مدل های کسب و کار برای خدمات بهره وری مواد : مفهوم سازی و کاربرد
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|7540||2007||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||9401 کلمه|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Ecological Economics, Volume 63, Issue 1, 15 June 2007, Pages 126–137
Despite the abundant research on material flows and the growing recognition of the need to dematerialize the economy, business enterprises are still not making the best possible use of the many opportunities for material efficiency improvements. This article proposes one possible solution: material efficiency services provided by outside suppliers. It also introduces a conceptual framework for the analysis of different business models for eco-efficient services and applies the framework to material efficiency services. Four business models are outlined and their feasibility is studied from an empirical vantage point. In contrast to much of the previous research, special emphasis is laid on the financial aspects. It appears that the most promising business models are ‘material efficiency as additional service’ and ‘material flow management service’. Depending on the business model, prominent material efficiency service providers differ from large companies that offer multiple products and/or services to smaller, specialized providers. Potential clients (users) typically lack the resources (expertise, management's time or initial funds) to conduct material efficiency improvements themselves. Customers are more likely to use material efficiency services that relate to support materials or side-streams rather than those that are at the core of production. Potential client organizations with a strategy of outsourcing support activities and with experience of outsourcing are more keen to use material efficiency services.
There are economic, ecological and political incentives for business enterprises to pursue material as well as energy savings. More efficient resource use not only reduces the environmental burden from industrial operations, but often translates into lower procurement and waste management costs as well (Schmidt-Bleek, 1998, von Weizäcker et al., 1997 and Hinterberger et al., 1997). It is now more than a decade ago that Porter and van der Linde (1995) presented compelling empirical evidence that efficient resource use can be a major competitive advantage for an enterprise. By now there is an abundance of research on material flows and ways to dematerialize the economy (Bartelmus, 2003, Ayres and van den Bergh, 2005 and Bringezu et al., 2004). From an ecological point of view, inefficient use of materials or energy causes pollution, destroys ecosystems and depletes natural resources. The imperative of saving natural resources and minimizing pollution by using them more efficiently in industrial production is acknowledged at both national and international levels. Several political measures have been planned and introduced to minimize environmental harm by steering manufacturing and other economic activity. For instance, the European Union and the OECD are aiming to decouple economic growth and the use of natural resources (OECD, 2002 and EU, 2002). The United Nations has also joined the quest for more efficient use of natural resources (United Nations, 2002). Business enterprises, however, are still not using their resource saving potential to the full. Why is that? Firstly, quite a few enterprises lack the expertise to recognize other than the most obvious opportunities for material or energy saving. This is especially true for energy and support materials that do not lie in the organization's area of core competence. Negligent use of resources is frequently aggravated by the fact that in most firms, resource efficiency is not a high priority since constant improvements in extraction techniques have made resources ever more inexpensive. Secondly, even if enterprises do recognize opportunities for material or energy efficiency improvements, they do not necessarily act upon them. All too often and all too easily, there is a tendency not to go into any improvements that would require investment – even with relatively short payback periods – or that would add to the workload of management or staff (Halme et al., 2005 and Kontoniemi, 2004). This situation opens up business opportunities for various service providers offering material or energy efficiency services. The basic idea is that the service provider takes over the efficiency improvement, and that compensation to the provider is tied to the cost savings achieved from that improvement. As distinct from other types of eco-efficient services, this is usually called a result-oriented service. Compared to product-based or use-oriented services, for example, result-oriented services arguably hold the greatest promise in terms of eco-efficiency (Tukker, 2004). Result-oriented services, however, are relatively unconventional form of business and they are therefore not necessarily readily accepted in the market. Result-oriented services focus on fulfilling customers’ needs, providing lit or warm space, for example (Roy, 2000 and Hockerts, 1999). They can include various forms of contracting, such as energy contracting, facility management, waste minimization services (Heiskanen and Jalas, 2003 and Vine, 2005) or chemical management services (CSP, 2004, OECD, 2004 and Kortman et al., 2005). In essence, the aim of result-oriented services is to “sell functional results”. This not only breaks with traditional economic thinking, but in some instances also creates difficulties with regard to some financial stipulations, as will be discussed later in this article (Bertoldi et al., 2005, Heiskanen and Jalas, 2003 and Vine, 2005). Eco-efficient products and services, which can help significantly to reduce the use of natural resources while still meeting people's needs, have attracted a lot of research and led to numerous innovations since the launch of the concept in the mid-1990s. However, despite the abundance of innovation and ideas, only few eco-efficient products and services have made their way to the marketplace (Tukker, 2004). One of the reasons for the marginal market penetration of eco-efficient services is the slow rate of change in institutions and in ways of thinking. However, there is also a lack of systematic analysis of the business perspective; the main focus has been