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Just because we tell our people we want them to be Trusted Advisors, does not mean they will succeed. We can give them mobile systems to escalate leads to sales, implement compensation systems and KPI’s to encourage behaviour, and provide training on service offers, but without embedding a Trusted Advisor mindset into our service teams, these efforts will be wasted.
The good news is that many of the traits of Trusted Advisors are already in the DNA of good service people. What they need is clarity on their role and an understanding of how to talk to customers so that they achieve a WIN, WIN, WIN:
• A Win for the customer so that every conversation they have moves them closer to their goal;
• A Win for the company to develop customer loyalty and profitability;
• A Win for themselves so they feel great about their job.
What makes a Trusted Advisor different? At the very minimum they are good customer problem solvers. What starts to differentiate them from others is their ability to have meaningful conversations with customers that always seem to move towards solutions. They are able to provide options together with the benefits for various decision the customer might make. They normally have a high level of personal maturity in that they do not try to tell customers what to THINK. Instead they influence them by what they SAY and DO, and because they consistently deliver, customers trust their advice.
As the notion of a Trusted Advisor is widely used across sales & service, the job context is extremely important. For example, in field service and technical support the Trusted Advisor role is more about providing options than closing deals. Whereas in sales it is more about how we build rapport and credibility within a consultative selling process. Clearly understanding the context in which the Trusted Advisor mindset is being developed is vitally important to successful adoption.
In all cases, importance of having a great conversation cannot be underestimated. Technical people can have a tendency to focus more on the narrow problem than the wider customer relationship. This can lead them to missing important data in the problem-solving process and so failing to find the route cause.
Or just as important, the company misses out on opportunities to add value to the customers business whether that be through helpful advice or the identification of commercial activities. Another challenge many technical people have is that without realising it, they can talk in a way which makes customers defensive or aggressive. For example the next time you are having a conversation, listen for the “…yes, but…”. You may notice that it is a way of saying NO, which probably pulls up really negative feelings for you the listener. The trick is to learn the language that turns these negative situations into positive outcomes.
"Technical people can focus more on the narrow problem than the wider customer relationship..."
Sales people also need good conversations, and in particular understanding the art of closing the deal without losing their rapport with the customer. This is a very different version of Trusted Advisor and it is important not to get the sales version mixed up with technical service.
Service leaders who want to improve how their teams communicate with customers, might consider having the following conversations with their own people:
Clarify what you mean by a Trusted Advisor and the role they play in your organisation. In particular the customer needs and what makes them successful, as well as your companies business goals. This is where distinguishing the difference between selling and advising will be absolutely critical to your success
Develop a Mindset where every conversation we have with customers moves them a step closer to their goal. It may not be the complete solution, but it is a step in the right direction no matter how bad and uncomfortable the situation is. This very basic philosophy is key to training your people to deal with conflict, as well encourage them to have dynamic and collaborative relationships through solution orientated language.
Provide Tools and methods that allow us to actively listen, to talk more effectively, to manage conflict and resolve difficult customer situations. These tools are critical to helping us to prepare ourselves to be a Trusted Advisor in what can be challenging and stressful situations.
Practice in real-life scenarios with your team to see how they react under stress. We are constantly amazed at how confident many service people are about talking to customers in a training environment, yet it all falls apart in a customer situation.
Refresh: Developing how your team interacts with customers is not a one-off event and needs to be constantly mentored and coached.
If you want to develop the Trusted Advisor in your teams, then in addition to processes and propositions, you will need to start to have conversations about their role in the business, the listening skills they must develop and the language to use in order to create dynamic solution orientated relationships.
If you would like to know more about developing Trusted Advisor programmes in your business, then you can contact nick at email@example.com or visit the si2 website here.
Let’s travel back to 1999, the year of the Palm VII, seen as the first truly wireless handheld device. Chris was (and still is) a fan. “It was why I got into wireless,” he says with nostalgia. “The idea that we run little applications on mobile devices was hugely inspiring to me. It was amazing because, until that moment, most of our experiences were from a dial-up modem in hour homes and we’d sit in front of our PCs, and that was how we got content and communicated with people.
“Now all of a sudden with this mobile device we were able to view content and share things with people. It really became the beginning of mobility and mobile applications. Starbucks had an app where you could find stores. It was really amazing, you could find coffee on your Palm VII.”
