Think Tank Debrief: Reframing the Service/Product Conversation

Aug 21, 2020 • FeaturesThink TankServitization and Advanced Services

In this excerpt from the inaugural Field Service News Think Tanks Debrief Session, Coen Jeukens expands on how we must reframe the Service/Product conversation

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The many guises of servitization:

The question of how we must realign the relationship between service and product as we move towards a more service-centric economy has been discussed at length across the pages of We've been tackling this conversation with representatives of  various corners of the field service world, not only geographically but also from industry and from academia.

The consensus, that was also echoed in this Think Tank is that collectively we need to reframe what what these conversations around servitization mean. That is because there are now very many different interpretations of servitization, through-life-services, outcome -based-services and advanced services. 

At the very least companies need to be able to define their understandings of what servitization means to them, they need to then reframe that conversation internally first, so they can take it forward externally.

Speaking during the Think Tank Christo Roux, Director, Field & Workshop Services, Outotec commented: 

“We talk about bundling our offering. So in terms of servitization it has come down to long term service agreements which may include consignment stock, service level agreements, partial or full presence on site, 24 hour call services and so forth. 

“For us that is as far as we are going in terms of servitization. 

“But outcome-based services in our world is definitely a discussion being held, but the general consensus would suggest that it might have to be something that is separate to this initial approach.

“I don’t today see it as something we could integrate into our field service offering particularly easily - so we will still definitely go with our long term service agreements. Through these we have an expected revenue base and also a better resource loading capability and then we can supplement this with all the spot resources we can do as well.”

In the sameThink Tank Maarten Wijnheijmer, Global Aftermarket Sales Director, Howden commented: 

“Even if the official strategy is to prioritise aftermarket and at the top level that is the story, you also need to see what is happening two layers lower in the organisation, which is where the day to day decisions are made. Strategy doesn’t land on its own and it is not always understood by the top what is needed to implement their vision to generate more aftermarket business.”

Also sat in that Think Tank was Coen Jeukens, Vice President, Global Customer Transformation, ServiceMax. 

"Again, this story is just like the previous comment," Jeukens reflected when discussing the Think Tank in the debriefing session. 

"It starts with the voice of the customer. I think that if we see that the customers are getting more mature and more demanding, we can see that apart from buying a product or buying the services, they simply want to have the output or the value of a product and I can really see that in Christo's comments here because it takes two. It takes the field service organization to make a conscious decisions, how far do we want to go in the maturity of our service offerings. However, of course that has to align with the maturity of the customers. Simply, it would be a waste of time if they would invest in servitization offerings, when the customers are not there to buy them."

"I think in every vertical in every market, every customer out there has their own dynamics in the market and service companies can really tap into that," Jeukens continues.

"Going back to the example of my previous employer, we started by looking at the voice of the customer, and we were selling safety and security systems. So that could be something simple as a camera system or a security camera system. Now the customer can buy a bunch of security cameras and they can maintain them themselves. We as the solution provider could buy or sell those cameras and we could sell associated maintenance contracts with them in this scenario what we would do is over the lifespan of the system is ensure that the customer receives the camera feeds

"However, we we saw that more and more customers were saying well that is not what we want. If you look at an airport for example there would be thousands of cameras. Just try to imagine the control desk where somebody is looking at thousands of camera feeds. It is unmanageable so that was not what the customer wanted.

"The customer wanted to have the insights. They only wanted to see the feeds of the cameras which need actionable items. So if you look at what customers really need, you can really start selling those new types of services. We had the privilege to have a number of customers who really valued that type of service."


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