In this extract from a white paper published by ServiceMax we explore the question of sustainability in field service and how as well as being better for our planet it can also be better for a service organisations bottom line as well...
The sustainability initiative may have started out with the sole focus of “doing good” for the environment, but it has now emerged as an important economic performance metric. Today, little doubt remains about the correlation between improved sustainability practices and better financial results. Companies that are committed to sustainability are increasingly efficient, use fewer resources, create less waste to generate a unit of revenue, and produce higher returns on investment.
In fact, Aberdeen found that nearly half of the Best-in-Class companies currently have a service-specific sustainability initiative in place. More telling than current adoption rates is the reason why organisations are looking to sustainability initiatives in the first place - to increase productivity and resource utilisation, enhance speed of service delivery, and eliminate service-related costs.
Likewise, consumers have also shown they are more likely to buy or use the services of a company that supports sustainability. And if the economic performance metrics and customer acquisition weren’t reason enough, sustainability also enhances brand reputation, customer loyalty and retention, as well as employee retention and overall efficiency.
But perhaps what’s less widely known is the role service execution management plays in facilitating and accelerating the execution of sustainability strategies. In the same way that economic metrics joined the choir of sustainability, service delivery has added volume and harmony to the chorus with a natural alignment between sustainability objectives, customer service improvement and financial performance.
Yet many organisations using service execution management technologies to automate, digitise and improve service delivery often overlook the untapped potential of service management with regards to corporate sustainability objectives. While service leaders are busy reaping and measuring the financial and customer satisfaction benefits of service execution management, they are almost certainly helping with corporate sustainability metrics – even if they are unaware they are doing so.
Here we outline three key areas where digitised service execution benefits corporate sustainability and how it can be leveraged.
EQUIPMENT EFFICIENCIES & REDUCED ENERGY CONSUMPTION
Longer Asset Life Expectancy - Thanks to technology advances and better predictive maintenance insights, today’s industrial equipment will have a longer lifespan. The future is equipment-centric, with a paradigm shift
around longer lifespan, all possible thanks to more accurate equipment data, equipment-focused business processes, better service history and insights about operating conditions.
BENEFIT - Less decommissioning, less waste material, and less material consumption for new assets.
Installed Base Management - Knowing where your assets are is also key to sustainability. Tracking equipment accurately allows companies to better understand where their physical installed assets are located, the exact
status of the assets, usage and service history. This enables some parts to be reused, obsolete components to be refurbished, repaired, or recycled, or even properly disposed of in order to minimise waste. Furthermore, the
lifecycle is prolonged.
BENEFIT - Intervention avoidance, less travel, less material usage
Increased Whole-Life Asset Efficiency and Performance - Having the right tools and data increases the efficiency and the whole-lifetime performance of equipment, saving energy and extending its lifecycle. Equipment which is better-maintained not only leads to fewer emergency service calls, but often requires less energy, and generates less emissions.
BENEFIT - Reduced operating expenditure and lower cost of operating the asset.
REDUCING CARBON FOOTPRINT, COSTS AND MEAN TIME TO REPAIR THROUGH BETTER DISPATCH OF TECHNICIANS OR REMOTE SERVICE
Optimising Routes & Fuel Consumption - With large pools of available service technicians on hand, field service management lets companies determine which field service workers are best skilled but also geographically positioned to respond to specific service requests. With the help of scheduling tools, GPS-based tracking devices, route optimisation, and scheduling software dispatchers can identify the routes for resolving multiple work orders with the least environmental impact. A customer location-optimized schedule with geoproductive route planning can also outsmart traffic. Indeed, traffic congestion costs commercial truck drivers $27 billion annually in lost time and fuel – not to mention wear and tear on vehicles.
BENEFIT - Optimise travel
Increasing First Time Fix, Decreases Repeat Visits - This also reduces the need for repeat visits as the best qualified technicians are matched to individual customers, increasing first-time fix rates and eliminating the need for repeat visits. In addition to saving valuable time and fuel, all activity is tracked and monitored on a technician’s mobile device without excessive communications with the company’s back-end offices.