Is it collecting dust in Chris’ loft? “I might have it in a box somewhere,” he says laughing. “I tend to keep all my devices. I know I have seven generations of BlackBerries up there. They soon became my addiction."
“Mobile device improvements have been modest ones,” he says when I ask him about the evolution of mobility hardware. “They are mostly around cameras and screens but the underlying tech has been pretty stagnant for several years and generations now. It means it’s becoming a pretty mature market, just like the PC,” he suggested.
Chris has been with Glympse just over a year now, prior, he spent a significant chunk of time – 18 years – at connected car technology and automotive telematics provider Xevo where he joined in its infancy, overseeing various executive positions and becoming its President, CEO and Chairman. He remains on the board.
"Starbucks had an app where you could find stores. It was amazing, you could find coffee on your Palm VII...”
The potential of automotive technology, therefore, forms a good part of our conversation, most notably when I ask where he sees the next big disruption in field service. “I believe that in the big Iot space that autonomous driving will create a huge change in field service,” he says. “It’s going to make everything more productive, it will improve communications with consumers and it’s going to make it safer. I think this will re-shape the industry more than any tech enhancement than we have today.
He also cites machine learning as a significant enabler in the sector, providing service in real-time and pre-empting faults but he thinks another pinch point could be the way a product is delivered, syncing with the arrival of the technician.
“We’re currently looking at way of tracking two or more things simultaneously, in a healthcare scenario, for example,” he explains. “Here a skilled nurse and the drugs they need to administer need to be at the patient’s house at the same time.
“You could see that in some of the advanced field services and even big machinery cases; where the part and tech show up at the same time, assisted by machine learning that alerts the service company when the asset is about to break.”
I ended the podcast by asking what motivates Chris in his work. His answer is wide-ranging that touches on potential of technology as well as making a difference in society. “I’m motivated by two things,” he says. One is being able to continually push the envelope of what’s available using technology. Two is making a difference in the world.
Can he cite an example? “During the hurricane season, while the search and rescue operations were taking place, teams were using Glympse to keep track of each other, ensuring they wouldn’t lose touch while they carried out the task.
“That to me is super inspiring. That I can work on technology that actually makes a difference in people’s lives.”
Without doubt the use of analytics is having an increasing impact in field service. In 2018 we saw more interest than ever from field service leaders wanting better insight into their business and they understand that analytics holds the key to this.
We are expecting a further shift in the way analytics is applied in field service so what are the main challenges that organisations face that analytics can address today?
The Evolution of Analytics
The early adopters of field service analytics were quick to realise that it was not simply data that mattered, but how the data was turned into information that was key. They focused on how data was aggregated from multiple sources to give a unique and unprecedented visibility into the end-to-end operations.
They took a basic understanding of the ‘what’ and ‘where’ and enabled the next leap of the ‘why’ with advanced analytics capabilities that truly enhanced the value of their data further still. Analytics provided business insight and allowed management to focus on taking action based on decisions made from the real-time information available. Operational issues can be more easily identified and rectified quickly and effectively. Business intelligence helps identify trends and creates context, so productivity can be improved, and efficiencies made, so field service organisations have reaped the benefits.
Learn More, Serve More, Grow More
As field service organisations mature in their use of analytics they demand more from business intelligence. There is a definite shift in the application of analytics from simply turning data into outcomes, to enabling leading companies to take a more strategic approach. Analytic driven organisations can learn more about their operational performance and the needs of their customers empowering them to address the trends that are revealed.
Going forward into 2019 we will see analytical data being used in unique ways to help field service organisations leverage the findings that are uncovered to drive innovation into their products and services. Forward-thinking companies will be able to apply these insights to help customise the service they offer to their customers more easily, deepening the customer relationship and improving levels of satisfaction.
The creation of new, unique, predictive and preventative services will help them to serve more. Ultimately this greater understanding of their customers’ needs and expectations, is what will help companies differentiate themselves from their competition and lead company growth.
This shift to a strategic use of data is becoming more and more prevalent in field service and leaders are making it a priority in their business drivers.
"As field service organisations mature in their use of analytics they demand more from business intelligence..."
An Integrated Future
As company leaders recognise that field service has the potential for becoming a more strategic driver within the wider business, the need for improved integration within the business becomes even more critical.
Service teams have, in the past, often been considered to be simply an overhead within the business model rather than adding value. However, the ability to leverage information across the organisation in real time and bring additional context to the broader business insights, empowers field service organisations to become value drivers in the business.
