Enter a New Era of Service Excellence by Harnessing Rich Engineering Data

Written by: Pushpinder Toor

Read Time: 5 min

In today's dynamic environments where the service experience holds increasing prominence, manufacturers are recognizing the pivotal role of delivering engineering data to service technicians, dispatchers, and other related support staff. This intelligence must include sufficient context and detail, be available in (near) real-time, be accurate, and be relevant—a condition we’ll define as “rich and dynamic.” At the same time, it must be easy to use and understand. When this information is delivered as rich and dynamic, it can be used with greater ease by field service organizations to consistently dispatch the right experts with the right service parts. The result is higher performance, greater efficiency, and improved agility.

Yet access to this content is often difficult, out-of-date, or siloed/disconnected from service execution. Service organizations now have better options on how to break down the barriers of access to this intelligence. With this access comes expanded possibilities of bringing rich engineering content to service operations, digitally and in real-time. This strategic shift not only aligns with the imperative of consistently delivering greater value to customers but also positions service operations as a critical area of investment for competitive differentiation.

IDC recently published a market evaluation on the Service Lifecycle Management industry, IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Service Life-Cycle Management Platforms 2023–2024 Vendor Assessment (doc #US49989623, October 2023). In the report, PTC is named a Leader.

“Companies should consider PTC when searching for a vendor that can aid in the transformation of aftermarket service-specific processes as well as a complete transformation across the service lifecycle," wrote Aly Pinder, Research Vice President of Aftermarket Services Strategies at IDC and author of the report.

He noted how important service has become to the enterprise: "This understanding that the service team is the primary engine to deliver value to customers while the broader enterprise is a catalyst for innovation is where the service life cycle of today is different from its forebearers,” He emphasized the need for greater collaboration across the enterprise is high given the increasing complexity of the products that are produced today.

Benefits of access to rich, dynamic engineering digital content

The benefits of embracing this new expanded perspective of sharing rich, dynamic data are multifaceted. By creating a greater foundation for and collaboration and data sharing, significant value can be unlocked as detailed below.

  1. Enhanced troubleshooting capability: Armed with detailed digital engineering content, service technicians can diagnose issues faster, leading to faster problem resolution and reduced downtime. Visual aids and comprehensive documentation facilitate a more accurate and efficient troubleshooting process.
  2. Improved first-time fix rates: Rich, dynamic engineering data can empowers field service personnel with in-depth insights into product intricacies, allowing them to address issues accurately during the initial service visit. This not only increases customer satisfaction but also optimizes operational efficiency.
  3. Remote assistance and collaboration: Digital content facilitates remote collaboration, enabling experts to guide on-site technicians in real-time. This minimizes the need for physical presence, reduces travel costs, and accelerates problem-solving, enhancing overall operational agility.
  4. Efficient training and onboarding: Providing digital training materials ensures standardized onboarding processes for new technicians. The accessibility of interactive digital content accelerates the learning curve, contributing to a skilled and competent workforce.
  5. Proactive maintenance strategies: Rich engineering digital content enables higher performance and accuracy when utilizing predictive maintenance strategies by offering better insights into potential issues and recommended preventive measures. Shifting from reactive to proactive maintenance enhances equipment reliability and prolongs asset lifespan.
  6. Streamlined documentation and compliance: Digital content facilitates the organization and management of service documentation, ensuring compliance with evolving regulatory requirements. This not only mitigates legal risks but also streamlines audits and reporting processes.
  7. Customer empowerment and transparency: Delivering comprehensive digital content to technicians also empowers customers by providing them with insights into their equipment. This transparency fosters trust and collaboration, creating a positive customer experience.
  8. Enhanced brand equity and customer loyalty: Leveraging rich, dynamic engineering data as part of service delivery enhances service delivery (as explained above), which results in an improved end-user experience, fostering a more positive perception of the brand.

There are many benefits to providing greater access to digital content and supporting documentation when performing service operations. Empowering technicians with enhanced troubleshooting and collaboration capabilities can boost first-time fix rates, facilitate better remote collaboration, and unlock new, more proactive maintenance strategies. Efficient training, streamlined documentation, and customer empowerment further contribute to elevating the overall service quality.

