The Representation of an Advanced Service delivered by a Product Service System
: A Qualitative Model of Avionics Availability

  • Nils Thenent

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


The research presented in this thesis demonstrates the qualitative modelling of an advanced service delivered by a Product Service System (PSS) through the use of a socio-technical systems-based approach. The created model representsdependencies between functions and organisations, and can be used as basis for a quantitative cost model. Focus is on how one particular example of advanced services, namely availability is delivered in an industrial context.Following a review of multi-disciplinary literature and the outline of a suitablemethodological approach, a detailed case study of the delivery of an exemplarpiece of avionics equipment by BAE Systems and GE Aviation to the UK Royal AirForce is described.This research shows that the delivery of avionics availability through a PSS hasorganisational, contractual and functional facets that overlap and influence eachother. Multiple qualitative models represent the investigated setting, from afunctional and from an organisational perspective. Top-level functions ‘Analysis &Optimisation’, ‘Administration’ and ‘Delivery’ are identified. The results showdistinctive similarities and differences between GE Aviation and BAE Systemsincluding a variety of parallel contracts, organisational segmentation and tensionsbetween relationships and contractual obligations.The findings suggest that understanding a PSS as a socio-technical system iscrucial for modelling the PSS and the cost associated with it. This is particularlyimportant when the aim is to continuously control and manage costs rather thanthe creation of a one-off forecast.The contribution of this work to the existing body of knowledge, primarily withinthe domain of cost engineering is twofold: First the creation of qualitative modelsof an existing PSS delivering avionics availability to show “what is a PSS”, andsecond a methodologically robust approach that takes into account the sociotechnical character of PSS to demonstrate “how to know about PSS”.
Date of Award7 Oct 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorLinda Newnes (Supervisor) & Ettore Settanni (Supervisor)


  • Product Service Systems
  • Socio-technical System
  • Cost estimation
  • Availability
  • Aerospace
  • case study

Cite this