Field Service Europe returns once more to the NH Krasnopolski in Amsterdam in December 10th and 11th this year. Take a look at the preview of the event and be sure to keep an eye out for an exclusive FSN subscriber discount coming to your inbox...
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Field Service Europe returns once more to the NH Krasnopolski in Amsterdam in December 10th and 11th this year. Take a look at the preview of the event and be sure to keep an eye out for an exclusive FSN subscriber discount coming to your inbox in the next few weeks!
Mar 06, 2017 • Features • Aston Centre for Servitization Research and Practi • copperberg • Cranfield University • FSN20 • Future of FIeld Service • Jonathan Massoud • Mark Brewer • Mark Holleran • WBR • Xplore Technologies • Bill Pollock • Dr John Erkoyuncu • field service • field service europe • Field Service Forum • Field Service Medical • Field Service Summit • Field Service USA • IFS • Strategies for GrowthSM • sumair dutta • The Service Council • Thosas Igou • tim baines
Who are the most influential people in the global field service sector that you need to pay attention to in 2017?
Who are the most influential people in the global field service sector that you need to pay attention to in 2017?
The Field Service News #FSN20 is our list of the individuals we believe will be key influencers in our industry across the next twelve months. Those included in the list have been selected by our own panel of industry insiders, who were given the simple criteria of identifying people who will have a significant impact on field service thinking.
However, more than just an annual list of 20 individuals the #FSN20 has grown since it’s launch to become a true celebration of excellence and innovation within our industry.
There are some familiar names and some new faces on this years list and as always we don’t expect everyone to agree with our selection - at it’s heart the #FSN20 was conceived as a tool to get everyone in our industry thinking about who it is that they have come across in the global field service sector that has made them think, who has made them question the accepted paradigms, who has inspired them to do just one little thing more in their own day to day role.
The #FSN20 is not just about the list our panel has put together. It is about fostering discussion that celebrates the unsung heroes of the field service sector. So look out for the online version of this list as well to take part in the debate.
But for now, ladies and gentleman and without further a do, in no particular order, we are pleased to introduce the #FSN20 of 2017...
Mark Brewer, Global Industry Director - Service Management
The message from the IFS hierarchy was loud and clear when they held their last World Conference in Gothenburg towards the end of last year. Field Service was a key priority moving forward and their new owners EQT had every intention of pushing the Swedish company to keep doing what has made them a well respected brand within manufacturing and field service management circles - but do it bigger, better and to get to there faster.
Having taken the reigns of the service management division globally Brewer is set to figure prominently in the industry across the next twelve months.
Professor Tim Baines, Group Director of the Aston Centre for Servitization Research and Practice
Baines retains his place on this years list and is perhaps he one person that has appeared multiple times on the list whose entry becomes even more deserved each year.
Baines has been at the centre of the servitization movement for as long as anyone and although many of his peers such as Neely and Lightfoot should share equal status for being the Godfathers of Servitization, it is fair to say that Baines’ work as a leading proponent of the servitization movement is as unparalleled as it is inexhaustible. The Aston Spring Servitization Conference which is the show-piece of the Aston Centre for Research and Practice continues to grow in terms of both audience and importance each year and it’s location in Lucerne, Switzerland this year is a testament to it’s growing status on the international industrial map. Whilst Baines’ would humbly point to the great team he has working with him at Aston, his role in the global shift towards servitization simply cannot be overlooked.
Bill Pollock, President and Principal Consultant, Strategies for GrowthSM
Another that has been ever present on the #FSN20 since it’s inception and someone who is likely to remain on the list until the day comes where he retires, which given Pollock’s passion for the industry and seemingly eternal youth may won’t be any time soon!
Pollock is not only still a key commentator and analyst within our sector whose papers and features are not only widely read but also hugely respected, but he has been a mentor for a number of key figures within the global field service industry, including a number of other #FSN20 members, and also Field Service News’ own highly respected Editor-in-Chief, Kris Oldland.
However, Pollock’s inclusion on the #FSN20 isn’t just based on his past merits, his organisation Strategies for GrowthSM continues to provide some of the most detailed research and insightful analysis for the field service sector that is essential reading for any field service executives that wish to stay in touch with what is driving our industry forward.
Thomas Igou, Editorial Director, Copperberg
Igou has been integral to Copperberg’s continued success and growth in the European field service conference circuit, In fact with five industry focussed events now running across the continent that should be of interest to senior field service and aftermarket executives, Copperberg are firmly established central pillar within the European field service community, and Igou sits proudly at the heart of that. In his role as Editorial Director, Igou is responsible for making sure the key topics in the industry are raised and the leading thinkers within our space are given a voice.