Analytics provides the means for field service organisations to realise their potential and companies that recognise this value, see the importance of a closely integrated and connected field service within the wider business.
Field service solutions have long had the capability to integrate into other business systems, such as CRM, ERP and accounting, to extend the power of these solutions and the combined information provided. Business leaders understand that the true integration of these technologies maximises the overall value beyond the sum of the parts. A comprehensive field service management platform integrated with a suite of solutions is where we are seeing the greatest application of analytics.
As field service becomes a greater part of a fully connected business, the empowered field workforce, armed with contextual insights, are enabled to creatively interact and work with other teams and departments. These new interactions further unlock the value for the company in terms of customer service, sales or product development to fuel competitive advantage.
The Analytics Advantage
Analytics will continue to develop and the potential in field service is vast. It is no surprise that research consistently shows that field service leaders see analytical tools as a priority for their technology investments.
Business insights elevate the field service operation, transforming it to a value-driving organisation within the wider company, that delivers real results: Increasing productivity, customer satisfaction and revenue, taking service to the next level of providing competitive advantage – a vital step in any business.
Companies should take full and rapid advantage of the critical role analytics has in field service.
Mark Tatarsky, is SVP Marketing at FieldAware and will be part of a panel at Field Service USA, discussing the latest developments in field service analytics. The event takes place from April 23 to 26 at JW Marriott Palm Desert Resort and Spa, CA and ou can register for the conference here.
For more information on how to take advantage of analytics in your field service, visit FieldAware's Insights page here.
Apr 01, 2019 • Features
Serial tech entrepeneur Elon Musk, who has been central in a number of innovations that have reshaped human civilisation such as PayPal and Tesla has entered the world of field service...
Serial tech entrepeneur Elon Musk, who has been central in a number of innovations that have reshaped human civilisation such as PayPal and Tesla has entered the world of field service...
However, as with anything Musk appears to turn his hand to he is not just entering the market as also rans but with the aim of being true industry disruptors. His new organisation FixET is incredibly set to become the first extraterrestrial third party maintenance provider from the planet Earth.
Musk, who revealed his latest venture, on a surprise appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast late last night, has often expressed his belief that humans will soon grow beyond the Earth and via his SpaceX organisation is playing a pivotal role in making that happen. But whilst Musk often positions himself as something of a loveable, mad genius, this outward persona often belies a business man who has an uncanny knack of seeing market opportunities years before his peers - and it appears this is very much behind the thinking of his latest venture, basically to dominate a market of 'space maintenance' whilst it is in its very, very embryonic stages.
"Well, if you think about it, it makes perfect sense" Musk commented on the Rogan's show, the most popular podcast in the world, which Musk had also appeared on previously.
"Whilst it might not be the most headline grabbing sector, field service and third party maintenance is actually what keeps everything else working. Without field service, all other industries would fail. Now, the thing is, I have a vested interest in the burgeoning space industry because of Space X, and I also have a good understanding of service via both Tesla as a provider but also The Boring Co as a recipient of field service in a really heavy industry environment."
"So, the space industry will invariably need an ancillary field service sector as it grows, to provide that essential layer of support, and right now there was no-one better placed to do it, so I thought, yeah why not."
It also emerged during the discussion that Musk's new business is already at a deep level of negotiation with the US Defence Department to provide ongoing maintenance support for not only NASA (who Musk's SpaceX already have a close working relationship with) but also the newly formed US Space Core, which President Trump announced last year alongside the creation of a new division of Space Marines. Our sources at the White House were unable to give an official confirmation on this, but an unnamed source commented "This could be the biggest field service contract in the entire galaxy".
In my role as Managing Director EMEA with Astea I speak to a lot of field service professionals. As is the nature of our industry, these folks come from companies of all shapes and sizes and from many different industries – which can lead to many varying, often highly nuanced views as to what ‘service excellence’ is.
For some of our customers ‘speed of response times’ may be key, for others it’s ‘first-time-fix rates’, for others still it may be ‘effective time’.
However, looking back on the conversations I’ve had across the last twelve months, there is one constant challenge pervasive amongst field service organisations. Indeed, I’d go as far as saying that across the board, service leaders are facing a new reality that can be summed up in one word - change.
