An increasing number of companies in the capital goods industry are turning towards new strategies where the focus is to add value for customers by providing integrated solutions (combining products and services), instead of selling components, spare parts and support services. These new strategies represent moves in the value chain and create a need for new business models as well as new competencies.
In this paper, the fairly new concept of integrated solutions is explored in the context of a privatised industry. The findings are based on empirical case studies carried out at two companies supplying products and services to the UK wastewater industry. In the UK, both water companies and their suppliers are influenced by economic and environmental regulations, an increased focus on cost, and outsourcing. On one hand, the two manufacturers have increased their competence with respect to system integration and operational services – competencies for supplying integrated solutions. On the other hand, a fragmented and vertically structured market with a multitude of different actors increases the distance between the water companies and the manufacturers. In addition, the division of the industry into a capital and operational side complicates the coordination between new sales and services.