In my research I apply the following definition for product service systems (PSS) that was proposed in my IJTM paper (2013):
‘integrated offerings of tangible products, intangible services and the enabling infrastructure providing a product-unspecific functional value. While the user and the offering firm engage into an enduring contractual relationship, the ownership remains with the offering firm with the user becoming the temporary proprietor enabling a high use-flexibility.’
This definition is based on own PSS research experience, but also on existing definitions, such as:
‘a marketable set of products and services capable of jointly fulfilling a user’s need… [The PSS] is provided by either a single company or by an alliance of companies. It can enclose products (or just one) plus additional services. It can enclose a service plus an additional product. And product and service can be equally important for the function fulfilment’ (Goedkoop, 1999)
Similar definitions can be found in Mont, 2001; Centre for Sustainable Design, 2002; Brandstotter, Haberl et al., 2003; Manzini and Vezolli, 2003; Wong, 2004; ELIMA Report, 2005.
‘instead of assuming that all products are to be bought, owned, and disposed of by ‘consumers’, products containing valuable technical nutrients – cars, televisions, carpeting, computers, and refrigerators, for example – would be reconceived as services people want to enjoy. In this scenario, customers (a more apt term for the users of these products) would effectively purchase the service of such a product for a defined user period…, rather than the … [product] itself’ (McDonough and Braungart, 2009)