Ours is Not a Sector That Stays Still For Long
The field service industry is not and never has been, one for ever standing still too long. Remember, ours is the industry that was sending data back from the field long before the likes of Apple and Samsung had put the internet in everyone’s pocket and the best-in-class companies in our sector today are often those who innovated their way out of the global financial crisis in 2008 by placing their service offerings at the heart of their solutions.
So it is through a lens of confidence and anticipation that I look now at our industry once more going through widespread change.
We are witnessing significant change in many core areas of field service at the moment, including changes in our workforce structures to include more short-term labor. Even the very role of the field service engineers themselves is rapidly evolving as more emphasis is being placed on quality customer interactions that lead to higher customer satisfaction and hopefully, higher shareof-wallet.
The service engineer has historically been the relationship managers since they have the most one-on-one time with the customer. Now companies are putting formal training in place to ensure technicians have the right customer service skills and the right mind-set for being the brand ambassadors. And field service technology is helping companies make this shift by adding checklists that can guide technician behaviour through things like upselling and cross-selling initiatives.
"I look now at our industry once more going through widespread change..."
As I mentioned at the top, different companies will prioritise different KPIs according to their own internal goals and targets. Yet, one thing that we at Astea are seeing across all service related industries, is the ever-increasing importance of customer satisfaction. This is where field service organisations can find a real competitive advantage.
In a world of digitalisation, Artificial Intelligence and automation, the field service call represents something that is becoming a rare and hugely valuable commodity – genuine face-to-face interaction with customers. In today’s service economy, this is an opportunity that cannot be overlooked.
One KPI To Rule Them All?
Customer Satisfaction is increasingly becoming the KPI for field service organisations, and it is not just for the more abstract concepts within business strategy such as brand perception either – there are very clear, tangible economic reasons why field service companies should realign their KPIs more towards CSAT as opposed to more traditional operational KPIs such as First-time-fix or mean-time-to-repair. For example, for those working in business to consumer verticals, I would point to research published in the Harvard Business Review that revealed that consumers who receive the highest standards of service spend 140% more than those who receive the poorest service, whilst data from
American Express revealed 86% of consumers will pay more for better service. The bottom line is that better service means better revenue opportunities. However, a focus on CSAT KPIs isn’t just for B2C companies, it is just as vital in B2B sectors also. For a start, the lines for service in both segments are continuously blurring as the bar for high quality service continues to be raised in all sectors. But once again, there is also a wealth of data to support the argument for focussing on CSAT for B2B organisations. For example, research by Bain and Company shows that just a 5% increase in customer retention will typically see profit increases of anywhere between 25% and 95%.
Besides guiding technician behaviour, there are other ways that field service management (FSM) platforms can help companies prioritise CSAT, including self-service web portals and mobile apps where customers have more visibility and control over their service relationship. Other ways FSM platforms can help is giving companies the ability to communicate with customers in modern ways that are more often seen in B2C relationships. For example, automated workflows can easily be set up to send text messages or email alerts letting customers know about a change in a service order status.
It’s clear that we are entering an era of new opportunities. Of course, in such times the challenges can be daunting and discussions of how to move forward are often complex. This is why I’m looking forward to hosting a series of round tables at this year’s Field Service Summit in Warwick, where I intend to dig deeper into the changes the field service sector is heading through and how we can embrace them.
John Hunt is Managing Director EMEA at Astea
In the latest Field Service Podcast, Nick Frank, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Si2 Partners of Field Nation, discusses the ethos behind The Service Community, a knowledge-sharing, independent service members' group and looks forward to the...
In the latest Field Service Podcast, Nick Frank, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Si2 Partners of Field Nation, discusses the ethos behind The Service Community, a knowledge-sharing, independent service members' group and looks forward to the organisation's next gathering taking place at Renishaw's HQ in Gloucestershire, UK.
In this episode, Field Service News Deputy Editor Mark Glover, speaks to one of the spearheads behind The Service Community, Nick Frank, who explains the origins of the group's and explains its future goals. Nick also shares some of the challenges that members are highlighting in the service sector and tells us what delegates can expect at the association's next gathering taking place at the beginning of April.
You can find out more information about The Service Community here and sign-up for the group's forthcoming event at Renishaw's HQ in Gloucestershire on 2 April here.
Proactive Service® is a term I use to describe the proactive efforts by field service personnel to promote their company’s products in services to help their customers achieve their business goals. It is an excellent way to differentiate your service and stand out in today’s ultra-competitive environment.