BENEFIT - Avoid travel and associated costs and improve customer satisfaction
Remote Technicians Triage & Diagnostics - Service execution platforms and communications tools also reduce the number of on-site technician visits by fixing equipment remotely. In particular, mobile applications that leverage Augmented Reality technology are making it possible to connect on-site technicians with remote experts, eliminating the need for specialists to drive or even fly around the world to remote locations.
The remote expert can assess the issue and walk the technician through the required repair steps. This will allow a much higher first-time fix rate and avoid repeat visits. Sometimes dispatching a field technician is an
unnecessary expense. With AR-powered video assistance, you can see the issue your customer is facing, and guide them towards resolution. In one year, Sightcall saved Allianz Spain from driving 6.3 million miles for onsite visits (that’s enough to circle the globe 157 times).
BENEFIT - Avoid travel, shorten time to repair, reduce costs
SMARTER PARTS MANAGEMENT CUTS COSTS, WASTE AND IMPROVES PLANNING
Optimising Parts Inventory Reduces Fuel Costs - Having an in-depth view of all your equipment - from the basic location knowledge, to its service status, all the way to real-time production tracking through IoTconnected sensors (smart connected products) - gives a much better chance to meet the demands of both sides: the service and the supply chain organisation. By analysing equipment and service data, you can now predict and receive an alert when a part is about to break. This not only caters for greater assets availability and less parts inventory, but also reducing weight in the vans whilst reducing the overall fuel consumption.
BENEFIT - Less storage, less material usage, less transportation
Reduce Expensive, Unplanned Freight Costs - Knowing the frequency of when parts fail, and the correct intervals for preventative maintenance visits reduces freight costs with fewer ‘emergency’ shipments. If you know what parts you are going to need and when, you can consolidate shipments, sending them directly, and in time for the scheduled jobs to the technician. At a basic level, just knowing where your assets are located, means you can concentrate your inventory in more strategic locations, thus reducing costs and increasing availability -especially if you’re using third-party contractors with limited space/room to maintain an extensive parts inventory.
BENEFIT - Use cost effective transportation, combine shipments
Product Lifecycle – The Delayed Curve - A supply chain is expected to cover the assets through their lifecycle. However, without a system of records for service data you do not have visibility into your installed base, and you can’t align inventory accordingly. That means it’s on a delayed curve which will either result in back orders for new product ranges as the planning tries to catch up or obsolete stock for products as they come to the end of their lifecycle, and usage slows down as planning has not reacted quickly enough. Addressing this issue also means you get insight into the true profitability of a contract or product. Likewise, knowing the top 20 required shipments rather than just focusing on 200 of them makes a huge difference to how to react and prioritise efforts and resources in a supply chain.
BENEFIT - Optimised material usage, less material movements
Sustainable attributes are a natural side effect of good service execution automation. Whilst the initial commercial drivers for investing in service delivery tools and platforms may centre around service and support metrics, it is short-sighted not to factor in the wider sustainability benefits into your service delivery strategy or business case.
As society places increased weight and recognition on sustainability, service delivery management is now playing a critical role, performing an often under appreciated dual purpose in parallel without any additional effort.
Early adopters of service execution platforms have only realised this in hindsight as sustainability has come to the fore. This is now changing with more forward-thinking organisations embracing, leveraging – and indeed measuring – the full range of field service management attributes in the wider context of business performance.
Investment in service execution management platforms pays much greater dividends than were ever originally envisaged. Not only are organisations reaping the primary benefits of service execution management itself – such as reduced cost, increased revenues, increased customer satisfaction and
retention and mitigating contract leakage – but they are also enjoying the ‘double dip’ of simultaneous benefits to their sustainability index.
Thanks to technology advances, automation and wide spread adoption, the ROI of service delivery management is now much wider, far reaching and long lasting than ever previously realised.