Case Competition 2017

The case competition and the Service Innovation Award

Every year, the Walter-Eversheim-Foundation awards the Service Innovation Award in cooperation with the Service-Science-Innovation-Lab of the FIR at RWTH Aachen University. Core of the case competition is a challenging task, presented and given to the participating students by a different industrial company every year. The competition is aimed at students of all disciplines of the participating universities. The winning teams can look forward to valuable prizes, the trophy of the Walter-Eversheim-Foundation and internship positions at the participating companies.

Our current case partner

Kuka Group is a global Automation Company with sales revenues of around 3 Billion euro and a workforce of approximately 13,200 worldwide.

Challenge: “Develop innovative Business models and services for KUKA Robotics”



Current status of the case competition

  • 10 November 2017: Kick-Off
  • 08 December 2017: Feedback-Event
  • 26 January 2018: Submission of concept papers
  • March 2018: Presentation of Top Teams
  • 21 March 2018: Award ceremony



KUKA Group is a global automation company with sales revenues of around 3 billion euro and a workforce of approximately 13,200 worldwide. As one of the world’s leading suppliers of intelligent automation solutions, the company offers its customer everything they need from a single source: from the core component – the robot – to cells and fully automated systems. With its products and key technologies, KUKA is a driving force behind Industry 4.0 and the associated digitization of production processes. The aim is to support customers with integrated solutions in order to optimize their value creation. The KUKA Group consists of three major business segments: KUKA Systems (innovative solutions and services for automated production in automotive and general industry), Swisslog (automated solutions for segments as trading, e-commerce or pharmaceuticals) and KUKA Robotics (Manufacturing and international distribution of industrial robots for all industries and branches). The holding for the three segments is KUKA AG (supplementary for the operating activities of KUKA Group).

KUKA Robotics GmbH offers customers industrial robots, from small models to heavy-duty robots in the fields of automotive, medical and general industry. The robotics segment identified the demands for continuous innovation from international customers and unrelenting cost awareness as the key challenges to its division’s product portfolio. The result is permanent price pressure and potentially longer life cycles for the robotic applications combined with demands for ever-improving quality and longer warranties. The company responds to such trends by continually developing new products and applications that offer customers in existing markets quantifiable financial benefits driven by quick paybacks.

KUKA Global Customer Services One key differentiator for business environments where industrial robots are no longer “high tech” but rather a commodity product is customer services (CS). Customer services have a significant impact on customer satisfaction and hence, are key to client loyalty and retention. The crucial criterion is quick response time together with consistently high quality of service provision. From a customer’s perspective, KUKA´s service revenue per robot is KUKA’s share of its maintenance cost per robot.

The challenge

Your challenge: You have recently taken a job at a company who provides maintenance and services for automated production systems with KUKA robots. Your direct competitor is the Customer Service of KUKA Robotics. Your job is to develop innovative approaches for new services and maintenance concepts for end customers. Keep in mind that for the end customer the maintenance cost per robot should not increase but rather decrease for an improved TCO (total cost of ownership).

Option 1: Develop solutions for services, which are usually done by KUKA, with a faster lead-time, cheaper total costs or with a higher quality.


Option 2: Find business areas where you could earn money with after sales services for KUKA Robots, where KUKA´s customer service is not present so far.

KUKA products can be found in virtually every industry. The portfolio ranges from matched automation solutions to complete system concepts

Competition goal

“Develop innovative business models and services for KUKA Robotics”

Point out your value proposition to potential customers and your business model while utilizing the solution architecture for your digital service. Remember that a good idea only becomes an innovation, if viable business models are successful and accepted on the designated markets. Be creative!

While developing new services, please focus on:

  • Fresh and innovative ideas, responding to real user needs in B2B service markets – investigate what already exists on the market
  • Real service opportunities – as compared to system or application feature innovations
  • Unique selling point (USP) – explain why your idea has a ‘right to play’ in the field of digital services
  • Complexity in business implementation – address stakeholder map, necessary partnerships and potential dependencies
  • Business potential and potential to scale for a global player like KUKA

In order to develop an idea, you and your team can access different channels of information: internet research, surveys, interviews/workshops and the documents provided by KUKA. Use the given information wisely and integrate it into your project for better results.