If you encourage your field service team to look for opportunities to promote your services, here are seven questions to ask yourself to help you ensure that you are getting the most from your efforts.
1. Is opportunity identification part of your service deliverable?
This is the most important question and is the biggest determinate of overall success. When the subject of field service personnel promoting services comes up, it is often viewed as a selling activity that is in addition to regular service work. This is unfortunate since when our field team take steps to uncover opportunities that they feel will benefit the customer in some way, they are providing a valuable service – a service as valuable as their ability to maintain the equipment in top running condition.
As a service, the act of finding new opportunities is not an “add-on” activity for the field team to do “while they are there”, but an integral part of the field service person’s expected service deliverable. Our field teams have an obligation to bring forward ideas that will help the customer achieve results they may not have thought possible. When we take this perspective, it becomes easier to win enthusiastic support from our team of field service professionals. From this perspective, it is also easier for us to recognize the importance of implementing specific tools and processes to formalize this “opportunity identification” role. (See Question 4 below).
How well do you integrate business development by your field team as part of your service to your customers?
2. Do your technicians recognize the valuable service they provide by making recommendations to help their customers be more successful?
Many of the service professionals that I have met do not see their role as a salesperson. They tend to leave sales activities to the people with the expense accounts and fancy cars. What these service professionals fail to see is that, with a service perspective, we are not asking them to sell at all.
By identifying and speaking with the customer about the actions that the customer can take that will help them improve operational performance, reduce costs, improve tenant satisfaction, etc. is a valuable part of the service.
This is important because, it will be difficult to get enthusiastic engagement from your team if they don’t see their proactive business development efforts as part of the service that they provide. They may give it lip service, but it is unlikely that they will put their hearts into the effort.
How about your service team? What do they think of your expectation for them to promote your services? Do they talk as if their efforts are a sale or a service?
3. Do you “talk the walk”?
Language is important. Your team will scrutinize what you say in an effort to understand what you mean. For example, if you tell everyone that their proactive efforts is a service but you talk about it as if it is a sale, then they will think that your service idea was just for show. Or if you reward individual team members for their “sales” efforts but do not put emphasis on the “service” they have provided to the customer, your words will not be consistent with your purpose.
How about you? How do you describe the proactive efforts of your field team? How well do you talk the walk?
"Many of the service professionals that I have met do not see their role as a salesperson..."
4. Do your processes support your business development strategy?
There are implications from this approach on the processes used to support business development activities by technicians in the field. Because lead handling becomes just as important as lead generation, the successful firm will have to ensure that they have a failsafe process for handling leads from the field and following up on them in a timely manner.
What processes do you have in place to help the field service professional uncover opportunities? What questions do you require them to ask when they arrive on sight that might reveal problems that you can address? What steps can they take before leaving?
Think about your processes around the proactive efforts of your team. Are they consistent in quality and scope with the processes and systems you have in place to support the other services you provide?
5. Does your field service team have the skills and knowledge to deliver on the strategy?
Skills development is an integral part of the strategy. Service technicians will have to become as good at interpersonal skills as they are with their technical ones. They will need to be comfortable in speaking with the customer about their ideas and the benefits of taking action. Service management will need to be skilled at coaching and in opportunity management. Training on these interpersonal and communication skills will drive improved learning and skills adoption.
Knowledge is also critical. How well does your team know about the various products and services you offer and how they benefit your customers? You might be surprised by the answer. In my experience, there are gaps in the field team’s knowledge about their company’s capabilities. If the field service person doesn’t know of a product or service or if they do not know enough about it to engage the customer in a high level conversation about it, they will not bring it up to the customer.
What about your team? Do you ensure they have at least a conversational knowledge about all of the ways you can help your customers?
6. Do you tell your customers what you are doing? If you were to add a new service to your portfolio, would you tell your customers about it? Of course you would. So, if your field team is providing an exceptional service by using their knowledge and expertise to identify ways to help your customers be more successful why not tell your customers?
We should tell our customers this, just like we would tell them about any other service that we offer that would benefit them. Perhaps the conversation might look like this:
“We have encouraged our field service team to use their knowledge and expertise to identify opportunities to help you achieve your business goals. If they identify an opportunity that will benefit your business, would you have any objection if they bring their ideas to your attention?”
Do your customers know what your field team is doing through their proactive efforts and how it benefits them?