firmly on the technical design of eco-efficient services (Bleischwitz, 2003). The shortcomings in understanding the business perspective around eco-efficient services became apparent a couple of years ago. It was widely recognized that one of the reasons for the failure of what seemed to be sound eco-service concepts was the lack of attention paid to the market viability of such services. Hence the term ‘business model’ has proliferated in the discussion on eco-efficient or sustainable services (Mont et al., 2006b and Tukker, 2004). However, while the business model terminology has now been widely adopted by those promoting and researching sustainable services, it is still very rarely that any explanation is offered as to what exactly it means (Tukker and van Halen, 2003); sometimes it is understood simply as a revenue model (Vercalsteren and Gerken, 2004) or in terms of flowcharts portraying ‘service logistics’ (Tempelman, 2004). This is not surprising because there is no established or comprehensive definition of the term ‘business model’ (Timmers, 1999). However, if we are to gain a better understanding of the business opportunities of eco-efficient services, then some kind of conceptualization or framework for business models is called for. In this article we propose a conceptual framework that has its roots in the work of Normann and Ramirez (1994), Räsänen (2001) and Magretta (2002). The proposed business model framework allows us to analyse the competitive advantage of the services, the customer benefits, the resources and capabilities of the services providers, and the financing arrangement. After presenting the framework, we apply it to the material efficiency services offered by outside service providers to client organizations. The actual material efficiency improvements made by individual companies within their own facilities thus fall outside the scope of our study. Likewise, we exclude services targeted for waste that has already accumulated.1 The feasibility of these business models will also be assessed. The article ends with a brief review of the different means of promoting material efficiency in industry.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Material efficiency services can produce three kinds of benefits: a reduced environmental burden, cost savings and new business for environmental service companies. The latter is particularly important in many Western (European) countries which are seeking to create new job opportunities in the service sector in order to compensate for the steady decline in industrial employment. In addition to skilled employment, industrial services offer a long-term source of competitive advantage. This is because they are less tangible and more dependent on competencies and thus much more difficult for competitors to imitate (Economist, 2000 and Oliva and Kallenberg, 2003). A recent global study also shows that profitability of business-to-business services is up to 75% better than that of manufacturing operations (Deloitte, 2006). Moreover, if first developed domestically, environmental service businesses may in time evolve into a new type of industrial expertise for export (Ekins, 2005). Despite its benefits, the business of selling “functional utility” is not common in current business thinking. Therefore the alternative business models need to be carefully scrutinized so as to increase knowledge and awareness about them. The conceptual framework introduced in this article for purposes of analysing different business models of eco-efficient services comprises the competitive advantage of these services, the customer benefits, the resources and capabilities of the service providers, and the financing arrangements. Applying this framework, we identified four business models for result-oriented material efficiency services: the MASCO model, the material efficiency as additional service model and the material flow management service model. In the MASCO model, an enterprise specializing in material efficiency makes the material saving investment in the customer company and is compensated according to the savings achieved. The additional service model is essentially the same, but the service provider and user have an existing business relationship, typically in the field of maintenance, waste management, or equipment provision. The provider takes charge of a material efficiency investment from financing to implementation throughout the investment period. Apart from the fees for the ordinary service, the provider is compensated on the basis of the cost savings achieved through the investment. The third model differs from the former two with respect to the investment. Here the service provider takes over the management of a certain materials group, such as chemicals. In other words, the customer company outsources the management of a material flow to a service provider, and the compensation can be tied to an agreed result measuring the outcomes of the client's facility, e.g. the number of coated washing machines. It is also possible for service providers to combine two business models. Namely, the service provider that takes charge of the management of the material flow could also offer a financing service for material efficiency investments. The benefits that customers can obtain from the services in question are savings in resources, either time or costs. The competitive advantage of these services relates to the increased efficiency that is achieved from the handing over of an activity to a professional operator. Regardless of the business model, enterprises seemed to be more willing to use material efficiency services for sidestream materials than for core business operations. That said, it should be emphasized that not all manufacturers necessarily benefit from these services. Companies with abundant funds of their own and/or in-house expertise in materials efficiency improvements, may be best off going it alone. Service providers should possess strong expertise and know-how in the materials concerned and related technologies. In the case of investment-type services, they must also be capable of arranging the necessary financing and recruiting a network of cooperators to whom to subcontract various parts of the investment process. Which firms, then, are most realistically able to offer material efficiency services? Here we must make a distinction between investment-based services and those