For students

Graduation projects

The Research Group Business Service Innovation (Lectoraat) has close ties with manufacturing companies that are interested to strengthen their market position by complementing their products with services. That can be maintenance and repair services, but also more advanced services where they are selling the usage rather than the product self. A well-known example is to let customers pay for printed pages. The manufacturing company takes care of the printer and all maintenance services. Both, large multinational companies as well as SMEs are working on this so-called “servitization” process.

We invite Fontys students to do a graduation project on servitization. This is a unique opportunity to become an expert in this field. Every company will be looking for experts capable handling these servitization challenges. You will be working on your assignment as member of the Research Group. That is a unique and new opportunity within Fontys!

You are interested?

Be fast, we have only a limited number of positions available.

Apply for this position by sending a short motivation letter and your CV to Jacqueline Nieskens, jacqueline.nieskens@fontys.nl

See the available projects below:

Ambience photo Fontys
Ambience photo Fontys

Contact

Jacqueline Nieskens

08850 71210
jacqueline.nieskens@fontys.nl

  • Ahrend: Added value through new office furniture value propositions

    Company: Royal Ahrend

    Ahrend is an international leader in office furniture committed to delivering contemporary and highly sustainable office lifestyles to corporate end-users around the world. Products and interiors are designed to encourage the well-being and productivity of the people. Ahrend operates in over 25 countries on five continents, including China, Russia and Dubai. Ahrend delivers furniture and fit out services for office, education, healthcare and retail environments through a portfolio of leading furniture brands such as Techo and Presikhaaf. These recognized brands are often leaders in their relevant markets and some look back at a heritage of over 100 years.

    Complication

    Today, Ahrend is migrating from a manufacturing company selling products towards a company providing total solutions to their customers using a business model based on a pay-per-use service. One of these concepts is to provide their customers’ employees with the ability to take control of their own working microclimate. Ahrend is working on the development of workplaces with more personal comfort such as bio-dynamic lighting, ventilation, sit-stand and air quality. A subscription model gives the clients the opportunity to create dynamic workspaces, based on their actual needs, without having to dispose or store existing furniture. Pro-active asset management increases the lifespan of the furniture. This circular business model reduces the footprint of their clients and helps to attain their sustainable goals.

    Research questions

    Migrating from selling-products towards new service-based office furniture value proposition is a profound business model innovation. Ahrend would like to know what the migration from the traditional to future service-based business model implies for the additional value perceived by the customer using a segmented approach. The focus of the research will eventually lie on one customer segment (e.g., SMEs or large corporates) which will be identified throughout the course of the research. This research will build on previous research conducted at Ahrend which investigated the drivers and inhibitors of buying office furniture product-service system (PSS) offerings (i.e., leasing). In order to answer this main question, the following sub questions can be used:

    ·         What is Ahrend’s business model based on selling products to their customers?

    ·         What is Ahrend’s business model based on office furniture services?

    ·         What are the differences between the two above-mentioned business models?

    ·         Which customer segments can be identified based on their perceived added value?

    ·         How can the various perceived added value drivers be quantified?

    ·         What are related costs perceived by various stakeholders involved in buying the solutions?

    ·         How can the identified value drivers per customer segment be translated into various value propositions?

    Approach

    The research questions posed by Ahrend can be approached using the Business Model Canvas (BMC) and the Value Proposition Canvas (VPC). First, the business model of the traditional and the targeted way of working is described. This model can be validated by semi-structured interviews with management, sales professionals, and Ahrend’s customers. Further, the perceived added value can be investigated by assessing the value-in-use dimensions by doing additional semi-structured interviews with both key members of the decision making unit as well as members involved in facility management. Lastly, the Value Proposition Canvas is used to analyze how costs for the customer can be saved, how customers can benefit from the offered flexibility, and how the customer can benefit from possible other business services. Herein, mechanisms are designed that appropriately capture value from each segment.

    Work location

    Work location is set in Ahrend Amsterdam due to the commercial nature of the research and the needed close collaboration with team Digital that works on new concepts such as Function as a Service (FaaS) and Smart office.

    Are you interested?

    Apply now for this position by sending a short motivation letter, grade list and your CV to Jacqueline Nieskens, jacqueline.nieskens@fontys.nl

  • Ahrend: What are the implications of servitization for the sales organization?

