Field Service Summit, one of the UK’s premier Field Service events took place this week in Coventry. The sold out event attracted leaders in the Field Service industry to a one day summit to discuss trends and best practice execution strategies. Trimble attended, exhibited and provided a series of interactive ‘idea’s blitz’ brainstorming sessions on the topic of work process automation.
Key Takeaways from the day – IoT and Service-First Organisations
The day kicked off with a key note from industry expert Bill Pollock. Bill was clearly of the view that the Internet of Things (IoT) is going to have a tremendous impact on how field service is delivered - in fact he indicated that in the future all service will be delivered in a way that connects customers to service providers. Bill indicated that the top drivers for this trend will be customer demand for faster response times and the desire to improve operating margins through higher workflow productivity. Bill added that IoT is going to have an impact on many different workflows and that this will require new ways of thinking about how we measure them. Ultimately, traditional KPI metrics will need to be redefined and rebaselined.
We certainly agree with Bill, with an added view that IoT connected workflows are going to be highly verticalised in the initial rollout. A good example of this can be seen with construction equipment manufacturers. Recently, a new data standard called AEMP 2.0 was released that will help create consistency and drive adoption of IoT connected workflows. VisionLink, Trimble's fleet, asset and productivity management software for civil construction now supports this new standard, which will allow VisionLink's asset utilisation, operation, safety, health and maintenance capabilities to fully support mixed fleets of machines from different equipment manufacturers. View the full announcement
Another big topic was the discussion on how to move to a service first organisation. Manufacturers and Suppliers need to build service business models into their product plans - this could mean investing in areas which make products more serviceable. Simply looking at the initial product cost is not sufficient; the total lifetime value needs to be considered. Small investments in product design that improve service workflows will have a big impact on profitability later - leading organisations recognise this and are changing to adapt to this new way of thinking.
How products are positioned in the market was also discussed - moving to a value sell instead of a product sell was discussed at length with the conclusion that the best approach is to start with a good understanding customer objectives and then to align the value accordingly.
Trimble provided a series of interactive ‘idea’s blitz’ brainstorming sessions on the topic of work process automation to attendees. The sessions were lead by Caroline Dent, Trimble’s Senior Business Consultant and supported by industry expert Neil Taplin from Arqiva, one of the UK’s foremost communications infrastructure and media services companies.
Most of the participants at our table were looking to learn as they try to baseline their own performance against others to find areas of improvement.Our topic was driven around process automation - Neil was able to articulate many potential areas for automation and leveraging his 20+ years in the market provide some great advice to others that are just starting their improvement initiatives.
One hot topic that came up multiple times was the impact of process automation on the technicians. One thing that was very clear was that any process change needs to be managed carefully to ensure buy in from field staff. Many of these employees are attracted to field service because of the flexible working conditions and there is often resistance to implementing a system that tries to control or limit that. Everyone agreed that getting buy in is possible if the field staff are included in the change process and are included as a key stakeholder.
I always enjoy participating in events such as the Field Service Summit - there is always a free exchange of ideas and a strong desire to help others learn from past experience. The field service market is expected to grow significantly over the next few years and is undergoing a big transformation and disruption. Organisations that are able to adapt will be best positioned for success.
For more infomation on how you can look to successfully automate your work processes, take a look at our 'Quick Guide' on steps to automated scheduling.