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go global Photo: Åsa Stubbfält
Lina Sundén, PhD Student position, David Sjödin, Associate Professor, Vinit Parida, Professor and Wiebke Reim, PhD Student position. Photo: Åsa Stubbfält View original picture , opens in new tab/window

Researchers will help Swedish companies become more competitive internationally

Published: 21 May 2019

A new research project at Luleå University of Technology will help Swedish companies to become more competitive in the international market by developing new digital services.

Digitization affects almost all industries in Sweden, but many companies lack knowledge about how they can benefit from it commercially. For a company to be able to use new digital technologies, the right business model is important.

– Most Swedish companies are currently going through a digitization process and everyone is asking themselves: "How can we profit from digitization?". Many Swedish companies are international and dependent on their export strength, which means that they must be able to sell their products or services worldwide. This is where the big challenge lies, because the market looks very different in different parts of the world. This means that the company cannot necessarily use the same business model in Asia as in Europe, says Vinit Parida, project manager and professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Luleå University of Technology.

The project Global commercialization of digital business model innovations in industrial ecosystems is an extension of the DigIn project, where companies together with researchers have worked on developing new business models by collaborating with digital players. Now, three of the Swedish companies – Volvo CE, Komatsu Forest and Sandvik – who have participated in DigIn will continue to develop their business models, but this time for the international market.

Remote maintenance

Wiebke Reim, doctoral student in Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Luleå University of Technology, takes Komatsu forest as a concrete example. The company manufactures forest machines that are used in places where it can be a long way for a service technician to go for, for example, changing parts. Through a so-called remote management system it is possible to control machines remotely and see when different types of maintenance need to be done.

– You can also help the driver remotely when parts of the machine are to be replaced. Then no one needs to go out there and the machine does not have to stand still while waiting for a technician. There are also systems that can be used to train the driver. You can see from a distance how the driver runs the machine and from there you can help the driver to set the machine correctly and give some tips on how to drive to become more efficient or more fuel-efficient, says Wiebke Reim.

Use data

She notes that different companies continuously collect different types of data, which they then do not know what to do. It can be about fuel consumption, how many trees you cut per hour, how much you move the arm on the machine, if you cut the trees in the right lengths, how the oil looks in the machine and so on.

– If you use this data correctly, you can learn how to build the forest machines of the future, says Wiebke Reim.

David Sjödin, assistant professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Luleå University of Technology, believes that Swedish companies will continue to compete with high quality rather than cheap products in the future. However, what it means to have the best quality is about to be defined.

– Being the best doesn't just have to be that the product has the greatest technical improvements, but that the overall package of product and digital services and systems creates a greater added value for the customer's business, he says and continues:

– We are facing an exciting time in Swedish industry where automation, electrification and digitization are causing radical changes in how companies have traditionally created value. This means threats but also great opportunities. We see new business models and digital services as a path to continued competitiveness and it feels very inspiring to be involved and help the industry's transition in this direction.