A key influencer within our industry.
Mark Holleran, COO, Xplore Technologies
Under Holleran’s leadership Xplore Technologies acquired Motion Computing and became the 2nd largest manufacturer of rugged tablets in the world.
Holleran is a man who not only truly understands the different sectors his clients operate in but also who truly appreciates the importance of understanding his customers’ work-flows and therefore their technological needs.
A perfect case in point being the inclusion of a HDMI in on their XSLATE D10 rugged tablet, which makes it a perfect device for Telco and Pay TV engineers needing to test signals - which is exactly why it is there.
We don’t expect anything other than rugged tablets to be coming out of Xplore, but we do expect them to keep delivering best-in-class products in this form factor. As Holleran says “that’s what we do and we are the worlds best at it.
Dr John Erkoyuncu, Through-life Engineering Services Institute, Cranfield University
Erkoyuncu takes over from Professor Howard Lightfoot as a representative of Cranfield University in the #FSN20 this year, however it isn’t just a straight like for like swap. Whilst the two worked together at the Through Life Services Institute, Erkoyuncu’s place on this year list is based primarily around the work he is doing in both industrial maintenance simulation and also augmented reality, and as such we believe he will be a key commentator and influencer on our sector in the years to come.
Jonathan Massoud, Divisional Director & Market Analyst Field Service, WBR
Massoud’s role as Divisional Director at WBR puts him in control of a number of the industry’s key events including Field Service USA which is the jewel in the crown as the key point in the USA field service calender.
In addition to Field Service USA, WBR also run a number of important industry focussed events including Field Service Medical and Field Service Europe and in his role as Divisional Director Massoud is directly involved with each of the events and responsible for delivering industry leading content to keep field service professionals up to date with the key trends with in the industry. Massoud is also responsible for overseeing WBR’s research and a respected analyst within the sector
Sumair Dutta, Customer Satisfaction Officer, The Service Council
Chief Customer Officer for The Service Council™ Dutta is responsible for new member acquisition, member engagement, community expansion, as well as the development and expansion of TSC’s Smarter Services oriented research agenda and portfolio.
He is also heavily involved in The Service Council’s ability to provide service executives the ability to benchmark their operations and also provide guided insight to improve service organisation performance through dedicated research programs. Dutta also plays a key role in building out TSC’s community platform focused on becoming the single source of information and networking for service executives globally and is a prolific author on the matter of field service.
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In this the latest edition of the Field Service podcast Kris Oldland, Editor-in-Chief of Field Service News talks to Jonathan Massoud, Divisional Director with WBR - the conference producers that deliver some of the world's leading field service...
In this the latest edition of the Field Service podcast Kris Oldland, Editor-in-Chief of Field Service News talks to Jonathan Massoud, Divisional Director with WBR - the conference producers that deliver some of the world's leading field service conferences including Field Service USA, Field Service Fall, Field Service Medical, Field Service Medical Europe and the forthcoming Field Service Europe.
In this podcast recorded live at Field Service Fall in Fort Lauderdale last month we discuss how field service companies are begining to embrace new technology such as IoT and Augmented Reality.
Want to know more about IoT and Servitization - join Field Service News and ServiceMax for a webinar revealing exclusive findings from our latest research into the topic - click here for more information and registration details
Join Kris Oldland, Jonathan Massoud and over 150 senior field service practitioners at Field Service Europe in Amsterdam on the 28th November - Field Service News readers can access a 25% discount (up to €700 discount!) with the code FSE16FSN! Click here to register now
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Field Service Europe returned to Amsterdam this autumn. Field Service News was keen to find out what delegates liked about the event and what their key take-aways were. Active technology, IoT progress, mobile device management, task-based...
Field Service Europe returned to Amsterdam this autumn. Field Service News was keen to find out what delegates liked about the event and what their key take-aways were. Active technology, IoT progress, mobile device management, task-based scheduling and a shift to customer-focused services were among the hot topics and there was growing recognition that European service organisations face different challenges compared with their their US counterparts.
Here are some of the conversations we had….
Marne Martin, CEO, ServicePower
FSN: Why did you decide to come to Field Service Europe?
The greater Europe and EMEA region is an important one for ServicePower, so definitely being able to meet with customers that cover all these territories is a fantastic opportunity.
I think also it was wonderful to see many of the presentations and companies at various stages of their maturation in field service. We the more mature end with Airbus and what they were doing with IoT but also that there are still companies that don’t understand the difference between scheduling, manual or drag and drop, versus the real power of optimisation.
FSN: Do you find that the European challenges are slightly different to those faced by US based organisations?
