In the last article in this series which is taken from a series of excerpts from an exclusive Field Service News White Paper sponsored by Salesforce we looked at how the world is moving towards remote service delivery as a default. We also began a look at the tools needed for delivering service remotely including Augmented Reality. Now we continue exploring those tools with a closer look at three more crucial pieces of tech...
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Field Service Management Solution:
This is perhaps a very obvious layer in the field service management technology stack!
However, there are still some important considerations that should be discussed when looking at your FSM solution. While there are a wealth of options available to field service organisations when it comes to this fundamental piece of the puzzle, frankly not all FSM is created equal, and as systems become more advanced, there will be increasing demands and expectations of how your FSM tool plugs into other critical parts of the stack. Does the solution have a built-in AI, for example, such as Salesforce’s Einstein? Is it capable of reading IoT based asset data and utilising that to help with triage and on-site fault identification?
Does the solution have a modular approach where you can bring in other aspects of additional functionality where needed such as via the Salesforce AppExchange? Does the FSM tool act as a conduit for the smooth flow of data from one area of the business to another? Or does it act as a barrier? This last point is perhaps increasingly critical as we move forwards into a world of digitalisation. As the global economy continues to slowly recover from the impact of the global lockdowns of 2020, we look forward to the next couple of years where we are predicted to see a far greater focus on service and maintenance of existing assets. Many organisations are going to be seeking to increase asset performance, and service providers who can utilise their warranty and contract data to improve asset uptime, reduce costs, and drive revenue, are going to be the ones who flourish.
When it comes to remote service delivery, the FSM platform is what everything is built upon. It must be robust and ready to meet these new challenges.
Parts Management and Optimisation:
For all the effort that is put into optimising the field service engineer, there is decidedly less time spent on managing and optimising parts inventory. However, with many companies getting caught out during the lockdowns as borders temporarily closed and supply chains became restricted, this gap in the field service sector’s efficiency became considerably more noticeable. While, we all hope to see a future, where 2020 remains a once in a lifetime event, we cannot be certain we will never see such circumstances again. Our world is a connected world, a globalised world, and therefore, it is essential that we make our processes and systems more resolute and a robust parts management solution is a crucial area of focus. Visibility of stock can also help companies reveal considerable gaps in ‘lost cash’ tied up in assets that become lost somewhere in between the P&L of the service operation and the P&L of the manufacturing side of a business. Garage stock and van stock can amount to a huge amount across the entirety of a field service workforce.
Visibility into ‘what is where’ is vital for a field service organisation. This is perhaps even more relevant at a time where cash is sparse. Additionally, spare parts sales is a reliable revenue generator, even more so at a time when customers are ‘sweating’ their assets while we slowly edge towards a recovery. Against a backdrop of remote-first service delivery, the one factor that is going to slow the whole process down is an inadequate supply chain that delays getting the part to the customer on time. It is crucial when we talk about remote service delivery that we have built a strong layer of trust with our customers, and that means every aspect of the service delivery must be optimised – especially parts management.
Let’s not make any bones about this; Artificial Intelligence (AI) is going to be at the heart of almost all field service operation in the not too distant future. Indeed, as digital transformation projects have been accelerated since the pandemic, that future is even closer today than it ever has been before.
This is why major organisations such as Salesforce and IBM have invested heavily in their own respective AI solutions and are set to be at the heart of innovation in the future. Particularly in field service, AI is essentially set to be the glue that binds all of the various elements of remote service delivery together.
Quite simply, it will touch each and every aspect of the service call from start to finish. If an asset begins to operate outside of acceptable operating parameters, AI will schedule a call. Suppose a contact centre agent is discussing an issue with a customer. In that case, AI will be able to prompt the agent through the right questions to identify the fault quickly and effectively and also suggest a resolution. Suppose an engineer in the field doesn’t have the skill-set to resolve a particular issue.
In that case, AI will be able to guide them to a knowledge bank that can guide them through the solution, or even connect them to a colleague who is not only available to offer remote assistance but has resolved this issue many times before. If a part needs replacing, AI will have identified where the closest part is and have it ready for the engineer when they get on site. AI is set to be the secret sauce in the mix of service excellence – and it is going to be the differentiator between clumsy and effective remote service delivery.
Look out for the next feature in this series coming next week where we explore three more key technologies required for remote service delivery.
However, www.fieldservicenews.com subscribers can read the full white paper now by hitting the button below. If you are yet to subscribe you can do so for free by hitting the button and you can access the white paper instantly upon completing the registration form!
- Read the initial news report about the announcement of the latest iteration of Salesforce Field Service @ www.fieldservicenews.com/blog/salesforce-announce-the-next-generation-of-field-service-ai-powered-tools-for-trusted-mission-critical-field-service
- Read more about digital transformation in field service @ www.fieldservicenews.com/blog/tag/servitization-and-advanced-services
- Read more about the impact of COVID-19 on the field service sector @ www.fieldservicenews.com/en-gb/covid-19
- Read previous articles by Paul Whitelam @ www.fieldservicenews.com/blog/author/paul-whitelam
- Find out more about Salesforce Field Service @ www.salesforce.com/uk/products/service-cloud/field-service-lightning/
- Connect with Paul on LinkedIn @ www.linkedin.com/in/paulwhitelam/
- Follow Salesforce on Twitter @ twitter.com/salesforce