New approaches for improving the value of solutions in business networks

​An interaction-centric approach to solutions – where actors jointly organise their activities and resources – could improve both the efficiency and value of the solutions. This is a key conclusion of Klas Hedvall’s doctoral thesis. With the focus on maintenance for heavy vehicles, he recommends the various actors of the transport industry to coordinate their solutions in order to improve the efficiency of vehicle maintenance, vehicle utilisation, and road transport.

​What challenges do you focus on your research?

“Firms are interconnected by business relationships and form business networks. In these business networks, firms interact to develop, sell, purchase, and use solutions. They also influence each other through linking activities and combining resources across firm boundaries, resulting in that solutions become connected and interdependent. As a consequence, changes to a solution at one end of the business network may drive the need for changes to other solutions elsewhere in the network. The efficiency, effectiveness, and value of a solution therefore also depend on other solutions connected to it.”

How are you aiming to address or solve the problem?

“Through my research, which draws from an interorganisational perspective, I study the structures and mechanisms resulting in the interconnectedness and interdependencies among solutions. With a better understanding of those structures and dynamics, we could establish a clearer view of how firms jointly could cooperate to improve the value of solutions.”

What were the main findings?

“The business network I have studied provides ample examples of how interconnected firms influence each other, resulting in that solutions developed, deployed and used to become connected and interdependent. Therefore, a key conclusion of my research is that an interaction-centric approach to solutions, where actors jointly organise the activities and resources involved in connected solutions, could improve the efficiency and value of solutions.”
 
“The empirical focus for my research is maintenance solutions for heavy vehicles used for road transport. The findings highlight that the activities and resources involved in maintenance solutions are connected to the activities and resources of other solutions, such as the transport of goods. For that reason, the thesis recommends hauliers, transport buyers, vehicle manufacturers, and workshops to jointly coordinate solutions in order to improve the efficiency of vehicle maintenance, vehicle utilisation, and road transport.”

What do you hope your research will lead to?

“My research aims to further the current understandings about solutions in business networks. The conceptual model developed in the thesis will hopefully inspire new perspectives in the scholarly discussion concerning solutions. The model highlights how notions such as organising and value of solutions in business networks could be differently understood and approached when applying an interorganisational and interactive perspective.”
 
“The thesis and its conceptual model also shed light on the challenges faced by managers involved in developing, deploying and using solutions in business networks. The results of my research points to that the interaction of firms is crucial when managers strive to improve the efficiency and value of solutions. The research reported in the thesis could thus hopefully inspire managers in the industry to apply different approaches to solutions. For the transport industry specifically, the aim is to support managers when striving to further improve the efficiency of vehicle utilisation and road transport through new approaches to vehicle maintenance.”
 
 
Klas Hedvall is an industrial PhD from Volvo Group Trucks Technology.
 
Further reading on Klas Hedvall’s empirical research on heavy vehicle maintenance:
 
 

Published: Wed 25 Mar 2020.