7. Do you measure the effectiveness of your efforts beyond revenues? If you engage your field service team in the promotion of your products and services, chances are you measure the increase in revenues. What additional business have we won that can be attributed to the efforts of the field team? But, if these proactive efforts are a service, shouldn’t we expect more results than simply improved sales?
What about customer satisfaction and retention? If a customer sees value in the proactive efforts of our team, should we not expect to see improvements in these areas? How about the amount of unplanned emergency work as a percentage of the contract base? If we take proactive steps to help our customers avoid unexpected failures, would it be reasonable to expect to see a change in the relationship between unplanned and planned work? And what about our customers’ level of satisfaction with the proactive efforts of our field team? Are they comfortable with their proactive efforts?
When it comes to assessing the impact of the proactive efforts of your field service team, what do you measure? What do you manage?
There is a tremendous opportunity to differentiate our service from our competitors through the proactive efforts of our field service professionals but unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we may not be achieving the results we had hoped when we embarked on the initiative – either for ourselves or for our customers.
Asking questions to help us reflect on our efforts may give us some insight to improve our effectiveness and further increase the level of service we are providing our customers.
Jim Baston is President of the BBA Consulting Group Inc.
Mar 27, 2019 • Features • Advanced Services Group • Aston Centre for Servitization Research and Practi • Data Capture • Future of FIeld Service • manufacturing • Monetizing Service • Professor Tim Baines • Servitization • tim baines
Digital technologies, IoT and digitalisation have been big topics in the manufacturing sector. Combined with services, digital seems to be the answer for a multitude of manufacturing questions, if you take the hype at face value.
But for many manufacturers, digital actually raises more questions than it answers, with one particular question at the centre: how to capture the value of digitally-enabled services?
The Advanced Services Group at Aston Business School has recently released a whitepaper on performance advisory services, which aims to cut through the hype and provide clear information and insight into how manufacturers can make the most of digitally-enabled services.
Real business insight
In this whitepaper, we wanted to reflect real business insight and real business challenges. We invited senior executives from a range of manufacturing companies - from multinationals such as GE Power and Siemens to local SMEs – for a structured debate on digitally-enabled services.
The discussion and its outcomes formed the basis of the research for the whitepaper and helped crystallise the three areas that are most important to manufacturers:
1. Performance intelligence and data as a service offering;
2. How to capture value from these services;
3. How to approach the design process to achieve success.
What are performance advisory services?
The process by which a manufacturer transforms it business model to focus on the provision of services, not just the product, is called servitization. Generally, we distinguish three types of services. Base services, such as warranties and spare parts, are standard for many manufacturers and focus on the provision of the product. Intermediate services, such as maintenance, repair and remanufacturing, focus on the condition of the product. Advanced services take a step further and focus on the capability that the product enables.
In this framework, performance advisory services are situated in between intermediate and advanced services. Typically, these are services that utilise digital technologies to monitor and capture data on the product whilst in use by the customer. These insights can include data on performance, condition, operating time and location – valuable intelligence that is offered back to the customer, in order to improve asset management and increase productivity.
Why are they attractive to manufacturers?
Performance advisory services are attractive to manufacturers because they allow the creation and capture of value from digital technologies that are likely in use already. Take the example of a photocopier - with the addition of sensors that monitor paper and toner stocks, it can send alerts when stocks are getting low. This kind of data is valuable to the customer, as it will help improve inventory management and avoid service disruptions or downtime, but it is also valuable to the manufacturer in helping them understand how the product is used, providing data that they can use to re-design products or to develop and offer new services.
Making money from performance advisory services.
Performance advisory services offer the manufacturer the potential to capture value either directly or indirectly and there is a strong business case for either. Whilst charging a fee directly for data or a service provided is compelling, the potential indirect value for the manufacturer should not be underestimated, as it can yield not only greater control and further sales, but also new and innovative offers, as well as improved efficiencies.
"Performance advisory services are situated in between intermediate and advanced services..."
In the photocopier scenario, the data generated could be sold to the customer as a service subscription, thus earning money directly.
Alternatively, the manufacturer could use the data generated for maintenance programmes or pre-emptive toner and paper sales, thus earning money indirectly. In reality, however, direct and indirect value capture are likely to go hand in hand. A prime example of this is equipment manufacturer JCB, whose machines are fitted with technology to alert the customer if the equipment leaves a predefined geographical area.
