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Electrolux Functional Sales
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Electrolux Functional Sales

An interesting example of a move from product to service was illustrated by the launch of a new business pilot scheme from Electrolux on the island of Gotland in Sweden[1]. The approach which they called Functional Sales created a collaboration between Electrolux and the energy utility company Vattenfall, offers customers a pay-per-wash option for their laundry needs. [2]

The theory behind the Functional sales approach is that although customers do have a washing machine in their home, they do not buy it.  Instead customers pay for the ‘function’ of having clean clothes at about 72p per wash[2, 3]. This approach of paying for the number of usages creates incentives for customer to reduce the number of usages and thereby reduce the energy and detergent consumption[2].

“An additional benefit is the flexibility this offers customers as they can subscribe to additional functions or upgrade to washers with larger capacity. This is the first test in the world of this concept. I strongly believe that Functional Sales will spread to other areas and may change the way we look at appliances – and services.” [4]  This, coupled with the fact that Electrolux’s best washing machines consume less than 1kWh (kilowatt/hour) and less than 40 litres of water per cycle, makes for a very impressive solution.[3]

“This type of product to service shift could have significant effects on the way the product is designed. To suit these business models, companies will have to design their products with increased endurance, serviceability and refurbishment capability which, in turn, will reduce the products overall environmental impact. These business models may well spread to other areas and may change the way we design our appliances in the future.” [2]

[1] Electrolux, Functional Sales. 2000, AB Electrolux.
[2] Jones, E. and D. Harrison. Investigating the use of TRIZ in Eco-innovation. in TRIZCON2000.May, 2000 2000. Altshuller Institute.
[3] Jessen, M., Clean Duds Without the Washday Blues. 2001.
[4] Electrolux, Environmental Report 1999. 1999, Electrolux.