    Company: Royal Ahrend

    Ahrend is an international leader in office furniture committed to delivering contemporary and highly sustainable office lifestyles to corporate end-users around the world. Products and interiors are designed to encourage the well-being and productivity of the people. Ahrend operates in over 25 countries on five continents, including China, Russia and Dubai. Ahrend delivers furniture and fit out services for office, education, healthcare and retail environments through a portfolio of leading furniture brands such as Techo and Presikhaaf. These recognized brands are often leaders in their relevant markets and some look back at a heritage of over 100 years.

    Complication

    Today, Ahrend is migrating from a manufacturing company selling products towards a company providing total solutions to their customers using a business model based on a pay-per-use service. One of these concepts is to provide their customers’ employees with the ability to take control of their own working microclimate. Ahrend is working on the development of workplaces with more personal comfort such as bio-dynamic lighting, ventilation, sit-stand and air quality.  A subscription model gives the clients the opportunity to create dynamic workspaces, based on their actual needs, without having to dispose or store existing furniture. Pro-active asset management increases the lifespan of the furniture. This circular business model reduces the footprint of their clients and helps to attain their sustainable goals.

    Research question

    Migrating from selling-products towards a pay-per-use revenue model is a profound business model innovation. Ahrend would like to know what this innovation implies for their value architecture, which is the holistic structural design of an organization, including its technical architecture, organizational infrastructure and their configurations. This is composed of tangible and intangible organizational assets, resources, and core competencies. To effectively serve the market, the focus mainly will be on the sales personnel and boundary spanners within Ahrend. In order to answer this main question, the following sub questions can be used:

    ·         What are the implications on the value architecture, value network, value proposition, and value finance in the transition from a product business model to a solution business model?

    ·         How and which elements of the value architecture drive or hinder the transition towards the solution business model?

    ·         What is a viable roadmap to migrate from the traditional to the new solution business model that supports the migration in an optimal way?

    Approach

    The research questions posed by Ahrend can be approached using the Business Model Canvas (BMC). First, the business model of the traditional and the targeted way of working is given. This model is validated by interviews with management and professionals within Ahrend. Then, this main model is refined with respect to the activities and competences of the sales force. Semi-structured interviews with management and sales professionals are used to identify the main differences between the traditional and targeted activities. Finally, a roadmap to migrate from the actual to the targeted business model is given. This roadmap is validated through semi-structured interviews with management and the professionals of Ahrend.

    Work location

    Work location is set in Ahrend Amsterdam due to the commercial nature of the research and the needed close collaboration with team Digital that works on new concepts such as Function as a Service (FaaS) and Smart office.

    Are you interested?

    Apply now for this position by sending a short motivation letter, grade list and your CV to Jacqueline Nieskens, jacqueline.nieskens@fontys.nl

  • Feed design Lab 1: Transferring Animal Feed Supply Chain

    Company: Feed Design Lab

    Feed Design Lab (FDL) is the research and innovation center for innovation and sustainability in the feed industry and focusses on identifying sustanable feed ingredients, feed processing and feed conversion for the European feed manufactoring and adjacent businesses. Promising new raw materials, smart manufactoring, as well as new ways to create a healthy and efficient animal husbandery sector are the overall (global) challenges.

    The most important activities of Feed Design Lab are the renting of the pilot plant, providing training/courses and developing projects. Feed Design Lab is unique in this setting: nowhere else in Europe, education, research and the production of experimental/test feed take place in the same institute. We can divide our company into three ‘Business units’, namely: Facilities, Projects and Education.

    Research

    The FDL is interested to host 2 graduate students from Fontys Venlo for a graduation project / graduation assignent in their facility in Wanssum, Limburg. (Stayerhofweg 25F, 5861 EJ Wanssum.

    The FDL is looking for new ways to influence and possibly help redevelop the current animal feed supply chain in a more healthy and sustainable animal husbandry sector.

    One student is more engaged in researching the supply chain as such:

    Related questions are:

    ·         What is the effect of new developments like 3D-printing/robotizing/fully automated processes/artificial intelligence on the process of animal feed in its complete supply chain?

    ·         What kind of supply chain management is needed to make the transition?

    ·         Which smart logistics can be applied to help this transition?

    ·         What are the possibilities to incorporate new (local) (protein) sources in the feed supply chain (like algae and insects)?

