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Would you walk into a pub that served you a warm beer the previous time? Or, go back to this fine dining restaurant with your partner if it was noisy and unclean? One word that can make or break it for the service business is ‘Experience’.
With customer satisfaction being the buzz word in the past years, now the new trending words are ‘Experience Economy’, ‘Customer Delight’, and ‘Good-feel Service’. The trend is very common in the B2C sector which has led to terms like ‘Uberized Service’, ‘Amazon like Delivery’ or ‘Disney like Experience’.
This wave of keeping customers happy and providing them with a great experience has to become a priority on the list of the majority of Field Service Directors today. With the quest to create the perfect value proposition and customer experience comes in the various challenges that these leaders in manufacturing face today.
Recently, I had a fantastic opportunity to moderate a round-table discussion along with Kris Oldland, Editor of Field Service News about the Challenges that Service Leaders Face today and the future technologies in Field Service and Spare Parts at the Spare Parts Summit Summit in Coventry, UK.
One important observation was the interlinking of issues with spare parts and field service. The service leaders faced challenges in obsolesce management, spare parts management, data collection, utilisation and analysis along with field workforce training and planning.
With the advent of digital tools, faster production and time to market, one big challenge for Service Leaders today is obsolescence management as it has become increasingly challenging to predict and prepare for the future. IoT and connected machines have made predictive maintenance easier and helped the service organisations to move into the proactive space than the reactive space. One challenge still remains with break-fix due to user mismanagement, negligence or insufficient training.
Although IoT allows companies to note some cases of misuse and offer training proactively preventing damage to the machines and need for servicing prematurely. The service leaders have accepted that there will always be break-fix with machines whether it is due to an unforeseen circumstance or a user issue. So the goal in these instances is to have enough data to be able to get a technician with the right spare parts to the location and get it fixed immediately.
"One important observation was the interlinking of issues with spare parts and field service..."
This is a shift from the older model of a technician visiting to collect information, making a fault report to get the spare parts and revisiting the customer to fix the issue which is a higher cost for the service company and loss in uptime for the customers. Tracking of spare parts and more specifically ‘Having the rights parts at the right place’ is also an issue being tackled currently by the service leaders.
Some leaders are concerned about the tracking of spare parts as they become ‘lost’ with technicians, in spare part boxes or in inventories. Technologies like RFID readers, GPS tags could play a big role in actively tracking the spare parts to make sure the parts can be delivered to the right place when required.
The manufacturing, service and aftermarket space today is in a fantastic rush for data and today is commonly referred to as the new gold or oil. Kris Oldland had an interesting take on how this gold can be dug out but will still be useless unless refined and put it in the right form. One challenge with data is also getting data from the right source.
Similar to ores to extract gold, if the content of the ore is bad, the gold will be very expensive to extract and the return on investment will be low or negative. Data has a similar proposition today. Companies have started asking, how much data is enough data and which data is good data. With better data processing, artificial intelligence and machine learning making progress, the data analysis and processing woes should be answered more effectively in the near future.
The challenges cannot be addressed with a magic wand or just ignored, but being able to address them is a progressive first step. Collaboration with the customers and getting them involved in the whole process of solving the challenges can also boost progress for the service organisations.
To sum it up according to a Forbes quote,’An experience is not an amorphous construct, it is as real an offering as any service, good or commodity.’
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.
Ahead of the forthcoming inaugural Spare Parts Summit being held in Warwick, UK on April 12th, Field Service News Editor-in-Chief, Kris Oldland talks to Thomas Igou, Content Director, Copperberg about the impact the growing trend of servitization...
Ahead of the forthcoming inaugural Spare Parts Summit being held in Warwick, UK on April 12th, Field Service News Editor-in-Chief, Kris Oldland talks to Thomas Igou, Content Director, Copperberg about the impact the growing trend of servitization will have upon the spare parts sector...
In his role as Content Director with conference producer Copperberg, Thomas Igou has been at the heart of conversations in both the Field Service and Spare Parts sectors for many years now. So who better to assess how the continued trend of servitization is impacting on both sectors?
With Copperberg launching a new UK focused version of their highly respected European Spare Parts Forum I was keen to get his view of what the key issues facing those working in the Spare Parts sector were and if the introduction of outcome-based contracts would require a rethink of how manufacturers align there field service and spare parts operations.