The expected results are divided into two parts:

  • Business model
  • Visualization of your idea

Business model

The most important part of your solution is the development of a solid, comprehensive and elaborate business model for your innovative concept. In order to ensure comparability to solutions of other teams, please utilize the Business Model Canvas to systematically develop your idea. The most important aspects of your concept are:

  • Customer segmentation & value proposition
  • Resources and activities
  • Go-to-market approach & potential partners
  • Cost and revenue model


In order to demonstrate and easily convey your idea, please visualize it in any form. This could include a paper build prototype, a programmed application, a drawing, a short movie – it is important that you are creative in order to sell your idea to the jury!

Additional hints

  • Take a managerial perspective for your business idea (KUKA Robotics)
  • Put emphasis on customer value – do market research and talk to real customers. Use these insights to build your value proposition
  • State the USP and develop a SWOT analysis
  • Keep in mind that this is about a service business case – do not solely focus on enabling product or system elements
  • Develop the outline of an implementation model, including requirements for service delivery (FTEs, resources, timeline)
  • Give a recommendation for further actions based on your results
  • Be innovative and creative!

Competition requirements

All participants

Concept presentation, containing:

  • Case solution – max. 20 minutes presentation (e. g. MS PowerPoint)
  • Visualization of the idea
  • All documents are to be submitted in English

Participants of the lecture Service Design & Engineering additionally have to hand in:

Written concept description, containing:

  • Executive summary – one page (MS Word)
  • Case solution – 12 pages (MS Word)

All documents are to be submitted in English in the provided template (see L2P)

Awards and prizes

The top teams will be awarded great prizes!

The members of the first three teams will be rewarded with great prizes for each team member.

Embedded in the Lecture Service Design & Engineering

Besides participating in the case competition, you can apply for the lecture Service Design & Engineering and receive credits for your work: The conception of new service offerings, in particular with regard to development, gains increasingly more importance for companies every year. The lecture Service Design & Engineering aims to provide a comprehensive picture of methods and skills that can support the development of new services. To do so, the role of a business manager is explained and academic and scientific research questions broaden the perspective on the topic. The focus is placed on management related issues in order to develop a service concept in the framework of a new business model. Particular emphasis is placed on the step by step methodology for a systematic design of innovative services. You will learn why and when different methods are used and how the design process is organised. The lecture is based on specific case competitions that are elaborated by small teams (2-3 persons). The lecture introduces and explains different methods and tools and allows students to demonstrate what they learned in workshops and smaller challenges. In addition to this, different scientific research papers on the topic will be discussed.

  • Learning goal: Course description currently only available in English
  • pre-condition: Successful participation in at least one TIM basic event
  • Further information: The lecture is given by Dr. Gerhard Gudergan (FIR – Research Institute for Industrial Management).

Past case competitions (2011-2017)

Case Competition 2017 - Bosch


Case competition 2017

Bosch is one of the biggest Technology companies operating in the area of automotive components, industrial products and building products. The innovative German Company serves customers worldwide with more than 390.000 employees and achieved a Revenue of € 73.1 billion in 2016. Bosch Thermotechnology is the leading European manufacturer of thermotechnology with € 3.3 billion sales Revenue in 2016. The company offers its customers throughout the world solutions for their room climate domestic hot water and decentralized energy Management requirements. Highly efficient technologies which also in many cases use renewable energies and make a significant contribution to implementing the energy transition. The product portfilio ranges from floor-standing and wall-hung boilers and water heaters to solar thermal systems, heat pumps for heating and cooling and on to large-scale commercial and industrial systems such as industrial boilers, CHP plants and waste heat recovery systems for industrial processes. Challenge: Develop new  connectivity based business models and services along the customer journey of heating systems.

Case Competition 2017 - Royal Philips


Case competition 2017

Royal Philips is one of the biggest technology companies operating in the area of electronics, healthcare and lighting. The innovative Dutch company serves customers worldwide with more than 100.000 employees and achieved a revenue of € 24.2 billion in 2015. Royal Philips is divided in three divisions: Philips Consumer Lifestyle, Philips Healthcare and Philips Lighting. Philips Lighting produce pioneering new developments in the field of high-quality, energy-efficient LED lighting for both business customers and end-consumers. Philips Lighting’s future objective is to use the internet of things to transform lighting into a completely networked world – at home, in buildings and in urban Areas. Challenge: Develop new value adding services for customers in the professional lighting market (B2B).

