Manufacturing Business Models

Research goals


From new technologies to business

The MBM research group studies the business models which enable the diffusion of new technologies establishing win-win situations between customers and suppliers. Moreover, the group identifies global trends and market opportunities that can be exploited through manufacturing innovation, showing research directions for technology development.

In modern competitive environment, innovative service-oriented business models have the potential to increase the competitiveness of manufacturing firms by generating higher added value for customers and suppliers. These business model imply win-win relationships between supply chain actors, who are jointly committed towards common objectives and who share responsibilities, risks and benefits depending on their capabilities of contributing to the value generation. Some examples are concepts such as "Total Cost of Ownership", "Pay per Part", "Production Service", "Capacity Guarantee". Business model innovation requires companies to implement significant changes in their culture, organization, infrastructure, distribution and financial practices. Technology plays a fundamental role to enable new business models: on one hand, in fact, new business models require new technologies in order to be realized; on the other, new technologies, that are developed with a technology-pushed approach, need new business models to be marketed in order to exploit their maximum potential.

The mission of the MBM research group is:

  • to study business model innovation mechanisms and trends in manufacturing industry, in order to early detect trends, opportunities, barriers and best practices;
  • to conceive new methodologies and tools supporting business model design and implementation;
  • to identify new promising business models for emerging technologies, considering their peculiarities together with market needs and customers acceptance;
  • to suggest new directions for technological development in order to realize technology that can enable new business models.

Research activities

Research activities ground on industrial management engineering competences. They move from an integrated strategic view of market, technology, organization, extended supply chain and finance. Research is transversal to the four types of factories (for personalized products, micro, de-production and digital) and is aimed at complementing technology development activities with the necessary business framework allowing to exploit the potential of innovation.

MBM research group developed business model innovation reference processes complemented by a set of instruments and tools supporting different phases (configuration of product-services, supply chain, organization, revenue model, assessment of financial and environmental performance of alternative business models together with associated risks).

Survey and Case Study research. Empirical research is carried out with quantitative (survey) and qualitative (case study and focus groups) methods to in-depth analyze manufacturing innovation phenomena and mechanisms, identify emerging paths, verify the applicability of new technologies and properly address their development. Econometric models are designed to interpret quantitative data. This activity constitutes a unique manufacturing observatory capable of connecting the frontiers of technological innovation with industrial business practices and needs.

Methods for business model financial sustainability analysis and risk management. One of the main barriers to successful business model innovation is the lack of structured financial analysis to preliminary assess its sustainability and to manage associated risks. The MBM research group develops new methods and tools for business model financial assessment, which are integrated with systems design tools. These methods guide designers, managers and investors to take consistent decisions simulating the economic impacts of technology, market response, supply chain, organizational arrangements and revenue models in an integrated business model perspective.

Decision Support Systems for manufacturing business model design. Based on the peculiarities of enabling technologies, on the best practices and on interdisciplinary research, specific decision support systems assisting business model design are designed. They allow to consider in a structured way the huge number of variables that have to be defined in business model design and to suggest decision makers all possible options. In particular, decision support tools deal with the configuration of the product-service offering, inter and intra organizational company design, revenue model setup and extended business processes management.

Main research projects

Knowledge Transfer of Rapid Manufacturing, EU LdV, 2010-2012.
Conceptual Design of a Food Manufacturing Research Infrastructure to boost up innovation in Food Industry, EU FP7, 2012-2014.
Zero Waste PCBs
Integrated Technological Solutions for Zero Waste Recycling of Printed Circuit Boards, Progetto Bandiera "La Fabbrica del Futuro", 2013-2014.
Extended Exploitation Of European Research Projects Knowledge And Results, EU FP7, 2013-2015.
European Manufacturing Survey, international longitudinal survey led by Fraunhofer Institute.
Dematerialised Manufacturing Systems: a new way to design, build, use, and sell European Machine Tools, EU FP7, 2010-2013
Fabbrica Intelligente per la De-produzione Avanzata e Sostenibile, Convenzione CNR - Regione Lombardia

MBM research group animates a permanent observatory on manufacturing business model and technology innovation. As partner of the "European Manufacturing Survey", an international instiimative launched in 2001 for the investigation of manufacturing innovation in more than 15 countries, the MBM group detects innovation trends, strategies, barriers and best practices.

key words

Business Models; Industrial Product Service Systems; Manufacturing Strategy; Life Cycle Management; Sustainability.

Giacomo Copani


Eng. Ph.D. Giacomo Copani - Milano
MBM Group responsible
giacomo.copani [at]
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