    Approach

    To be further discussed with the principal and in close cooperation with the research group BSI. Desk research is required to get insights in the newest developments: (smart) technologies, newest feed sources, innovative supply chains . Expert interviews need to be conducted to learn about the possibilities of applying these new developments in the feed supply chain. Analysis of all data must lead to a (series of) new supply chain models with an indication of (management)effects on the chain partners.

    Why should you choose this assignment?

    The assignments as well as the lab provide multiple changes to get around and acquainted with a broad range of organizations and industries engaged in the animal feed supply chain and the animal husbandry sector. The Lab is an innovative place where new ways of creating a sustainable and more future proof sector is co-created with the frontiers in the sector.

    Are you interested?

    Apply now for this position by sending a short motivation letter, grade list and your CV to Jacqueline Nieskens, jacqueline.nieskens@fontys.nl

  • GreenTechLab: Student engineering for temporary work&projects: a valuable aid!

    Company: Fontys GreenTecLab in Venlo

    Technical challenges and opportunities within the agro and food sector are the key issues of the GreenTechLab (GTL). Through research, process analysis, engineering, prototyping and further development, the GTL solves answers to the questions from the companies in the agro-food sector. The capacity is delivered by students and lecturers from FHTL and their own staff. The means are internships and graduation projects and other ways to work on the given topics. Always the teams are multidisciplinary (from an engineering point of view) and are combining skills and knowledge from the different study courses within the engineering domain: ICT, mechatronics, Industrial product Design and Engineering. What is lacking is the business component: how to market the new technological solutions? Therefore, students from FIBS are requested on certain projects to bring possible solutions further to the market.

    Research

    A lot of technical students are working aside of their study. Most of the students are working in the supermarket, catering or agriculture industry. Regional SMEs and start-ups from the manufacturing industry are looking for new potential employees and do have a lot of work that remains not done. Most of the time this work is very valuable. Fontys GTL has a good contact and insights on students who are very willing to do work that has association with their technical studies and getting familiar with the possibilities in the region. But what is lacking within GTL is a business model and business plan in how to put this service (temporary work) in the market. When GTL is working like a kind of ‘employment agency’, how should they be positioned in the market? Questions that need to be answered:

    ·         How should the business model look like?

    ·         How could the business operate?

    ·         What kind of activities are necessary?

    ·         Where does the business belongs to? Fontys itself or a different kind of company?

    ·         What is the business potential in the region of Northern of Limburg?

    ·         What should be the minimum hour rate of a student and what is the minimal expected hour rate?

    ·         What kind of activities/temporary work is acquired from the manufacturing industry?

    Approach

    Conduct desk research on strategy and operation of employment agencies with a similar background and portfolio. Organize interviews with potential customers in order to find input for possible value propositions. Create one (or more) Business Model Canvasses to point out the potential of the service orientated new business using the different segments of the model to deliver deeper understanding of the ‘How?’ and ‘What?’

    Why should you choose this assignment?

    GTL offers excellent supervision by a professional staff. The entire crew are dedicated researchers and your part of group of students working on different assignments coming from mainly ‘engineering-like’ backgrounds: it gives you a new look on dealing with problems and challenges. GTL is located on the Fontys Venlo Campus: home-ground !!

    Are you interested?

    Apply now for this position by sending a short motivation letter, grade list and your CV to Jacqueline Nieskens, jacqueline.nieskens@fontys.nl

  • Innovalor: Business models for the BusinessMakeover Platform

    Company: Innovalor

    Help us develop our new product! The starting point is BusinessMakeover.eu, a platform developed in the European research project Envision. Where do we go from here?

    In the European research project Envision we have developed Business Makeover, a multilingual platform for business model innovation. The BusinessMakeover platform is the starting point for a new product line within InnoValor. Innovalor is located in Enschede https://innovalor.nl/en/.

    InnoValor developed the BusinessMakeover platform together with partners such as TU Delft, University of Turku, Maribor, Evolaris and many others. The purpose of the BusinessMakeover platform is to support SME’s throughout Europe with their business model innovation questions.

    Assignment

    Over the last few months we have completely redesigned the platform to allow for different organisations to tailor the platform to their own purposes. The redesign of the platform also allows for a more digital experience when using the tools.

    In this context, we would like you to research:

    Business models for the business model innovation platform. A platform business model is not simple to create and sustain. Currently we are developing an InnoValor white label version, what would be interesting strategies to grow the platform? What should be the portfolio of services related to the platform? What are interesting target groups?