for the management of material flows. Investment-based services are most likely to be offered by firms that have an existing business relationship with the client, such as waste management companies. These firms should be viewed by financing institutions as reliable partners so that they can arrange the necessary funding for the investment. Secondly, ESCOs can also extend their business to MASCO. If and when the business becomes more commonplace, it is likely that enterprises will emerge that specialize exclusively in material efficiency investment projects. For the time being small, specialized MASCOs do not enjoy sufficient credibility among financiers, and they usually do not have enough funds of their own to invest in projects on a continuous basis. Material flow management services are most typical in chemical management. Most of the providers are subsidiaries of major chemical companies, whereas the remaining one-quarter are smaller service providers without their own production (CSP, 2004). The former prefer large customers Mont et al., 2006a and Mont et al., 2006b, whereas the latter group could serve customers that need lower volumes and a higher diversity of chemicals (CSP, 2004). What is the point of exploring all these options in one study instead of concentrating on one of them, say chemical management services? By putting all the various material efficiency services in one picture, we should be able to gain a fuller understanding of the ways and means of introducing material efficiency to enterprises through external agents. Different types of customers need different types of services. It goes without saying that co-operation is more intense and deeper in material flow management services than in investment projects. The latter are one-off projects and have a fixed end point, whereas in the former case an employee working for the provider will usually be assigned to work at the client's site and the service relationship will run on a continuous basis, i.e. it is not usually projected to finish at a certain point in time. Sometimes it may be a more attractive option to give one single efficiency project to an outside provider rather than to outsource the management of an entire material. Since the models represent new ways of doing business, there are a number of organizational and institutional aspects that ought to be taken into account. As for the organizational aspects, the service provider has to convince its potential customers that the efficiency measures will be profitable, that it is capable of handling the technological solutions and that it is capable of managing extensive projects that are (usually) closely interwoven with the customer's production or operational process. The client organization, for its part, has to sell the idea of the innovative service at many organizational levels. Here attitudes, experiences and contacts between people and organizations are of crucial importance. What about the future of these services? In spite of the economic and ecological benefits foreseen, some mechanisms of promotion would certainly boost the demand for these services and help them move on from the initial stage. These mechanisms can range from well-designed legislation and regulation to a variety of voluntary measures (Halme et al., 2005). To list just a few examples, we could mention environmental permits and BAT reference documents under the EU's Integrated Pollution Prevention Control (IPPC) Directive; government grants for material efficiency projects; and the promotion of material efficiency in public procurement and the imposition of environmental taxes on selected materials (cf. Ekins, 2005). To name a few other examples, voluntary agreements, when properly designed, have also proved a useful way to promote both energy and material efficiency (Bressers and Bruijn, 2005, ten Brink, 2002, Delmas and Terlaak, 2001, Hardgroves and Smith, 2005 and Kautto et al., 2000). Access to data on material use at industrial sites would facilitate efficiency comparisons between different sectors and encourage lower performers to make improvements. In Denmark and Finland there are experiments where the public authorities provide benchmarks by gathering data on raw material use and waste creation at industrial sites and by making these data publicly available3 (Danish EPA, 2003, YTV, 2006 and Jokinen, 2005). Environmental Management Systems (EMS) are another common management tool within industry (Morrow and Rondinelli, 2002 and Corporate Risk Management, 2006) that could be used to promote resource efficiency. The targets that companies set themselves in EMS usually concentrate on such areas as waste recovery rather than on reducing total material flows by waste prevention (OECD, 2003 and Kuisma et al., 2001). One mechanism is to make external EMS auditors to pay attention to the resource efficiency perspective and make them aware of material savings services. The difficulty here is that auditors get paid by the audited company and there is no legislation for the auditors to lean on. There are at least two issues that are likely to accelerate the emergence of material efficiency services: the chemicals directive REACH in Europe and the trend of outsourcing non-core operations. The findings of this study indicate that organizations with a strategy of outsourcing support activities and with experiences of outsourcing, are keener and more likely to use material efficiency services. If the organization has experience of outsourcing more straightforward functions such as cleaning or catering, it will more readily outsource more complex activities as well. This experience is needed because even if the materials that need to be servicized are support materials, they are still usually closely intervowen in productive operations and their management requires a certain level of professional skills. Finally, it is important to stress that the approach presented here is only a partial solution to the sustainable use of materials in the economic cycle. It needs to be coupled with other measures such as innovation of novel environmentally benign materials, as well as legislation and economic instruments supporting material efficiency. The attraction of this solution lies in the fact that it could be aligned with the economic interests of business enterprises, on which it largely depends whether the intake of materials in the economy can be reduced.