Imagine a Microsoft HoloLens that provides service engineers with all necessary information right in their field of vision while on the job, drones that deliver parts that were delivered late and no downtime due to IoT enabled predictive maintenance… The more physical objects and the virtual world come together, the more opportunities arise for technical service providers.

The Internet of Things (IoT) ensures more efficient processes, fewer storage costs, and customer-focused sales. In addition to these commercial advantages, IoT also provides certainty for achieving SLA’s, shorter response times and optimal planning.

When an organization starts to look more closely at its expenses, you often see that service levels deteriorate in proportion to savings. For example, savings will often be made by cutting staff numbers or capping investment in new systems or technology. Yet deploying IoT initiatives doesn’t have to result in cutbacks to such important service components. When IoT is used in the correct way, companies can improve their service level and save money at the same time.

Automating the field service process with IoT

A first step in automating the field service process is to use mobile field service software. If your field service team does not use mobile solutions, your service requests are likely to look like this:

  • A device requires service;
  • The customer asks for service;
  • The field service engineer will drop by;
  • The field service engineer lacks context about the problem;
  • The field service engineer will discover what the problem is;
  • The field service engineer has to come back at a later time to solve the problem due to the lack of material, knowledge, specific skills, or time.

On the other hand, when IoT is deployed to support field service management, a service request looks like this:

  • A device requires to be serviced soon;
  • The device ‘contacts’ the field service organization and gives extensive context about the problem;
  • A field service engineer with the right skills visits and solves the problem.

Not only has the service improved enormously, but the costs have also been reduced. After all, a field service engineer only has to visit the site once to solve the problem preventively.

Research by Microsoft shows that almost 75 percent of field service engineers indicate that they sometimes or always have to go back to the customer because:

  • they do not have the right part;
  • the transaction could not be completed due to the absence of a digital work order;
  • no service contract information was available online;
  • not enough time was taken into account to solve the problem;
  • they did not have the right skills to solve the problem.

Fewer Inspections

In addition to the benefits highlighted above, there is another great advantage of deploying IoT in the context of field service management. Devices that can diagnose themselves and are thus able to automatically share performance indicators in real-time, no longer need routine inspections. If the device indicates that it requires a service, the right field service engineer can be assigned to the correct service assignment using planning software. This can solve problems before the customer suffers.

A new world of ‘SERVICE’

Previously ‘SERVICE’ stood for solving customer problems. Today, IoT has made it possible to change the meaning of this concept into ‘solving problems before the customer becomes aware of a problem’. This involves predictive maintenance. Through the correct use of mobile field service software, predictive maintenance can be structured in such a way that it contributes to increasing the service level and customer satisfaction.

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