With margins from product sales declining, manufacturers are under increasing pressure to drive revenue and savings from service, while doing so in a way that stands out from the competition. Aggressive equipment readiness SLA targets create intense pressure to minimize equipment downtime and maximize performance, as well as avoid expensive on-site visits.
Today’s industrial organizations are increasingly turning to affordable augmented reality (AR) solutions that are addressing these cost and quality challenges. Here are four ways that service teams are using AR to reduce their overhead.
Service information underpins every single service event. Field technicians need accurate information to be successful—but physical service manuals are expensive to develop and maintain, especially on a global scale. With service information that’s activated through an AR experience, field technicians can always access up-to-date, interactive service instructions through their phone, tablet, or wearable device. Service organizations using AR can save money by eliminating printed manuals and reducing translation costs, and field technicians can be more efficient when they no longer need to worry about instructions that are inaccurate or difficult to understand.
AR allows technicians to visualize equipment components that were previously inaccessible in the real-world environment—such as real-time operations data or components hidden inside of a product—providing an new level of understanding of the product before they disassemble it for repair. This helps technicians avoid inaccurate part identification and ordering that leads to high part returns, handling costs and excess parts inventory. Additionally, AR has proven to improve first-time fix rates, which helps service providers to eliminate repeat visits and extensive downtime for equipment located in remote or difficult to access areas.
The process of ramping up new workers can hinder efficiency and be costly in time, resources, and training expenses. Similarly to how service teams can use AR to reduce the cost of managing service information, they can also use it to educate new technicians more effectively. As a mechanism for less off-site training, AR can help to reduce costs while accelerating the learning curve of new employees. Field technicians can also use AR for over-the-shoulder remote expert guidance, allowing them to quickly resolve unanticipated equipment issues.
Inexperienced technicians and difficult to understand service information can significantly slow resolution times for service providers. Aggressive SLA targets can lead to breaches in compliance that result in penalties. By enabling field technicians to be more productive with better training, resources, and support, AR can help service teams adhere more closely to SLAs and reduce the potential costs of any associated contract breaches.
This blog is part of a series on how service organizations can benefit from industrial AR. Read the previous blog to discover how AR can improve knowledge transfer, and check out this complementary infographic to learn how AR makes service teams more productive, effective, and skilled.