3 Ways a Parts Catalog Can Help Field Service Make Money
Aberdeen Group, in its Field Service 2013: Workforce Management Guide, reports that “financially, leading [field service] organizations experienced a 9.6% year-over-year increase in revenue, ahead of the 6.6% increase driven by all other organizations.” That’s pretty impressive and shows significant profit.
The companies achieving that success have done so by becoming best-in-class organizations employing best-in-class strategies. Those strategies involve planning, executing the plan, and then re-evaluating the plan in a continuous improvement loop –a process that Aberdeen identifies as “performance management.” Aberdeen has found that performance management “plays a central role in enabling better plans and the strategies required to execute those plans.” And best-in-class companies, those earning higher year-over-year revenue than others, consider it a key area of investment for 2013.
The report goes on to identify five strategic actions that top performing field service organizations take to reach that revenue grabbing, best-in-class status.
What caught our attention about these strategic actions is how closely they align with the functions and features of a best-in-class electronic parts catalog, in particular Enigma’s own InService EPC, which helps service organizations realize success.
There are three ways InService EPC helps companies become best-in-class service organizations, which leads to higher year-over-year revenue. In essence, we help them make money on field service. Let’s take a closer look at each of the three points to see how.
1. Investment in mobile tools to provide technicians with better access to information in the field.
By its very nature, an electronics parts catalog (also known as an illustrated or integrated parts catalog) puts critical parts information at the fingertips of service technicians, wherever they may be working. InService EPC improves on that functionality in several ways.
First, it delivers all service information so technicians have installation, repair and replacement instructions for those not-so-familiar or less frequently performed procedures. This extends the experience of your staff, shares knowledge across all skill levels, and allows management to more effectively schedule work schedules since the entire team has access to the same service knowledge base, not just specialized staff.
Second, InService EPC ensures that service technicians not only have parts and service information they need readily available, but that it is the most accurate and current information that engineering and tech pubs can provide. Using the incremental updates feature allows new or modified materials to be updated in smaller batches, rather than the whole database of information, which results in faster distribution of the latest information to the field service teams. This helps reduce parts mis-orders by eliminating outdated or obsolete parts and service information.
Third, InService EPC was designed with flexibility for field mobility rollout in mind. Multiple devices and operating systems are supported, including laptop and tablets, from privately hosted or cloud hosted SaaS. Users can access InService EPC via web (online) or wireless, or run as standalone units offline in environments with no connectivity or with limited connectivity such as hospitals and high-security environments. Print distribution is available to output hardcopy of specific parts, assemblies or sections or whole service updates.
2. Make captured service information available across the enterprise.
Enigma InService EPC has two key features that support system-wide communication. Enigma InService EPC is based on an open architecture Enigma 3C platform, enabling integration with back office applications such as warranty, diagnostics, inventory and ERP systems. It easily integrates with the information systems that are critical to field service operation. Also built into InService EPC is an e-notes feature for on-the-job creation and viewing of collaborative information for maintenance and feedback associated with parts, assemblies, or manual sections.
3. Improve forecasting of and planning for future service demand.
In order for performance management to be effective, a means of measurement needs to be in place that provides insight and information to the executive team. Enigma’s Dashboard reporting feature provides that measurement. The InService EPC Dashboard is a newly created executive management tool that captures and displays EPC activities and purchases, presenting them as easy-to-read charts, highlighting pre-defined key performance indicators (KPIs). Insights gained from the Dashboard can be used to optimize aftermarket service and parts processes—those recurring activities that drive the most profitable part of the business.
Contributing so much to a field service company’s best-in-class status seems like a lot to ask of a humble parts catalog. But Enigma’s InService EPC boasts of advanced capabilities that play a significant role in improving the service revenue through performance management.