I think it’s different. In the US you have larger field forces so the complexity of the size has driven them into optimisation in advance of some of the European companies. However, the European companies have the same pain points in service and now they are also having to effectively do more with less - the new regulations that count travel time to and from a job as working time actually increases demand for productivity-enhancing technology.
I think it is really important that we talk about active technology, technology that you can continue earning a return on investment on..
I think it is really important that we talk about active technology, technology that you can continue earning a return on investment on. Again the drivers for technology purchases are a little bit different between regions but the pain points in field service are pretty much the same.
Alec Pinto, Associate Director Field Service Central, QIAGEN
FSN: Why did you decide to come to Field Service Europe?
Firstly it was the opportunity to meet with our peers and learn new ideas and see what other companies are doing so we can benchmark against what they are doing and find out what the next steps are for us to grow our service offering.
I normally come away with 20 or 25 ideas for what we can put into place for the next three years, so from a mid-term goal perspective it’s always useful. I’m also with Peak service: we are always looking for new partners so these opportunities are the second big reason we are here. In summary, it’s networking and business opportunities.
FSN: Have there been any significant key take aways for you this year?
What GE healthcare is doing is amazingly good. They’ve got some really good ideas: the concept of categorising the tasks that you do not the engineers ties in well with what we are looking to do - identifying tasks by complexity and grouping them, creating training plans, regional plans and dispatch plans based around that. The idea is something we’ve been playing with, but how to make it concrete is something that just clicked with us this time.
The internet of things is not really taking off like people think it is. It’s not something that will become real in the next three years.
Paul Rogers, Support Engineer Instrumentation Products, Pall Corporation
FS News: Why did you attend FS Europe?
Within our corporation we have a dedicated support team that is now a separate entity in itself. My boss and colleagues in the USA have already attended the Palm Springs session. They thought it would be a good idea for me to come to this conference with a fresh pair of eyes. I guess what we’ll do when I get back is have a round table discussion.
I will then need to see which direction we are already moving in and probably reach out to some of these technology partners and see what is available in terms of compatible systems, look at some of the things that look quite exciting, some of the technology offerings, the use of smartphones and our engineers having something simplistic to improve their workflow.
At the moment, I guess our support is complex - it needs to move into newer technologies. This is a great place to start and a way forward for our company. We’re doing a very good job at what we do at the moment but we have to work very hard to do that. What we are doing now is moving things up.
In terms of eureka moments what a lot of it will come down to is if things could be implemented in a machine’s design with embedded sensors reporting back so we are able to tailor an instrument’s servicing based on its usage.
Things like that we can maybe start feeding back to the design teams – things that they may or may not be aware and that they may or may not have even thought about. Exciting times are ahead and that was one Eureka moment I guess.
The other ones were just seeing the level of complexity that some of these providers can offer. If you want to go to that level it’s there.
Oleg Huber, Director of Sales, Coresystems
FSN: Why did you decide to come to Field Service Europe?
it was a natural decision for us to be here again this year - we were here a year ago , two years ago, so we know the community already. We know we meet the right people here, we’ve done business here.
FSN: Has there been a difference in the conversations you are having this year compared to previous years?
The delegates are better informed. When people were talking about Internet of Things or M2M communication or service automation two or three years ago mostly we were looking to tell them this is what it is all about; now it is more of a future based discussion.
At the moment they are really in the process of evaluating. A bit down-to-the earth again because after evaluating a year ago they realise, OK, we are not really there yet, so we need to first fix a couple of things internally before we can go to the Internet of Things or such fancy strategic things. But people are much better educated, I think.
FSN: Do you find on the whole companies are looking to upgrade legacy systems or are there still many companies with no FSM system at all?
A system is always in place whether it is paper-based or automated: they have a system they work somehow. Many companies are working either in spreadsheets or even paper and they come to us and they ask for best practice ; what are your unique selling points; why should we talk to you instead. The demand is there and they really want to see how we can help them move forward.
Jonathan Massoud, Divisional Director & Market Analyst, for WBR, organisers of FS Europe
FSN: What have been the big trends at this year’s Field Service Europe Conference?
In terms of the European market, last year conversations were very much about how to offer services and what to offer for services, how to get it down, present it, package it, market it.
At the end of 2015 a lot of the topics have been about refining that value proposition: putting yourself in your customers’ shoes, taking a step back and working towards a ‘what’s good for the customer is good for the company’ type of approach. Shifting towards that sort of mindset and having the technicians follow suit and recognise that is definitely a step along the path for European manufacturers.
An ongoing issue is a move from what can you market to how do we go from free to fee offerings of services and getting customers to pay for them. .