“There are three main themes on the macro level looking at how digital transformation is impacting organisations and more importantly the service business,” explains Igou.
Most manufacturers today are going through some form of servitization process moving from a purely transactional business to a more servitized model“Most manufacturers today are going through some form of servitization process moving from a purely transactional business to a more servitized model. That creates both great opportunities but also some sizeable challenges from a spare parts perspective and then to add to those challenges there are a number of other disruptive factors in the market at the moment as well.”
“eCommerce, AI, 3D printing and so on are all necessitating transformation in the spare parts sector, which has tended to be the cash cow within a service businesses because of the purely transactional nature of the business - the customer needs the spare part, he orders it, pays for it, gets it delivered.”
“Whereas on the flip side, when you look at field service it’s actually the opposite - field service directors are looking at how to move from being a cost centre to being a profit centre, and servitization plays a role in facilitating that shift. “
“However, the impact that is being seen in spare parts operations as companies move towards an outcome-based model, is that companies actually, start to cannibalise some of their spare parts revenue - because instead of being purely transactional, spare parts orders and deliveries start being included in SLAs, so actually, you will make less money from the sale of spare parts.”
“Essentially, it is something of a contradictory development because companies have to take away from one side to add value to the other.”
As Igou mentions for the spare parts executive there are additional external challenges to be contended with as well as the internal questions being raised by outcome-based contracts. Not least of these is eCommerce.
“eCommerce is another very significant topic of conversation at the moment, especially regarding competition from China where quality is getting better and better but as Chinese organisations have access to much cheaper raw materials they are able to be far more price competitive compared to European or North American organisations,” Igou explains.
“And that is before we even get to challenges centred around pirated parts - there are even growing fears around how companies like Amazon or Google could enter the sector and take a large share of the market revenue quite easily as they have done in other industries and sectors.”
Indeed, the Spare Parts sector is perhaps facing some of its most testing times ahead, but there remain plenty of opportunities also - many of which lie in tightening up efficiencies in two of the sectors mainstay topics - pricing and logistics.
The main aim with the spare parts sector is tackling how to deliver the right part, at the right time and at the right price“The main aim with the spare parts sector is tackling how to deliver the right part, at the right time and at the right price,” Igou explains.
“Most companies are now trying to move away from the cost plus model (i.e. how much does it cost to produce the part and then adding the profit on top) towards a more value-based approach, or if a company is entering a new market, they may prefer a market-based pricing strategy. Here, of course, eCommerce is again having an impact because prices are becoming more transparent - anyone can go on eBay or the internet and see on your website how much it costs to buy a part from China compared to say Egypt and then compared to the US or Europe.”
“If you have price differences it can be awfully bad for businesses so companies are facing a need to standardise prices across the board.” “In terms of logistics, the big discussion remains centred around whether companies should have a centralised warehouse management solution (where you have one big warehouse holding all of the stock and service all of Europe) or whether they opt for a decentralised strategy, operating multiple smaller warehouses which are closer to their customers, but which cannot stock as much inventory per warehouse.”
“In addition to that, there is a new consideration emerging,” Igou adds.
”We had a great session at this year’s European Spare Parts Forum from Schneider Electric about segmenting logistics depending on customer segments. Schneider found that customers in each of the differing sectors they service have different behaviours and expectations. For example, in one industry it may be that their customers need a very rapid solution and the key issue for that industry may be availability, so their logistics channel needs to be very good and very flexible and agile.”
“Whereas, another customer segment might be more demanding of uptime or more price sensitive etc, so segmenting your service supply chain based on your customer segment and the specific needs of that sector is another consideration that is beginning to enter the conversation.”
Of course, as Igou mentions, as companies move towards outcome-based solutions there is a danger of spare parts revenue being cannibalised as part of the wider service offering.
So where does he see the future of Spare Parts Management - will it ultimately become swallowed up as a subdivision of field service operations perhaps?
“It’s a great question and one I’ve been giving quite a bit of thought to,” replies Igou when I put this to him.
Whilst yes, servitization will mean some cannibalisation of the spare parts revenue, I don’t see that it’s going to destroy the spare parts business“With some of the larger organisations that were involved at our Aftermarket Conference at the end of October last year, we saw that even with companies such as SKF and GE Healthcare, i.e. major multi-national companies who have been working towards outcome-based services for some time now, still only about a third of their customers are on outcome based contracts and these are the organisations that are really at the forefront of this shift.”