So, what is the catch? The journey towards a digitally empowered service ecosystem comes with its share of challenges.

Challenges of gaining access to current engineering data

Implementing and maintaining a best-in-class service strategy requires addressing information requirements and delivering that content seamlessly, contextualized, and in as easy a way as possible. This can be difficult when the data is complex and updated frequently. To effectively handle complex, digital engineering content, reliable content management systems are needed. These systems should be capable of managing the dynamic service information and ensuring technicians can access the most up-to-date insights. Integration with existing systems is another challenge, as seamless compatibility and interoperability are crucial for avoiding disruptions in service delivery. Moreover, the heightened focus on digitalization introduces security concerns, demanding a robust cybersecurity framework to safeguard sensitive engineering data and ensure secure data transmission.

Access to information is only half the battle. For dispatchers, service technicians, and end users to truly embrace data-driven decision-making, there must be trust that the data is accurate. This can be a difficult barrier to overcome when operating with multiple systems and data sources. The need for a ‘single source of the truth’ emerges as a critical factor that must be designed for any digital transformation initiative.

Technician adoption and training also emerge as critical factors in the successful deployment of digital content systems. A cultural shift towards embracing digital tools is essential, requiring comprehensive training programs and ongoing support to ensure technicians can effectively utilize these tools in their daily operations. The cost of implementation, encompassing technology adoption, infrastructure development, and training expenses, is another consideration that demands careful financial planning.

The digital thread for service

This is a topic that is gaining greater attention today—especially in the realm of driving world-class service. Having access to all historical records about a product’s initial design, build specs, and service history can be invaluable when performing triage or other service activities with the greatest efficiency.

PTC was highlighted by IDC as having a strength in supporting the digital thread. Aly Pinder explained, “In many instances, asset, service, and engineering data are siloed off from each other. PTC has established a technology platform that enables the connection between service data and asset data to aid in business and digital transformation. The ability for service history and asset performance insights to inform design, quality, engineering, and reliability decisions is an aspect that PTC enables. But the company is also able to empower the service team with valuable engineering and product design data to improve the ability to execute on service outcomes.”

Read this article to learn more about 6 Real-World Digital Thread Examples.

In the digital age, the concept of a 'digital thread' is revolutionizing service management. By integrating model-based definitions with Arbortext, companies can ensure a seamless flow of up-to-date, accurate information is shared between service and engineering. The ability to harness rich engineering data is a game-changer for industries looking to leverage their digital investments and drive growth in the aftermarket service sector.

In navigating the continuous evolution of technology, companies must proactively adapt to emerging trends to prevent obsolescence. This involves staying abreast of advancements in digital content systems and incorporating updates to leverage the full potential of these technologies over the long term. A holistic approach that combines technology investment, robust training programs, and a proactive stance towards evolving technologies will ensure that manufacturers not only meet but exceed customer expectations in an era where service excellence is a defining competitive advantage.

Read the IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Service Lifecycle Management Platforms 2023-2024 Vendor Assessment Report

Learn why PTC is positioned in Leaders category Click Here
Tags: Service Lifecycle Management (SLM) ServiceMax Servigistics Arbortext Digital Transformation Digital Thread Field Service Service Optimization Service Parts Service Revenue

About the Author

Pushpinder Toor

Pushpinder Toor is the Vice President and General Manager of PTC’s Arbortext Business Unit with global P&L responsibility for the Arbortext portfolio. In this role, she leverages her 25 years of experience to lead product development, sales, business development, partner relations, product management, and technical support. During her tenure with PTC, Pushpinder has held various strategic roles that have built strong leadership skills and contributed to the Service business strategy within PTC. She also mentors future women leaders at PTC, especially those with shared backgrounds.

Pushpinder earned her Bachelor’s degree from DePaul University, Chicago, and her Master’s degree from Western Illinois University. She is PMP (Project Management Professional) certified.