For the customer, knowing the exact location of the equipment is valuable – as it may have been stolen. But it also greatly improves efficiency for the manufacturer when field technicians are sent out for maintenance work and do not lose time locating the vehicle.
Performance advisory services - just one step on the journey to servitization
Performance advisory services present a compelling business case for manufacturers looking to innovate services through digital technologies, in order to improve growth and business resilience.
With the immediate opportunity to capture value, these digitally-enabled services are a first step for many manufacturers towards more service-led strategies and servitization.
But that is what they are – just one step on the journey to servitization. Manufacturers looking to compete through services should not stop with performance advisory services.
In the environment of a more and more outcome based economy, it is imperative to understand the potential of taking a step further to advanced services and to recognise performance advisory services as a step toward this.
The full whitepaper Performance Advisory Services: A pathway to creating value through digital technologies and servitization by The Advanced Services Group at Aston Business School is available for purchase online here.
This April, Copperberg is returning to the Warwick Conference Centre for its 4th Annual Field Service Summit and 2nd Annual Spare Parts Summit, bringing over the course of two days 200+ service and parts leaders from the UK manufacturing industry. Chaired by Andy Neely of the Cambridge Service Alliance, both days will be filled with intense group discussions and inspiring keynotes.
First up on 3 April, The Field Service Summit will focus on how to move from a service culture to an experience economy.
The right customer experience directly translates to economic gains and differentiation as premium service. With the growing number of connected devices, easier integration of new sensors and the rise of automation in the field, customers now demand a more memorable experience. The experiences consist of being able to make the customer participate, connect and build a relationship with the service, assuring loyalty in the long term. To be able to shift from a service culture to one based on capabilities and outcomes demands organisations need to go the extra mile in providing prompt, accurate and reliable solutions in the short customer attention span.
This shift requires developing internal competencies and changing leadership style while finding seamless solutions, to make field service memorable customer experiences.
At the 3rd Annual Field Service Summit UK in April 2018, more than 120 field Service Directors gathered to learn how to use the latest advances in software technologies to improve their connection points with their customers and maximise their service operations’ financial performance.
In 2019, The Field Service Summit returns with an even more engaging value proposition: entering the era of the Experience Economy with an outcome based service strategy.
Memorable keynotes will include Rajat Kakar, Vice President, Head of Product Related Services at Fujitsu on Preparing your CEO for the Unprecedented Service Digital Disruption. Other keynotes will include Airstream, IFS, SightCall, Salesforce, ebecs, clicksoftware, and regular Field Service News contributor, Bill Pollock from Strategies for Growth.
The highpoint of the event, though, will be the idea blitzes: 16 group discussions on distinct and dedicated topics within field service management that will run four times throughout the day, for intense discussions.
Then on 4 April, the 2nd Annual Spare Parts Summit will take place, focusing on putting availability at the core of a manufacturer’s strategy.
Spare Parts is the money-maker of a service division; however, in a time of great uncertainty, where the boundaries of competition are crushed wide open by tech giants and technological breakthroughs, and where global trade agreements are under constant threat by protectionist governments, the need for change and innovation is more important than ever.
"Spare Parts is the money-maker of a service division..."
The 2nd Annual Spare Parts Summit will guide you through the most modern tools and strategies to ensure that your customers’ expectations, availability, is ensured. The event will offer engaging peer discussions to discuss how to not only digitize service offerings for the benefit of customers and profit margins but how digitalisation will impact spare parts businesses and the industry as a whole.
The event will also look at pricing strategy as a key to business growth, and how to be coherent in pricing approaches in an omnichannel environment where ecommerce becomes a vital tool to lock in customers and fend off competition.
Finally, the event will also showcase innovations in warehouse management, supply chain optimization, and how to use IoT for parts failure predictions in order to ensure that manufacturers always deliver the right part at the right time.
Some keynotes to look out for: the Increasing Influence of Ecommerce in The Industrial Aftermarket by Carl Daintree from Sandvik. In this session, Carl will highlight Consumer/Customer behaviour analysis, and their new expectations regarding a seamless online experience with 24/7 access to information as well as why manufacturers are now working towards utilising Ecommerce as their primary sales channel, and exploring the benefits of this strategy.
Another keynote to look forward to: When reality trumps value-based pricing of spare parts - Moving beyond from Price Setting to Price Getting by Matias Mäkelä, Pricing Manager at Kalmar Services.