“So whilst yes, servitization will mean some cannibalisation of the spare parts revenue, I don’t see that it’s going to destroy the spare parts business. There are always going to be some customers who won’t want these long term contracts and who will be happy to continue on a more transactional type of arrangement.”
“So I think the Spare Parts business will always have that transactional element and it will always be a profit centre. There will however, perhaps be a need for establishing some different internal relationships and some different processes may need to be considered moving forwards.”
The inaugural UK Spare Parts Summit will run on the 11th of April and will mirror the highly interactive peer-to-peer format of Copperberg’s UK focused field service event The Field Service Summit.
For more information on this event visit and last minute for registration opportunities visit: www.sparepartssummit.co.uk
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Will self-service for customers be the answer to the dwindling number of available field service technicians? Prudence Kolong, Editorial Director, Copperberg, joins the ranks of Field Service News associate columnists and in her first feature...
Will self-service for customers be the answer to the dwindling number of available field service technicians? Prudence Kolong, Editorial Director, Copperberg, joins the ranks of Field Service News associate columnists and in her first feature tackles this important topic.
A recent survey by the Service Council showed that 70% of global manufacturing companies with small to large service operations are increasingly concerned with the lack of prospects to replace their retiring workforce.
However, less than half have implemented human capital management strategies capable of addressing talent shortage and competence development. It does not help either that scores of new STEM graduates and millennials, who in a perfect world should be lining up to join the ranks of highly skilled service teams within seemingly economically stable firms, see manufacturing jobs as old fashioned and dated and therefore not appealing.
On the technology front, deep shifts in customer demands drive innovation at a riveting speed. Many service organisations now look into technology as a potential avenue to circumvent the lack of prospects to renew their existing human resources.
On the technology front, deep shifts in customer demands drive innovation at a riveting speed. Since Industrial IoT and digitalisation have stopped being buzzwords meant for technologists, they have quietly slipped into the day-to-day dealings of service directors. The future landscape of field service operations for traditional or advanced manufacturing products will integrate a wide range of technological advancements.
The use of robots, artificial intelligence or automated supports on the production line is not new. However, their utilisation to enhance service lifecycle performance constitutes a new set of challenges for which very few are equipped.
Market leaders are now prototyping innovative solutions, with pilot projects, to engage clients and benefit from value-added technologies ranging from Industrial artificial intelligence, automation, machine learning, robotics processes and big data.
An abundance of opportunities opens with IoT, including hyper-personalised data mining solutions that enable targeted customer response with mission-critical predictive maintenance, optimised time management and strategic deployment of multi-skilled fleets.
The question that remains open is how can an industry slated to generate up to 4,45 billion dollars by 2020, thrive without sufficient manpower? Can it rely solely on progress in technology?To ensure that the right people maintain the effectiveness of their enhanced service ecosystems, smart service directors engage in constant skillset assessment, retraining, reallocation and reassignment. However, the question that remains open is how can an industry slated to generate up to 4,45 billion dollars by 2020, thrive without sufficient manpower? Can it rely solely on progress in technology?
The race for market share has service directors drastically redefining their KPIs, readjusting their resource strategies and the means to achieve them.
Furthermore, a new trend is sweeping the industry: crowdsourced field service. In this instance, the very concept of field service management is revolutionised. Fleet ownership, task scheduling, work order management and SLA’s compliance are no longer the sole prerogative of the product manufacturer and its service department.
In layman terms, the “Uber” business model has come and conquered the field service arena; now anyone can order and/or deliver turnkey maintenance operations and end-to-end field service. At the onset, uberized field service seems like a palliative solution to workforce shortage, a momentary placebo that may serve its short-term purpose. So how about a realistic solution that identifies the root cause, and just like preventative maintenance addresses issues before they occur.
Gartner predicts that within the coming 5 years, 10% of emergency field service work will be managed by artificial intelligence, implying less use or need of manpower on the horizons. Nonetheless, service organisations need to invest in out of the box approaches to talent acquisition with hybrid skillsets and become more proactive in handling their single most important asset: people.
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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.