Is your field service operation facing competitive disadvantage?
In previous years one of the strongest arguments for adopting or upgrading an FSM solution was that in doing so, you would be able to gain a competitive advantage. However, the prevalence of such systems and the introduction of Cloud-based SaaS models, which have essentially democratised the use of such systems amongst companies of all sizes, has now flipped this notion on its head.
We have now reached a point in the evolution and development of field service delivery that, put simply; it is now incredibly challenging, if not impossible, to meet the demands and expectations of modern customers and executive boards alike, without such systems in place.
Indeed, those companies not implementing at least a fundamental layer of technology across their field service processes, or those not prepared to upgrade from their legacy applications, now risk putting themselves in a position of significant competitive disadvantage.
As we have touched upon lightly a little earlier in this paper, customer expectations have increased significantly in recent years as we move into what is becoming termed ‘the experience economy’.
Service is no longer a mere functional maintenance and repair role. In a world of digitalisation, the field service call often represents one of the very few human-to-human interactions that an organisation will have with their clients. This, in and of itself, has elevated the importance of the service experience.
For the service engineer to merely fix the problem under cover of dark is not enough in today’s world. The engineer must be a true brand ambassador for the customer and the eyes and ears for your sales department as well. They must be able to offer your customers a detailed overview of the performance of their assets, outline where the gaps in their service coverage may be and be able to order required parts and consumables seamlessly and cohesively.
Of course, the requirements of the engineer vary from industry to industry and company to company. However, the overarching megatrend of the engineer evolving from repairman to true brand ambassador is proving to be universal – and underpinning this transformation is the modern FSM system empowering the engineer by putting knowledge, insight and access at his fingertips via the mobile phone in his pocket.
It is worth remembering that in the twenty-first century when it comes to service, you are no longer competing with the companies in your direct sphere of business. You are now competing with the best service experience your customers have ever had.
Why would your customers find it acceptable to wait for days for a part to be delivered from you when they are used to next day delivery from many other suppliers? Why would they find it acceptable only to have an option of morning or afternoon appointments when other suppliers offer them an hourly slot? Why would they be prepared to take the time to explain the detailed history of an issue to your field service engineer when other service providers send their engineers fully armed with a 360-degree view of their business and a detailed knowledge of the asset history and business relationship?
These questions and others like them are fundamental when it comes to assessing how your customers will view your service delivery and ultimately, your business. Indeed, while the technology at our fingertips continues to develop at a rapid pace, the fundamental best practices of business remain timeless.
As Peter Drucker once famously stated, “the essence of the business is outside itself”.
It is important not to forget that at its very heart, the fundamental, primary purpose of a business is inherently simple – to win and retain customers. Other subsequent grand aims will, of course, exist beyond this, such as leading an industry through innovation, securing market leading shareholder profits or even improving society at large. But without achieving this first fundamental, customer-centric aim, any subsequent goals can never be met.
This maxim is becoming even more apparent as we begin to enter an era of service-centric revenue strategies – which are based primarily within the concept of outcome-based advanced service offerings. As we begin to see the learnings of the software sector and the evolution of the SaaS model spread across multiple industry disciplines, as we begin to embrace the Everything as a Service (XaaS) approach to business, then the focus on service delivery becomes ever greater.
This is the new paradigm, whether we call Industrie 4.0, Servitization or the 4th Industrial Revolution we are in the midst of a seismic change in how businesses interact with each other.
It is also worth noting that it is not a movement that has sprung out from nowhere. It is easy to argue that we are at least thirty years into this new ‘revolution’. Indeed, it is today that we are on the tipping point of maturity for many of the key technologies such as Cloud and Mobile that are at the heart of this new wave of industrial engagement.
We are also seeing these same technologies becoming affordable and accessible to service organisations of all shapes and sizes in all industries across the globe, as FSM systems continue to develop. As we have seen throughout this paper, there are core arguments based around both returns on investment and health and safety that can be made to justify an investment in FSM technology.
However, perhaps the most powerful argument of all is ‘can your organisation afford not to invest in such systems while those around you do?’
This is the crucial question that all field service companies must now be contemplating.
This is an extract from a white paper.