Q&A: Field service organizations and the need to optimize service models

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Field service organizations must optimize their reactive service models today and plan for predictive service models tomorrow.

In this Q&A, I will ask Mark Brewer, service industry expert and Global Service Industry Director for Service Management at IFS, to shed some light on the industry’s need to optimize business service models.

Meet our service industry expert

Mark Brewer, Global Industry Director for Service Management at IFSMark is a recognized thought leader in the industry and has been helping organizations drive business transformation for over 20 years. He has worked for some of the largest service organizations including Coca-Cola, Dell, GE Healthcare and ThyssenKrupp. In March 2017, Mark was named one of the most influential people in field service by Field Service News.

Question 1

What do service organizations need to know about leveraging IoT and other technologies (drones, 3D printing, IoT sensors)?

Answer: Emerging technologies are helping make service delivery easier than ever for organizations, but adopting these technologies comes with challenges. The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the way field service organizations (FSOs) respond to break/fix work and enable a more outcome-based service model. Also, 3D printing and drones will help to fix delays in the service supply chain to provide more on-demand service and faster up-times.

But in order for an organization to properly leverage these technologies to reap the ROI, key factors need to be taken into account. Digital transformation technologies need to be an integral part of your service strategy and future plans and investment needs to be laid out in terms of deployment and scalability. These technologies all work thanks to our ability now to collect and process data more easily than ever before. That means that it is essential that your processes and systems are optimized to handle the data and action it.

The biggest mistake organizations can make when adopting new field service technologies is not ensuring that their foundation is set up and running smoothly first. An audit of your current service chain and a measure of your current performance is highly recommended. By sorting out any inefficiencies or issues first, you will maximize your digital transformation investment.

Question 2

What are today’s service organizations aiming to achieve?

Answer: Today’s service organization understands that the customer drives success and failure and demands to be at the forefront of business strategy and innovation. Customers dictate which service organizations will outlast the disruption of digital transformation and which will not. Businesses must achieve brand loyalty and differentiation that overcomes the challenge of today’s connected customer who has ever-evolving demands and preferences.

Of course, any leading organization knows that this is futile without being able to reduce costs, streamline processes and increase revenue streams at the same time. Still, 26% of FSOs are not achieving at least 20% services profitability (the UK/EMEA average is 35% services profitability).

Therefore, in addition to shifting their service model to better embrace the connected customer, service organizations are looking to maximize on the capabilities of new technology to give them better insight into their organization and ultimately their customer data. Organizations are looking to capitalize on business intelligence and analytics through the investment of new people and systems.

Question 3

To future-proof their businesses, what are some of the questions companies need to be asking themselves?

Answer: The most important question a successful service organization can ask themselves is “Do I truly know my customers’ journey?” In 2017 and beyond, the customer should be the focal point of your business. Service organizations that recognize that will win loyalty by treating each customer as an individual rather than a number, providing a tailored service offering.

The second question that service organizations should be asking to future-proof their business is “Are your customers’ perception of value and your corporate delivered value married?” And even more importantly, how is your value delivered? Does your strategy translate into the way you are structured and organized? Do you have the systems and processes in place to manage and deliver on this value?

From here, a tuned-in organization can ask the basic questions:

  • Do you have seamless data flow from front-end (first customer to touch-point) to back-end?
  • Can you interrogate your inventory?
  • How well is spare parts management working?
  • Is the data you are capturing the right information to make business decisions today and plan for tomorrow?
  • Is your data real-time?
  • How is your data processed and analyzed?
  • Can you use it to make data-driven decisions, forecast and plan?

The ability to manage knowledge and use it for organizational improvements and enhancements is key. Fundamentally, organizations should be asking the questions that directly relate to their strategy, vision and the value they want to offer the market.

Question 4

How can enterprise software help and what should companies look for when selecting a solution?

Answer: Having the right business systems and software in place is crucial to an organization’s future success. Just as is the case with service delivery, field service management (FSM) software is not one size fits all. The most effective enterprise software will automate and optimize your service delivery chain to provide your organization with seamless, efficient execution and insight.

Do your software solutions provide a comprehensive set of functions for optimizing resources along the service lifecycle? Do you have insight into all areas of your business and all touchpoints? How is your data integrity? Is it maintained throughout the service delivery chain? Are your systems scalable and flexible enough to implement new strategies, adopt new technologies and fundamentally change how you deliver service? These are all questions you should evaluate when auditing your current functionalities and looking for new solutions.

Question 5

Is there a successful use-case you can share?

Answer: Sysmex America is at the forefront of field service innovation and a key example of an organization that has put its customers first while embracing digital transformation. The global manufacturer of blood and urinalysis medical equipment sells to 48 companies in 29 countries, and laboratories and healthcare facilities around the globe rely on the organization to provide quality service to their end customers.

Customers are supported by a team of over 100 field representatives who provide initial implementation and routine, preventative and incident maintenance services to its customers. Sysmex then collects instrument data in real time using IoT sensors to help deliver such offerings as remote customer support and new service applications, all while reducing costs to the business.

Sysmex uses the IFS Field Service Management solution to track and manage service calls and dispatch both field service representatives and parts to customer sites. They also use the IFS solution to turn the data collected from their instruments into a planned maintenance schedule. This digital transformation is shifting the business away from being wholly reactive as, in many cases, it proactively knows when instruments need servicing before the customer needs to calls in.

Sysmex also uses the data to analyze product and performance, logistics performance, cost containment strategies and revenue management. Over time, analysis of this data will enable the service division to build predictive profiles of the machines in the field. Predictive service will optimize machine availability and deliver faster, more and better outcomes for customers.

Sysmex’s customers can expect a high level of equipment uptime because Sysmex is able to achieve faster decision response times, and improved use of service labor through collaborative information exchanges and optimized business processes.

Want more on this topic?

For more expert-to-expert advice and insight, download the Field Service: Aligning the service experience to meet next generation customer expectation eBook.


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3 Responses to “Q&A: Field service organizations and the need to optimize service models”

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