October 1, 2015
It has been argued that servicizing business models, under which a firm sells the use of a product rather than the product itself, are environmentally beneficial. The main arguments are: First, under servicizing the firm charges customers based on the product usage. Second, the quantity of products required to meet customer needs may be smaller because the firm may be able to pool customer needs. Third, the firm may have an incentive to offer products with higher efficiency. Motivated by these arguments, we investigate the economic and environmental potential of servicizing business models. We endogenize the firm's choice between a pure sales, a pure servicizing, and a hybrid model with both sales and servicizing options, the pricing decisions and, the resulting customer usage. We consider two extremes of pooling efficacy, viz., no versus strong pooling. We find that under no pooling servicizing leads to higher environmental impact due to production but lower environmental impact due to use. In contrast, under strong pooling, when a hybrid business model is more profitable, it is also environmentally superior. However, a pure servicizing model is environmentally inferior for high production costs as it leads to a larger production quantity even under strong pooling. We also examine the product efficiency choice and find that the firm offers higher efficiency products only under servicizing models with strong pooling.