Other themes his year were around the path towards preventative services. Last year, companies were not talking about the technologies embedded into certain products. This year there have been advances in putting IoT into the thought process and companies looking at connected devices.
FS News: You've just hosted Field Service East in the US . Would you say that the delegates here, who are mainly European, have more pain points?
[quote float="right"]The different regions within Europe is the main differentiator between the US and the European manufacturers.
It’s not just that they have customers that vary with preferences, characteristics, what they expect and their customer demands but their own field workforces are also pretty diverse. European manufacturers struggle to get their own technicians to flex their soft skills to their regional customers as well.
You can even see it with the attendees here versus the attendees in the States - their personas are completely different. Our European constituents are very aware of personal boundaries, for example I’m French you’re German, we’re going to conduct business like this, I expect this it’s my nature. We don’t get that in the US.
In the European market a lot of these guys do business based around their relationships. That makes the community that we are trying to build here even more important. That’s how these guys build their relationships, it’s how they build their levels of trust.
FSN: Has there been any one technology showcased at this year’s conference that leapt out as one to keep our eyes on this year?
Device management has been big. Mobile device management has been one of the things that has been presented here.
Whilst Internet of things has been more of a loftier conversation, practicality and the technologies that were presented on mobile device management, having apps built for customers, creating a service app for your organisation that has been a big differentiator for some of the companies that we have seen presenting here and a big take away.
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As European service continues to modernise, service executives gather to envision the future and share successes in Amsterdam this October. On the heels of its American counterpart, Field Service Europe promises a collaborative look at the...
As European service continues to modernise, service executives gather to envision the future and share successes in Amsterdam this October. On the heels of its American counterpart, Field Service Europe promises a collaborative look at the greatest issues and opportunities specific to European service operations in 2015 and beyond.
Service, powered by developments in technology and technician training, is being redefined as a profit centre for companies as well as a key differentiator in markets where competitors may otherwise offer similar products and value propositions.
This year, Field Service USA 2015 saw a robust turnout of executives from diverse industries, with discussion focusing on the role of technology in relation to technicians, and how both will continue to evolve symbiotically towards ever-greater efficiency and a preventative maintenance paradigm. Now, as European heads of service prepare to meet in Amsterdam this October for their counterpart conference, Field Service Europe, the discussion will continue along similar lines with an added focus on emulating the ability of American operations to transform into profit centres.
In 2014, 7% more American companies than European companies reported that their service operations were profit centres
Bringing a value driving approach to European service will demand a restructuring of how companies envision their operations. As opposed to a historical approach to service, espousing a “get in, and get out” mentality that emphasises speed in response to malfunctioning products, new technology is increasingly supporting a preventative maintenance approach, and thus freeing up time for service calls that emphasise relationship building and preventative maintenance to minimise the possibility of downtime.
The greater the ability to surprise and delight customers with a heightened standard of service, the more the door is left open for technicians to adopt a consultative role, identifying complementary services for customers.
This relationship building element is being recognised as a key piece of collateral when it comes to not just making more sales to customers, but actually identifying and unlocking value around solutions that are applicable to their wants and needs.
Training technicians to serve as scouts for sales will play a role in unlocking the revenue generating value of service for European companies. Going forward, defining the trainings that will be necessary to ensure that technicians can meet these new requirements will be a process heavily influenced by the relative levels of technology supporting these workers in the field. With a greater emphasis on mobile support and remote diagnostics, it becomes considerably more feasible for a new breed of customer facing technicians to thrive in the field while delivering the same, or higher quality service that customers expect.
Exploring the changing role of the technician as it is influenced by technology
As machines become more communicative, and mobile and remote diagnostic technology provides more support in the field, the role of the technician is set to change in response. In many operations, a bifurcation of the role may occur, wherein less experienced technicians trained for the “soft skills” of interpersonal communication and relationship building are remotely supported by a class of master technicians, well versed in the higher level systems and communicative components of more advanced machines.
In others, a consolidation of roles is expected to occur. This means that technicians will be expected to support both a customer facing set of skills, and a high level mastery of technical systems. In both scenarios, a premium will be set on communication ability, which has historically been viewed as a less essential component of technician training. This change is reflective of the new focus being espoused by service operations at large; surprising and delighting the customer.
The nature of the European market, with its distinct blend of cultural preferences, places unique challenges in front of service executives
Defining Service Level Agreements (SLAs) in Europe, where cultural differences can vary greatly on a nation-by-nation, or even regional basis, presents significant nuance compared to servicing primarily domestic US markets. Within the scope of a reinvigorated customer focus, Field Service Europe’s agenda will connect the dots around how to create comprehensive picture of customer wants, and then address them in a preventative and proactive manner.
