support, mid-life upgrades, maintenance and repairs, throughout the life of the asset. However, due to rapid changes in the environment in which these complex engineered assets are operating, the services to these assets demand high agility and continuity. The services are often provided from several enterprises which are closely related but may not have the necessary technological, sociological or legal frameworks to enable them working as a coordinated conglomerate.
Complex engineered assets are expensive investments with high expectation from users in terms of reliable and sustainable performance. Provision of services and support to these assets should be made through a well designed, highly predictable service system that involves the integration of a broad range of skills from a number of engineering, business, finance and social disciplines. The core knowledge of operating the asset has to be amalgamated with technical knowledge that is specific to the asset being support, that is, on-asset technologies.
Service is a dynamic and complex activity. Service is qualitatively different to the familiar product-based approach where hard artefacts are delivered to the owner. Service is a negotiated exchange with the asset owner (and operator) to provide intangible outputs that are usually co-produced with the asset owner. A service is consumed proximate to or coinciding with the time of executing that service. Services cannot be transferred to other asset owners in the same way that hard artefacts or products can. Hence, design of the service system should be “solution-centred” and highly versatile to allow the changes that are often required within the service period.
This special issue aims to explore different forms of solutions to the technical challenges in agile service systems. Papers of original research work in industry and case studies that tackle the problems in service systems that exhibit agility, versatility, continuity are most welcome.
Specific topics include but are not limited to:
- Agile systems design methods
- Systems analysis and modelling techniques
- Service systems reference frameworks
- Architectures for global enterprise systems in maintenance and upgrades
- Reliability assessment and risk mitigation for services
- Sociological processes in service systems
- Engineering of services for complex enduring systems
- Benchmarking, metrics and performance drivers for agile service systems
- Support systems for supply chain agility and responsiveness
- Models for whole of life complex product services
- Decision support systems development for agility
- Management systems and contemporary management theory on agility applied to services
- Knowledge management in globally distributed service networks
- Lean service systems
Deadline for submission: 31 July, 2010
Notification of acceptance: 30 September, 2010
Final version of accepted paper: 31 October, 2010