About us

The Center Smart Services Vision

In the future, the ability to generate benefits and added value from data will be the decisive factor for the economic success of a company in the manufacturing industry.

For manufacturing companies, this not only raises the question of how the existing portfolio of machines, plants and services can be supplemented with digital services. Rather, they need to use digital business models to achieve sustainable competitive advantages based on scalability and forecasting capabilities. With the right strategic partnerships, manufacturing companies can gain access to the skills they need to increase their development speed and success. Are you interested to know more? We would be happy to create individual cooperation possibilities for you – just send us a message! You can find out more about a Center Smart Services membership here. If you would like to become part of our team, you will find all current vacancies on our career page.

Mission: Kickstart your Digital Business

We are the experts on the RWTH Aachen Campus when it comes to connecting science and industry to develop digital business models. As such, we support manufacturing companies in building their digital business from the development of the digitization strategy to market launch and professionalization.

With our special development approach, “Smart Service Engineering”, and the use of the unique infrastructure in the Smart Logistics cluster, digital business models are brought to market much faster and more successfully. The core of our approach consists of the rapid development and testing of solution-oriented prototypes. The aim is to learn quickly and put ideas into practice instead of trying to solve all problems “on paper” first. Instead of extensive strategy concepts, this way you get market-ready solutions in the shortest possible time, achieving an enormous speed advantage over the competition, which is a significant competitive advantage in the market. Our mission is your benefit: Kickstart your digital business!

Strategy: Engineering your Digital Business

In order to support companies in the development of digital business models and their successful placement on the market, we have developed a special development approach. “Smart Service Engineering” is based on agile development principles and enables fast learning effects and the testing of new services on the market by means of early trials. Thus, the relevant questions can be answered, from the selection of the right data, to methods of data analysis, to the design of the user interface. Companies working with this approach place digital business models on the market up to six times faster than companies working with classic development approaches. Developing a strategy The challenge for manufacturing companies when developing a digitization strategy is to understand it as a business strategy from the outset and not as a pure technology strategy. Questions about future business models based on clear benefit hypotheses for the customer must be answered so that the strategy can provide guidelines for a technological development process. Together with our experts, manufacturing companies use unique tools and methods to develop their digitization strategy and thus position themselves sustainably for business success in the digital world.

Schaubild des Zeitplans des Konsortialprojektes Vertrieb von Smart Services

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References

We support companies in the development of digital products, sustainable digital business models and the implementation of recommendations for action and guidelines, which we develop for consortium partners.

Playbooks and roadmaps: Practical support for your digital business!

Our cross-industry work with a wide range of partners over the last years has already resulted in the following industry 4.0 guidelines, among others:

Roadmap Sales of Smart Services

  • Partners: Siemens, Dräger, Fresenius Medical Care, Trumpf, GEA, AVL.
  • Result: A comprehensive roadmap for the sales of Smart Services which is used to guide companies to launch innovative, data-based services successfully in just 6 months. “Sales of Smart Services” is also the topic of our regular “Sales Summit” event, where sale strategies for digital products are discussed.

Digitalization Roadmap

  • Partner: InfraServ GmbH & Co. Knapsack KG
  • Result: A digitalization roadmap that shows the traditional company the steps that were required to initiate then transformation into a modern digital business.

Playbook on of “Remote Services”

  • Partner: Kyocera
  • Result: A playbook with specific guidelines for the standardized procedure of service consultants.

Guidance in times of Industrie 4.0

Numerous successful consortium benchmarkings with partners such as TÜV Rheinland, innogy, SICK AG or Thales have served and continue to serve to determine successful practice companies in a variety of subject areas – such as implementation and sales of data-based services or the establishment of a successful subscription business. Learn all about other reference projects of the center here.

Center Smart Services Initiators

Smart Logistics Cluster on RWTH Aachen Campus

It is the goal of the Smart Logistics Cluster to make it possible to experience complex interdependencies between logistics, production and service offerings. Aimed towards an entirely new way of intensive on-site cooperation between research and industry experts, complex value chains are looked at from a new, holistic point of view. To do so, the entirety of internal and external flows of goods and information is examined as well as the exchange of services

FIR e.V. at RWTH Aachen University

The FIR is a non-profit, cross-industry research institution at RWTH Aachen University. The FIR works in the area of business organization and corporate development. The institute researches, qualifies, teaches and supports in the areas of service management, information management, production management and business transformation. As a member of the Industrial Research Association, the FIR promotes research and development in favour of international corporations as well as small and medium-sized companies. The FIR is also registered as a so-called Johannes Rau Research Institute. As such, it supports the research strategy of the federal state of NRW and participates in relevant regional clusters.

TIME Research Area

TIME stands for Technology, Innovation, Marketing and Entrepreneurship. The members of the Research Area pursue an ambitious teaching and research programme with a clear focus on conception, development and sale of technological innovations. It is the common goal, to teach scientists, practitioners and students valuable, evidence-based Knowledge regarding questions on the conception, the development, the design and the sale and commercialisation as well as the improvement of (new) products, services and business models. This applies to both established and newly founded organisations. By bundling the experience and Expertise of the involved experts, TIME Research Area is able to offer a unique mix of knowledge, global connections and practical experience.

Our members

If we had to come up with a slogan for our community, it would most probably be this one by Henry Ford:

„Getting together is only the beginning, staying together is progress and working together is success”

Although this is a quote of the past century, the company-founder and pioneer expresses what characterizes our success for us and our members. Only a few years ago, the Center Smart Services was just an idea. In 2015, the foundation stone was laid for the construction of the center-building. Today, we can already look back on many successful projects and studies with international companies and a continuously growing network. This network is full of members who make use of the opportunities that come with a Center Membership by actively working with us and bringing in their own creative ideas. The members of the Center Community meet up regularly to discuss the latest trend topics and developments.