Tracking Trends in Field Service
Field service isn’t what it used to be. While it may have taken a back seat to new product sales in the past, recently it has become a more vital part of ongoing profitability for complex equipment manufacturers (OEMs). More complicated equipment, high demands on uptime, advancements in technology, and improvements in communication and information sharing have demanded that field service not only support new product sales, but become an active contributor to overall company success.
Mobility and Integration Will Drive Field Service
As VP and principal analyst for service management of the Aberdeen Group, Sumair Dutta has studied the field service industry. He understands more than most what makes best-in-class service providers valuable contributors to the viability and profitability of their business organization. In this short field service video, Dutta identifies what he sees as the top two trends in today’s field service organizations. We’ve expanded on his brief points and added Engima’s perspective on the topic.
Investment in mobility for field worker empowerment. Businesses are realizing that mobile technology – both hardware and software – can give their field service technicians a tremendous competitive advantage. In 2013, manufacturers are planning on improving the quality and timeliness of information provided to field workers so they can get their work done efficiently, on time, and within the first visit to the customer site.
Integration between field service and other elements of service business. Field service no longer operates in isolation but is an active part of the overall business environment. One area of particular importance is parts catalog software that extends the reach of the field service technician so they have access to the same resources as the rest of the service team. Enigma’s InService EPC does just that.
InService EPC is an electronic parts catalog that integrates with back end software systems such as field service management (FSM), enterprise resource planning (ERP) and product lifecycle management (PLM) to broaden the level of information available in the field. Having direct access to inventory, pricing, service notes for installation or repair, as well as the ability to directly order parts from the field goes a long way toward improving first-time fix rates.
More detailed information on the field service topic can be found in Dutta’s Field Service 2013 Workforce Management Guide. In it he concludes “improved efficiency and productivity continues to be a top goal for field service organizations in 2013.”
Mobility a Field Service Change Agent
David Krebs, VP of mobile and wireless for VDC Research, in the Field Mobility 2013 Analyst Outlook also considers mobility to be a field service change agent. In the report he writes:
“In terms of mobile technology, we are in the midst of a perfect storm with a combination of a rapidly declining cost of mobile adoption, advancing mobile processing capabilities, and expansive wireless network coverage.”
Krebs confirms that mobile and wireless solutions to automate processes improve field service operations. He goes on to say that the “real benefits realized by mobile solutions among field service leaders include:
• 18% increase in field service visits per technician
• 25% reduction in service calls per ticket
• 40% increase in service revenue contribution per technician
• 30% reduction in logistics costs (as a percent of operational costs)”
Those are impressive statistics on how integrated mobile field service tactics can contribute to a company’s profitability. As more field service organizations realize their potential, the more concerted effort will be to improve the overall service experience.
As Dutta concludes in his video, customer service and field service in particular are becoming a more integral part of the overall business success and profitability. Companies are beginning to fully understand the financial impact of satisfied and retained customers. They’re making the connection that customer satisfaction leads to customer retention, which in turn leads to higher revenue margins.