European service executives have an opportunity to use the technicians creating relationships on the ground, as well as the information being gathered constantly by smart, connected products,
Not got your ticket yet? Field Service News readers can claim a 25% discount so click here to register now and use the voucher "FEU15NEWS" !
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Apr 19, 2015 • Features • Abbott Diagnostics • Advanced Field Service • keytree • Leader • Magazine (digital editions) • resources • Digital Issue • ebooks • field service europe • ServiceMax. Planet Zheroes • TOughbook
People at the heart of latest issue of Field Service News writes Editor Kris Oldland in his March/April Leader...
Whilst it is of course quite natural for those of us working in field service us to focus on technology, it is revolutionising the way we work seemingly more and more every year, every now and then we need to take stock and assess the most valuable element in field service - the people.
Because that’s what it’s all about ultimately surely?
We talk about empowering our field service engineers, we talk up the importance of our engineers as the frontline of customer service - increasingly the only human touch-point our customers may have with our brand.
For all the good that remote connectivity, the Internet of Things and machine to machine diagnostics brings to field service, for all the efficiency savings, all the increased productivity, we will still need that human interaction - if we want to engender any form of customer loyalty, we really need it if we want to capture and retain those ever more slippery recurring revenues that field service managers are under ever increasing pressure to secure.
And as I looked across this issue of Field Service News almost everywhere I looked I could see a strong ‘people’ angle to almost all of our stories and features.
In the News section for example there is what to my mind is one of the best stories to have hit our desk here at Field Service News Towers since we launched. That is the story of how field service software provider Keytree are working with food charity Planet Zheroes help fight Food Poverty in the UK. Not only is it a great example of how their system can be put to use, but it’s also a story of triumph on a human level. Through the use of field service technology Keytree and Planet Zheroes are able to stop wastage from some of the country’s leading food organisations and make sure that there are less hungry mouths out there on the British Streets.
My heartfelt thanks and respect goes out to both companies for helping so many who need it.
Also in the News section is our new comic strip Field Service Funnies and whilst I’m dishing out thank Thank You’s I should also tip my hat to the good folks at ServiceMax for sharing the cartoons with us.
They were actually the result of a competition towards the end of last year where genuine field engineer stories were converted into cartoons. Once again all about the people , but I have a feeling that as in this first example the cartoons may be quite focussed on the sometimes quite astounding stupidity that occurs amongst the general public (trust me I’m probably one of the worst offenders) but I’m really looking forward to seeing more in this series.
[quote float="left"]In the News section for example there is what to my mind is one of the best stories to have hit our desk here at Field Service News Towers since we launched.And as the theme of people continues we have coverage of the first two big events of the year so far. Firstly there was the Enterprise Mobile Technology Conference hosted by Panasonic. You can read our write up on page 32 and the event was a really fantastic start to the event calendar but what truly impressed me the most was that despite being a very, very big company, the Panasonic team were both accessible and genuinely interested in their clients thoughts and needs. Special mention should go to John Harris, General Manager Engineering for a fantastic session that could have veered dangerously close to being a sales pitch in the wrong hands but instead was an extremely valuable, and highly open discussion.
The other event I refer to is of course Field Service Medical Europe which was held in sunny Dublin just a few weeks ago. As you would expect from the team that host Field Service Europe the three day event was highly enjoyable and packed with excellent content. However, perhaps because of the more niche focus of this event compared to it’s older cousin, there were a few less in attendance but that simply resulted in each session moving more towards an open forum as the barriers of inhibitions were removed due to the more intimate nature of the group.
Finally we’re really pleased to bring you the results of our latest research project which we have run in partnership with Advanced Field Service.
This time around the focus of our research has been on the types of mobility tools being used by Field Service Engineers in 2015.
The research project itself is perhaps one of the broadest topics we tackled as we look at the types of device (i.e. laptop/tablet/smartphone etc), the grade of device (rugged vs. consumer) the operating systems, what we as field service professionals expect from apps, how often we think we should refresh our FSM solutions vs. how often we actually do it, we even explore who is involved in selecting the solutions and look at whether it is a good idea to involve our field service engineers in the selection process.
For me though the most interesting statistics are around our engineer’s satisfaction with their devices. In brief digital is definitely here... So say the people
Want to know more? Then click here to get you hands on a free digital copy of Field Service News issue five now!
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With field service going through a period of continual evolution there are a growing number of events dedicated to the industry that give you the opportunity to here from vendors, industry leaders and your peers to help you stay abreast of the...