Case Competition 2016 - SMS digital


Case competition 2016

SMS digital is a newly founded subsidiary of the SMS Holding. The company is set up as a start-up incubator for digital products for SMS group´s customers. SMS digital follows an entrepreneurial approach towards business and will work closely with SMS group’s business units to develop and sell products, which add value to the customers. The unit uses the design thinking method as well as lean start-up principles to act quickly and efficiently. Challenge 2016: Invent the future of services, based on digital documentation!

Case Competition 2015 - DMG MORI


Case Competition 2015

DMG MORIS’ range of products includes innovative high-tech machines and services, as well as software and energy solutions, offered to a wide variety of customers in diverse regions and industries. In order to supply customers with all kinds of spare parts in size and weight, the DMG MORI SPARE PARTS GMBH deals with the overall organization of a worldwide spare parts supply chain. Within the daily business, parts have to be purchased and sold with the core goal to fulfill customers’ expectations – a high spare parts availability at almost any place of the world – best. Challenge 2015: Innovative strategies for smart logistics of the future

Case Competition 2014 - Street Scooter


The winning team: Hans Heikenfeld & André Hessler

Case Competition 2014

StreetScooter was founded in 2010 in cooperation with the RWTH Aachen. StreetScooter is based on the idea to make electric mobility economically attractive – not only for large quantities but also when only small volumes are requested. Thus, economy and ecology should be reconciled. The company is based in Aachen where electronic vehicles are developed and produced for short-range use. The current portfolio includes various types of vehicles, a compact car for everyday use, pedelecs as well as lightweight prototypes. Challenge 2014: Develop your concept for car-to-cloud application services in the context of B2C and B2B.

Case Competition 2013 - Deutsche Telekom

Andreas Steindl

The winning team: Benedikt Moser & Jennifer Willigers

Case Competition 2013

The Deutsche Telekom has 144 million mobile customers and 32 million network line clients as well as 17 million broadband lines. The company is one of the leading integrated telecommunications companies worldwide (as of June 30th, 2013). The company provides products and services regarding the areas landlines, mobile networks, internet and IPTV for private and business customers. Challenge 2013: Design your concept of a business model for M2M applications in the industrial context.

Case Competition 2012 - Siemens


The winning team: Nils Kornder, Sidney Fiegen & Sven Haag

Case Competition 2012

With a clear structure in the fields of industry, energy, health care and infrastructural solutions, Siemens is the leading provider of innovative products, technologies and solutions. The company employs approx. 360.000 employees in over 190 countries worldwide. The company, founded over 160 years ago, supports its customers with innovative techniques and extensive know-how for the solution of their business and technical challenges. Challenge 2012: Develop your own concept of a business model for technological based Value Services in the automobile industry of Siemens AG.

Case Competition 2011 - Lufthansa Technik


The winning team: Hans Heikenfeld & André Hessler

Case Competition 2011

Lufthansa Technik Logistik GmbH is a 100% subsidiary of Lufthansa Technik AG. They offer pioneering logistics solutions for the aviation industry. The product portfolio includes the entire range of spare part logistics, high specialised engine transports and globally networked distribution solutions. They also offer instant material procurement and material supply, organisation and optimisation of repair cycles, proper storage and distribution as well as a worldwide 24-hour service. Challenge 2011: Develop your own concept for the use of innovative technologies at the logistics specialist in the aviation industry Lufthansa Technik Logistik.

Case Competition 2010 - Royal Philips


The winning team: Christina Oberfranz, Henning Gamerschlag, Tobias Greifenberg

Case Competition 2010

Royal Philips Electronics is responsible for health topics and well-being based in the Netherlands. The company´s focus is on improving the quality of people´s lives and creating innovative solutions in the area of health care, consumer lifestyle and lighting. Philips employs approx. 122.000 employees in more than 100 countries. The company generated a turnover of 22.6 billion Euros in 2011. Royal Philips Electronics is a market leader in cardiology, emergency medicine, health care at home and energy efficient lighting solutions. Challenge 2010: „Philips DirectLife, get fit your way“

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