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Integrated Product Service Offerings for rail infrastructure – benefits and challenges regarding knowledge transfer and cultural change in a Swedish case

Lingegård, Sofia, Lindahl, Mattias
Journal of cleaner production 2015 v.98 pp. 166-174
business enterprises, contractors, cost effectiveness, environmental impact, industry, information exchange, interviews, models, prices, railroads, Sweden
The aim of this paper is to investigate potential benefits and challenges regarding knowledge transfer and cultural change from the provider and buyer perspectives when using IPSOs for Swedish rail infrastructure. Considering material use and the importance of availability of the tracks makes rail infrastructure an interesting candidate for a business model based on a life-cycle approach, which can result in a reduction in cost and environmental impact.The concept of the Integrated Product Service Offering (IPSO) has in several business areas proven to be a means with potential to reduce the environmental impact of products and services, increase cost efficiency and quality, and act as a driver for change. The business model, which is based on a life-cycle approach, focuses on the function instead of the initial price of the product.Among the main findings are the lack of information and knowledge transfer that act as a barrier for innovation, and that the buyer's conservative business culture makes it difficult to implement new types of contracts. Since IPSO contracts require improved information transfer, they could potentially stimulate innovation as well as processes for evaluation of the contracts. By involving the contractors in the design phase their knowledge could be used in a better way, creating a feedback loop from practice to design.The empirical part, focusing on the rail infrastructure industry in Sweden, has been collected using individual interviews and a group interview approach.