With field service going through a period of continual evolution there are a growing number of events dedicated to the industry that give you the opportunity to here from vendors, industry leaders and your peers to help you stay abreast of the latest trends. Here we look at some of the key events across 2015…
26 February, 2015
Enterprise Mobile Technology 2015, Hilton at St George’s Park, Burton on Trent
This is a unique one-day event bringing together leading executives and key decision makers, partners and suppliers from the mobile services industries. The event is designed to provide a platform to discuss smarter technologies for a connected mobile workforce. You’ll hear from industry experts, explore new and emerging technologies and also have the opportunity to network with peers and colleagues. From discussions about the tablet productivity evolution to connectivity in the field and transforming mobile operations, this is a must-attend event. Click here for more information
23 – 25 March 2015
Field Service Medical Europe, Conrad Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Across Europe, medical device manufacturers want to develop proactive customer service & a surefire way to keep pace with remote technology advancement. Until now, they had no way to share their ideas for the future in an open, collaborative environment. So the team behind Field Service Europe have created Europe’s most interactive forum for service & support executives – a 3 day meeting with the real leaders of the industry helping to transform their business in the digital age.
This event features practitioner only workshops, one-on-one speaker meetings, and is focused around networking to build career-long relationships. Also, as small and medium sized organisations face a unique set of challenges, there are separate sets of workshops for similar companies to collaborate and share their insights. Click here for more information
The Service Community. Venue TBA
“The Service Community is made up of people interested in finding out more about the service industry from its participants. The Service Community aims to provide opportunities to find out what practices have worked for others, and what hasn’t worked, and why; to move away from the theory of what could be done by examining what others do and evaluate successful practices. Meetings (no fee is charged) will aim to provide content which doesn’t appear to be readily available, and to stimulate and inform in a format that is easy to access and use, and relevant to the user.” – Steve Downton
Founded by the late Steve Downton, The Service Community is a non-profit organisation that seeks to drive service improvements and innovation through collaboration.
Run by service professionals for service professionals The Service Community runs a series of events across the year with expert presentations from some of the UKs leading service professionals from a wide array of industries. Recent speakers include:
Mark Rawding, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Andy Beer, Pitney Bowes, Martin Gilday, Elekta, Martin Summerhayes, Fujitsu, Graham Coyne, Siemans
Attendance is free for all Service Professionals and each event is not only a fantastic opportunity to hear of best-practices from leading industry professionals but also to network with other service professionals across the day. Click here for more information
2 - 3 June
Field Service Forum, Sheraton Hotel, Amsterdam
The 2nd Annual Edition will take place June 2nd-3rd, at the Sheraton Airport Amsterdam. The two-days interactive event will gather 150+ service professionals from cross-industry sectors and from all corners of Europe, and will feature case studies from organisations such as ABB, Siemens Wind Power, Nestle Nespresso, Pentair, Volvo Construction Equipment, and many more. Click here for more information
Service Management Expo Exel Centre, London
Service Management Expo returns to London’s ExCeL this summer, taking place from 16-18 June 2015, Europe’s only dedicated exhibition for the field service market will be co-located with Facilities Show as part of the Protection & Management Series.
Now in its 31st year, Service Management Expo is the annual industry event that brings together the latest information and the most up-to-date products and services for those working within service management, logistics, fleet management, operations and IT.
Service Management Expo will host the dedicated Field Service Solutions Theatre in partnership with Field Service News. A full educational programme will run across the three days, mixing interviews with influential industry figures, best practice case studies and thought provoking panel debates. The theatre will also host daily networking sessions allowing you to mingle with peers, discuss topical issues and catch up with old friends. Click here for more information
19 – 21 October
Field Service Europe, Movenpick Hotel Amsterdam
Field Service Europe is a forum for senior-level service executives from leading global organisations to share best practices on today’s most pressing issues including adopting a proactive and preventive approach to customer management, streamlining aftersales business to radically improve productivity, and utilising advanced remote diagnostics technology to increase efficiency and customer loyalty.
The peer-driven conference is packed with in-depth workshops and interactive roundtable discussions as well as unparalleled networking opportunities like the Women-in-Service Luncheon and VIP Think Tank. Click here for more information
21 to 23 October
Aftermarket Europe, Grand Hotel Huis ter Duin, Noordwijk
The 9th edition will take place October 21st - 23rd in the Netherlands. It is the leading European event for senior aftermarket executives, attracting 200+ participants from global organisations. Over the course of three interactive days of content and networking, participants will be confronted with best practices and solutions to current challenges. Click here for more information
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The link between a mobile workforce empowered by digital technology and delivering service excellence has become well and truly proven over the last few years, there still remain a great number of variables when it comes to ensuring that the choice of mobile device is the right one for your company.