    At Fontys International Business School we are one of the first users of the white label platform https://serviceengineeringlab.nl

    Approach

    The research approach will consist of two different phases: a benchmark of similar platforms and their service portfolios leading to a limited number of service portfolio ideas, and a survey validating these ideas qualitatively. Next, the research includes a quantitative step to identify needs and requirements of potential customer segments.

    Why you should intern with InnoValor?

    InnoValor is a research-based consultancy and software company. We have highly skilled professionals, often PhD, so we can offer you the right guidance in your graduation efforts. As we are thought leaders in digital innovation, graduating at InnoValor promises to be an excellent learning opportunity for FIBS students.

    Are you interested? 

    Curious if your interests and ambition matches our themes? Feel free to send your CV, grade list and motivational letter to Fontys office management jacqueline.nieskens@fontys.nl.

  • Melis gieterijen: Business Process Mapping: Reverse Engineering for new and existing partners

    Situation

    Melis Gieterijen Tilburg (hereafter: MGT) is specialized in producing sand and coquille castings of aluminum and bronze. Casting remains a crucial link in the manufacturing industry. The company provides these semi-finished products for companies in, amongst others, the automotive, infrastructure and medical sector. While mainly producing small batches up to a thousand pieces (high mix, low volume), the company can provide larger scale solutions in collaboration with long-term business partner in China. Being family-owned, MGT established long-term relationships with its customers all across the Netherlands and its partners in the province of Noord-Brabant. The company employs twenty-five employees, approximately half of them operate on the production floor.

    MGT is currently developing a spin-off company, called Castlab. Castlab wants to operate upstream the value chain, by providing prototyping, design, and assembly services to offer integrated metal solutions. More recently, Castlab has been asked by a big railway customer to digitalize their rolling stock. The customer introduced a change towards “the digital supply chain”, totally vanishing its stock by drastically reducing the response time of its suppliers. Digitization of a supply chain enables a transparent, flexible, and responsive supply chain network. One of the main steps this customer wants to take to develop towards this digital supply-chain is inventorying its spare parts: digitizing drawings, models, and additional information on these products. Castlab’s role in this process is providing reverse engineering, 3D-modelling, and 3D-scanning services.

    Complication

    For Castlab many opportunities are present in terms of facilitating the developments around the digital supply chain of this railway customer. Important in exploiting these opportunities is aligning processes, because not only Castlab’s firm competencies determine customer satisfaction, but also the extent to which Castlab is able to co-create solutions with its customers. In the near future Castlab will require a more in depth model on how processes of the customer, suppliers, partners and the firm itself can be aligned. Optimal collaboration will help Castlab in searching for operational efficiency, and will result in higher customer satisfaction.

    Question

    How can Castlab’s business processes be modelled and standardized to reach optimal alignment with customers providing RE-requests in the future?

    Approach

    It is necessary to gain an understanding of the total process, including, people, resources and the in- and outputs. An explorative research design will be carried out by using a design science approach. A design science approach is taken as it aims to create artefacts (e.g., business models; guidelines), in this case a business process model. Therefore, the primary focus is on usefulness and direct applicability. First the focus is on clarifying the goals of the artefact and then on building and rigorously evaluating the functionality of the artifact. Throughout this process instruments such as interviews and survey can help in carrying out the research.

    Competences

    MGT/Castlab is searching for a student that (is):

    ·         Proactive and eager to learn

    ·         An excellent communicator and takes on responsibilities

    ·         Thinking out-of-the-box

    ·         Thinking with colleagues and customers

    ·         Wants to contribute to the optimal realization of the objectives of MGT and Castlab

    ·         Likes to cooperate with colleagues in all positions

    In addition to the internship, the student will actively work to help with the development of CastLab. This needs to be done in the perspective of the activities of MGT. It is therefore also necessary that the student engages in the MGT 2.0 multi-year plan. An important part of this plan is the introduction of an ERP system based on the identified processes. Optimal coordination between MGT (2.0) and CastLab is the underlying goal of this internship.

    Are you interested?

    Apply now for this position by sending a short motivation letter, grade list and your CV to Jacqueline Nieskens, jacqueline.nieskens@fontys.nl

  • Office Inspiration Center: Creating a new organization model for i-Believers towards a Healthy Workspace

    Company: Office Inspiration Center (Hosted by Martin Cuypers BV)

    The Office Inspiration Center (OIC) expressed their mission as follows: we want to create a pleasant, mentally and physically healthy and efficient office workspace. A workspace where people are the focus, where they can feel at home and perform at their highest level.

