The service supply chain battlefield – Part Two: The importance of the front line

Jun 02, 2014 • Featurescentrex servicesglyn doddParts Pricing and Logistics

Glyn Dodd, Managing Director of Centrex Services returns to Field Service News with a new two part feature that outlines his battle plan for the service industry. In the first part of this feature Glyn looked at how the battle for the service supply chain had become based in the industry middle ground. In this concluding part of the feature he outlines why if changes are not made the battle may be lost... 

Reskilling engineers is vital

With technical couriers and middle ground technicians dealing with the majority of incidents, the role of field service engineers has to change in line with the service supply chain. The skilled engineers remain vital; focused at the top of the skill pyramid, providing services within the data centre and other complex technology areas such as multi-functional devices and networks. However, they will need to be deployed in a different way to provide the most cost-effective model possible and employed in far less quantities than they are today.

The level of expertise skilled engineers have should never be overlooked. When technology stops working, businesses stop working and it is often this vital part of the service which enables companies to get back up and running again, within the service level agreement.  We simply need to readdress the economics of demand, aligning skill to activity to service revenue model.

If we don’t change the approach, the battlefield will intensify, providers will lose money and customers will lose faith in the service. This would be disastrous. The industry and the associated channel will continue to be viewed as non-strategic, causing confusion between customers, those in the field and the so called specialists providing the service.

Modernising technical support

As well as rejuvenating the service, remodelling the cost and ensuring the workforce is effectively deployed, the service supply chain must be connected in an intelligent way - centralised around astute contact centre services.  Each process can be challenged and streamlined, culminating in a chain that is valuable, capable, available, adequate and flexible.

Modernisation is vital to the future stability of after sales support. It’s clear that the current technology support model is not fit for purpose and is actively harming the industry. We all talk and think about putting the customer first, but taking a holistic view of this industry, it seems no one is designing these services with customer satisfaction in mind.

The delivery infrastructure needs a complete overhaul, moving away from the fragmented supply chain currently plaguing technology support towards a more streamlined, connected approach. Redesigning the interaction between each element of the supply chain, from control centre to repair, will breed high-quality service.

We must redesign the battlefield as by changing the thinking, creating greater intelligence and deploying with full traceability, the middle ground break-fix will cease to be the daily battle-zone. Instead, technology support will profit from a lean, customer first service supply chain, once again adding true value for the customer.