The session will focus on how even state-of-the-art product segmentation, carefully built value-based price structures maintained by modern pricing tool do not always guarantee the optimal result in final net prices. Matias will share his hands-on experiences on tackling margin erosion due to various indirect factors affecting net price getting.
With over 200+ service and parts leader in attendance over two days, the Warwick Conference Centre will once again be host to the UK’s largest business conference for service leaders in the UK, with a unique format putting delegates at the forefront of the program with the idea blitzes.
You can register for the Field Service Summit here and the Spare Parts Summit here.
Of all the technologies currently vying for the attention of field service professionals, 3D printing is the one that appeals most to the imagination.
Sure, Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence are exciting, and the use-case for both is becoming stronger. But how about a printer that prints a tangible, useful component? A spare part that an engineer can produce and integrate while out on a job. What if 3D printers with robot arms were the final part of a first-time fix process, working in tandem with selfmending, machine learning assets?
I say the above with tongue firmly in cheek. I think we’re a long way from a technician-free fixing procedure; in fact, I think the human, engineer element will always be a constant, but you can see why the technology gets the juices flowing.
That said, the concept of 3D printing or additive manufacturing is not as new as we might think and has been in a period of gestation for nearly 40 years. Its first milestone was in 1981 when Dr. Hideo Kodama from the Nagoya Municipal Industrial Research Institute published an account of a working photopolymer rapid prototyping system. A machine that produced photo-hardened materials, corresponding to a cross-slice of a model, that when layered create 3D tangible parts.
Unfortunately, lack of funds meant Doctor Kodomo was unable to pursue his theories but American Charles Hull, in 1984 etched (or printed) his name in history by inventing stereolithography which used digital data to produce the 3D model. Then in the early 90s, the world’s first Selective Lasering Sintering (SLS) machine was invented, which shot out a powder, rather than a liquid, to build a solid (if slightly imperfect) 3D object.
The turn of the millennium saw the medical sector fully embrace 3D printing when over the space of ten years, scientists were able to create a miniature kidney, a prosthetic limb and bio-printed the first blood vessels using only human cells.
But where are we now with the technology and what manufacturing industries are really squeezing out the potential of additive manufacturing?
“We do not have enough people who can design a product for 3D printing..."
“The forerunners of the adoption of these technologies have been the aerospace and automotive sectors,” says Atanu Chaudhuri an Associate Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management at the University of Aalborg and an expert in additive manufacturing. “However, there are a lot of other industrial manufacturers who are exploring this but are at different stages of adoption.”
I recently recorded a podcast with Atanu, ahead of his presentation at the Spare Parts Business Platform in Stockholm, which focused on the 3D printing of manufactured spare parts. With producers at various stages of integration, I asked what challenges they faced.
“One of the most critical challenges is the lack of skills,” he says. “We do not have enough people who can design a product for 3D printing, who can understand the process and technology. However, I think the companies who have invested in the machines, they have taken a step forward, but it is always a costly investment and there has to be a strong business case.”
The business case is essential when discussing any adoption of technology not just in additive manufacturing but in other young technologies. Boards are keen to see a genuine return on its investment especially when it carries financial risk.
However, in the case of 3D printing, Chaudhuri urges companies to take a long-view. “If a company was to do a one-to-one comparison with existing manufacturing technology, it’s most likely that 3D printing will not be suitable,” he admits.
“But if you take a more life—cycle perspective and look beyond the cost on a part-to-part comparison or look at the usage of the part over a lifetime of the product, say 15 or twenty years, suddenly you will see a huge difference.
“You will not be having a lot of inventory, you reduce the inventory carrying costs and maybe the environment will benefit, you will use fewer materials and suddenly the business case looks much better,” he says.
Atanu is an enthusiastic, yet realistic advocate of the technology and its infrastructure. Alluding to his earlier point of training, he admits that universities can come under scrutiny for not providing enough skilled workers, however when I ask what inspires him to do what he does, he cites his students and the role they will eventually play in the future integration of additive manufacturing as a key influence.
“It’s a motivation for me to train the next generation of engineers, industrial engineers or supply chain professionals who are ready to take on the world of digital manufacturing.
“I get immense satisfaction when my students graduate and get positions at the top companies and I can continue working with them. That is the main motivation I have,” he concludes.
You can listen to the Field Service Podcast with guest Atanu Chaudhuri here.