Lets face facts, there are plenty of questions to grapple with before we make the right choice of mobile device that will benefit your mobile workforce most effectively.
Should we be looking at tablets, laptops or smartphones? What OS to select? Rugged devices or consumer grade devices? Should we consider BYOD? Should we deploy mobile web or mobile apps?
The team at findaccountingsoftware.com recently took the opportunity to put some of these questions to Shirlene Spillers, Vice President of Product Management with software provider Field Aware.
Given Spillers position developing software for the field service industry she is able to provide great insight into what the hardware will work best for companies looking to bring their mobile workforce into the digital revolution, whether they are upgrading legacy systems or taking their first steps away from out-dated manual processes.
We’re pleased to be able to share this interview with you courtesy of findaccountingsoftware.com
What’s the best way to go: smartphones, tablets, or laptops?
We recommend that companies purchase smartphones when:
- Technicians use the smartphone as a true phone most of the time
- Send a limited number of email messages
- Are not required to enter large amounts of data (point and click applications)
- Require access to web-based information intermittently
- Do not use downloaded video for training and troubleshooting
- Require limited amounts of data downloaded from the company and/or suppliers/unordered_list]
We recommend tablets when technicians:
- Make very few voice calls
- Send multiple email messages every day
- Enter significant amounts of data (where a larger keyboard would save time)
- Use the web to acquire and download company and/or supplier data
- Use video for training, troubleshooting and communication (ex: Apple’s FaceTime video)[/unordered_list]
Laptops are only necessary when technicians often have limited or no access to a network and require access to data intensive office applications (i.e. Microsoft Word, Excel, Adobe products, etc.) Use of laptops is rapidly declining.
Do you recommend Android, iOS, or Windows operating system devices?
We recommend Android or iOS simply because they are the most prevalent operating systems – and therefore most familiar to the majority of field workers (reduced training requirements).
For organizations thinking about a bring-your-own-device approach (BYOD), what are the most important considerations?
Employees often want to use their personal devices at work-–and for work-–as well. This provides both possible benefits and real dangers as well. It’s important that enterprises understand the challenges that BYOD creates and the policies and systems that should be in place before field technician-owned devices are incorporated into an organization’s technical ecosystem.
We actually wrote a white paper on the subject but, generally, companies need to look at four major areas of consideration: security, regulatory compliance, device support and end user support. Once the decision is made to allow personal devices to be used for company work, BYOD policies have to be developed and it usually makes sense to bring in some kind of mobile device management system (depending on the size of the company).
When are “ruggedised” devices worth the extra investment?
Most of our customers use ruggedised tablets only when they work in hazardous chemical or gas environments that require Class 1 Division 2 devices. We’ve found that in other environments, standard tablets and smartphones with protective cases are just as effective and durable.
Do you suggest GPS hardware? What other hardware should service companies consider?
We do not recommend GPS hardware for vehicles. Tablet and smartphone apps (like Google Maps) are just as, if not more efficient, in proving navigation information and can easily be mounted (just like the GPS hardware) in the vehicle. Our suggestion is that the company chooses one device (smartphone or tablet) that serves multiple functions at a lower overall cost.
In terms of other hardware, there are some really simple things like batteries, USB vehicle chargers, stylii, cases that are highly protective and can “stand up” for easy data entry. Since our app supports signature capture on the device, we don’t feel signature pads are necessary.
Can you weigh in on the mobile web versus native mobile app usage debate?
We believe in native mobile apps for a couple of very simple reasons:
- Better performance. They take advantage of the native capabilities of the operating system – making it easy to integrate capabilities like photo/video capture and voice recognition.
- Ability to work offline (can be done with HTML5 caching, but not as elegantly)
- User interfaces that are more user-friendly and engaging[/unordered_list]
Want to know more about end-to-end field service management. Field Service News Editor, Kris Oldland will be taking part in a panel debate on this subject live at Field Service Europe. Click here for more information
Ahead of taking part in a live panel discussion on End to End field service management at this years Field Service Europe Conference, Field Service News Editor Kris Oldland, is writing a series of features around the topic…
Ahead of taking part in a live panel discussion on End to End field service management at this years Field Service Europe Conference, Field Service News Editor Kris Oldland, is writing a series of features around the topic…
In this the second feature in the series he looks at whether your company should be selecting consumer grade hardware, semi rugged or rugged for best value. You can also read the first feature in this series here
There is a lot of discussion around whether field service organisations should invest in consumer devices or specialist rugged devices with strong advocates with equally compelling arguments sitting on both sides of the fence. So lets look at some of the more commonly heard arguments shall we…
The Familiarity Argument
Pretty much ever since the iPhone first entered the market back in 2007 Smart Phones have become commonplace and are now reaching saturation point within almost all developed world geographies. Indeed with the news that Indian firm Karbonn has launched a perfectly acceptable smart phone for just £26, it would seem that the developing and third worlds will soon be following suit also.
