Digitalisation and connectivity have a major impact on the way we do business. The cloud and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) offer many opportunities to serve customers better and faster. From a field service engineer who can check work instructions at the touch of a button, to machines equipped with sensors that collect data and proactively inform the owner when maintenance is needed.
Technology like this enables service providers to guarantee machine uptime and focus on service outcomes, rather than on traditional maintenance and repair activities or product sales. Switching from the traditional “break-fix model” to proactive or predictive maintenance creates more sustainable partnerships and improves profitability.
In recent years, many production companies have invested in their field service organization to improve customer service and efficiency. And with good reason. They are increasingly facing competition from low-wage countries, where production is cheaper. As a result, they have to distinguish themselves by quality and flexibility, rather than by price.
At the same time, they face a changing customer demand. End users expect not only sustainably produced products with long service life but also excellent service. Downtime must be limited at all costs, which requires a different way of working. Instead of following specific processes and protocols, the focus needs to shift to results: keeping the customer’s equipment operational.
From reactive to predictive action
Traditional service is reactive. As soon as a machine breaks down, the customer grabs the phone, and the service partner needs to drop everything to offer a solution. Outcome-based service turns things around. Because you guarantee a certain degree of uptime, the customer’s problem is your problem. In the ideal situation, service processes are designed so that problems are solved before a customer realizes that something is wrong. Because you work predictively instead of reactively, disruptions are minimized, and satisfaction increases.
To get there, you first need to lay the foundation of your field service processes. You need to know your customers, your machines and their status. And you will have to say goodbye to paper receipts, Excel sheets and separate applications.
You can take the first step towards outcome-based service by digitizing your services with field service software and connecting people, machines, and processes. Subsequently, you can optimize your service processes – including IIoT and data analytics – and ensure that you harvest relevant data to detect impending malfunctions or improve machine configurations.
Be aware that nowadays, customers have the need to be guided in optimizing and setting up their processes more efficiently. For you as a partner, this creates up- and cross-sell possibilities.
By switching to s predictive way of working, you are ahead of issues and proactive in your service delivery, which results in more satisfied customers and reduced costs. Of course, 100 per cent uptime is an illusion, but by focusing on service outcomes (results), you commit yourself to higher standards and gain your customer’s trust.
Want to know how you can move from traditional to outcome-based service? Get in touch!