    The OIC is formed by a number of i-believers: human oriented companies which bring in their specific skills and knowledge in order to create for their customers this ideal workspace. Numerous aspects are important  and all contribute to the way in which people in offices can function in the most optimal manner. I-Believers are actively communicating and propagating the story of the Office Inspiration Center.

    So far the positive side. In practise, it seems to be an adventurous search of the connected entrepreneurs which still have a lot of questions on the ‘Why, How and What’? Questions concerning the path to follow, the processes involved and most of all about which value propositions (mainly based on services connected to products) should be developed to convince customers to do business. All participants have individual as well as common goals which can be summarized by ‘generating new business and improving society’.

    Research

    OIC is looking for students who can help them with the above questions. They can host one or two students which will deal with the following questions (and work in close cooperation but both with their specific tasks):

    One student is more engaged in organization modelling for this group of companies:

    • In which (organizational) model can the network of i-believers be formed?
    • Which management model is necessary with this organization model?
    • How is community building organized?

    The other student is concentrating more on the creation of the value propositions / service concepts which need to be designed:

    Approach

    Since OIC is in the absolute first stage of creation, the Lectorate together with the board of IOC will further discuss the way to proceed.

    Why should you choose this assignment?

    Excellent opportunities to create a lot of added value for a beginning new platform / network. Pioneering skills and creativity are needed. So this means a true bachelor adventure

    Are you interested?

    Apply now for this position by sending a short motivation letter, grade list and your CV to Jacqueline Nieskens, jacqueline.nieskens@fontys.nl

  • Op het Veld Belfeld – business innovatie voor een technisch installatiebedrijf

    Het bedrijf

    Op het Veld Belfeld is opgericht in 1921 en heeft zich ontwikkeld als een technisch installatiebedrijf. De huidige eigenaar en directeur Gerard Op het Veld heeft het bedrijf in 1986 overgenomen en is hiermee de derde generatie binnen dit bedrijf. Het bedrijf heeft momenteel 37 fte’s in dienst.

    Missie:

    Op het Veld is een klantgerichte project- en kennispartner op het gebied van technische installaties. Informatie van het bedrijf:

    “Door verschillende systemen te integreren realiseren we energetische duurzame maatwerkinstallaties in de industrie en utiliteit. Het in een vroeg stadium meedenken als project- of kennispartner genereert onze meerwaarde. Wij richten ons op klanten in Nederland en in Duitsland. Wij concentreren ons op de activiteiten; engineering, projectmanagement, montage, onderhoud en inspectie.”

    Onze kernactiviteiten richten zich op; elektrotechniek, verlichting, inbraakbeveiliging, camerabewaking, toegangscontrole, zonnepanelen, klimaatinstallaties en persluchtsystemen.

    Steeds meer maakbedrijven voegen diensten toe. Als voorbeeld Philips Lighting, zij bieden de eindklant geen lamp armaturen aan maar datgene wat de klant nodig heeft namelijk lumen! Onze bijdrage is dan zuiver en alleen nog de arbeidsuren voor montage en de materiaalomzet komt hierdoor voor ons te vervallen.

    Ook zien we steeds meer Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) het geen kortweg inhoud de toename van data acquisitie ten behoeve van automatisering voor thuis, scholen, opslag en vele industrieën.

    Gezien de bedrijfsgrootte hebben wij een belangrijk voordeel ten opzichte onze grotere collega’s: wij zijn een stuk wendbaarder, waardoor we veranderingen sneller kunnen doorvoeren.”

    Vraagstelling

    Op het Veld Belfield is op zoek naar nieuwe business modellen  als doel buiten de huidige werkzaamheden nieuwe dienstverleningen uit te breiden of te ontwikkelen. Deze nieuwe dienstverleningen kunnen worden gezocht in een verlenging van de bestaande contacten c.q. werkzaamheden of geheel nieuwe verdienmodellen die passen bij het bedrijf Op het veld Belfeld.

    Ben je geïnteresseerd?

    Reageer op deze afstudeermogelijkheid door een korte motivatiebrief en je CV te sturen naar Apply Jacqueline Nieskens, jacqueline.nieskens@fontys.nl