A recent blog post by Sally Foster, a Technology Service Industry Association (TSIA) blogger, focuses on how much time an equipment owner loses when he/she must wait for a service technician. She writes mainly in terms of the hours that customers lose (while on the phone with customer support), or waiting for a service technician to show up. Foster references a TIME Moneyland article that says that nationwide we lost $38 billion in the last year, waiting for in-home service.
Indeed, as consumers most of us can probably recall situations where we have waited a very long time for a technician to show up, or where we spent hours on the phone with customer support trying to resolve a problem. We are not only frustrated that our equipment isn’t working, we are doubly frustrated that we have to spend time just trying to get someone to fix it.
Although it’s interesting to read about the value of consumers’ lost time, it would have been better if Foster had written about the costs that businesses incur when they have to wait for their equipment to be repaired. In various industries, getting efficient, effective service for broken equipment is even more important because they typically lose revenue opportunities when their equipment is down.
The cost of downtime varies, depending on the amount of revenue the equipment generates per day/hour and the demand for its use. In the aviation industry downtime is extremely costly; it’s been estimated that an airline can lose as much as $250,000 per day when an aircraft is on the ground (commonly referred to as AOG). But what about other industries? When a car is undergoing service the costs are not so dear, but for a piece of heavy equipment like a crane or bulldozer, the lost opportunity costs can be significant, perhaps thousands of dollars per day. The costs are even more substantial for something like an MRI machine (in terms of both human health and revenue) or a semiconductor chip manufacturing machine.
That’s the main reason why field service organizations exist: to reduce equipment downtime. It’s why they invest in parts logistics and inventory solutions, and spend lots of resources trying to get expert technicians to a job site, as quickly as possible. But technicians (and customer support representatives) not only need to respond quickly to service requests, they need to be armed with accurate, complete parts and service information. This is what enables them to efficiently diagnose problems, identify and order the right parts and perform repairs, so they can get equipment up and running again. Accurate, accessible information at the point of need is the key to boosting first-time fix rates (FTFR), improving mean-time-to-repair (MTTR) and increasing mean time between failure (MTBF).
Updating and delivering that critical technical content to service technicians is not easy, because it involves large volumes of data, usually in different formats spread across multiple locations: EAM, ERP and ECM systems. But this is Enigma’s strength; we specialize in helping OEMs and operators publish and distribute technical documentation that is essential for maintaining complex machines. Companies that invest in field service solutions like Enigma InService EPC drastically increase equipment uptime, which means their customers don’t lose revenue while their machines sit idle.