The latest fully rugged devices are becoming sleek looking, lightweight devices which look light-years away from their bulky equivalents of just a few years ago
However, such is the pace of the evolutionary arms race that is mobile computing, even the latest fully rugged devices are becoming sleek looking, lightweight devices which look light-years away from their bulky equivalents of just a few years ago. Take for example the latest device from Getac the T800, which whilst being a powerful device, is also proven to be fully rugged up to military standards, and could quite easily be mistaken for a standard consumer tablet.
Similarly rugged devices are readily found in both Windows and Android flavours so familiarity with operating systems should also be swift thanks to the proliferation of smart phones. So whilst familiarity may claimed as one benefit of consumer devices the truth is this no longer really the case.
The prestige argument
A little earlier this year I interviewed Dave Hart, VP Global Customer Transformation at ServiceMax for one of our podcasts. However, for most of the half an hour or so we were talking we focussed on his previous role as European Vice President of Pitney Bowes and he made a very interesting point around the franking giants decision to role out Apple iPad’s to their field service staff.
Hart made the decision to not only issue each of his mobile workforce with an iPad but to give them ownership of their device as well. The result was that his fieldworkers responded by taking greater responsibility and Pitney Bowes saw breakages fall to practically zero.
In his own words Hart explains:
“I went out with an engineer for the day and asked him ‘we really budgeted that we would break more of these things, why do you think they are not breaking?’ the engineer turn round to me and said ‘one of the things you guys did was to allow us to use this device personally as well as for business. If I went home and my iPad is broken my kids would kill me!’”
Given the fact that Pitney Bowes were braking 200 PDAs per anum prior to the shift and Hart defined the breakage rate as ‘absolutely negligible maybe one or two out of thousands’ since moving to iPads it would appear that by giving their mobile workers a desirable consumer device that they cherished and giving them ownership of those devices, there is indeed a solid tangible benefit.
The TCO argument
Whilst for a company like Pitney Bowes, whose field service engineers are mostly working with in an office environment, iPad’s or similar consumer grade devices may well prove to be ideal, there are many other industry verticals where field engineers mobile devices are put through their paces in a far tougher environments. It is in such scenarios that the often-heard total cost of ownership (TCO) argument rings true.
“If you’re working in what we term a critical working environment, i.e. if its cold its wet or you can drop the device then that is definitely a rugged space.
One such proponent of this argument is Getac UK President Peter Molyneux who commented:
“If you’re working in what we term a critical working environment, i.e. if its cold its wet or you can drop the device then that is definitely a rugged space. The discussion really is just whether its what we call semi rugged or fully rugged.”
Molyneux also goes on to point out that as the cost of rugged devices falls, so the TCO argument holds even greater weight. Although he does also admits there is certainly a gap for consumer technology.
“The return on investment on a fully rugged notebook may have cost you £2500 to £3000 not that long ago…” he explains “… today products can be less than £1700 dependent on spec. But if you go forward consumer technology is yet to be proven in the field, there will be applications where it will be fine and applications where it’s not.”
Of course it is the “not’s” where Getac and other specialist rugged manufacturers see their market and where TCO truly comes into play.
Where better to start than with your own field service engineers?
Molyneux’s point about rugged or semi rugged also adds to the conundrum and further emphasises the importance of understanding the workflow of your field engineers, which we touched on in the first article in this series.
Whilst some organisations, like Pitney Bowes will be able to fully realise their needs with consumer grade devices, others such as utilities companies will see far greater benefit in a more rugged solution where despite a larger initial outlay the actual TCO is much lower across a three-year period.
Which is right for your organisation? As with any investment you must take a detailed look at all of the possibilities, where possible look at solutions other companies in your vertical have taken and try to find out the pain points they have felt as much as the successes they have had.
There is no one size fits all option when it comes to field service hardware, what’s right for one company may not be right for another. However, it certainly pays to know that there are a variety of options available to you from off the shelf consumer right through to military standard rugged.
The next step is finding out where on the spectrum your needs are. Almost certainly the best place to start is to take time out to see some of your field engineers in action.
Should you wish to attend the event, which is held in Amsterdam on the 20th to the 22nd October, then you can register for tickets by clicking this link