How can we reduce service costs and improve the customer experience?
For manufacturers of long-lived products, such as industrial equipment, after-sale service can represent significant revenues and profits—partly because traditional service delivery is inherently inefficient. Technicians often must inspect a product to identify the reason for a failure and the parts needed to correct it and then make a second trip to perform the repair. Smart, connected products improve service and efficiency and enable a fundamental shift from reactive service to preventive, proactive, and remote service.
Do we have the right skills in house?
The skills needed to design, sell, and service smart, connected products are in high demand but short supply. Indeed, manufacturers are experiencing a growing sense of urgency about finding the right talent as their skill requirements shift from mechanical engineering to software engineering, from selling products to selling services, and from repairing products to managing product uptime.
How do we capitalize on smart, connected product data?
As the ability to unlock the full value of data becomes a key source of competitive advantage, the management, governance, analysis, and security of that data is developing into a major new business function. This new product data is valuable by itself, yet its value increases exponentially when it is integrated with other data, such as service entitlements and histories. For example, using predictive analytics, organizations can anticipate problems in smart, connected products and take action based on service entitlements and service history.
Should we pursue new revenue streams?
The data, connectivity, and analytics available through smart, connected products are expanding the traditional role of the service function and creating new offerings. Indeed, the service organization has become a major source of business innovation in manufacturing, driving increased revenue and profit through new value-added services such as extended warranties and comparative benchmarking across a customer’s equipment, fleet, or industry.
Is the competition getting ahead of me?
Sysmex, a blood- and urine-analysis equipment manufacturer, originally added connectivity to its instruments to allow remote monitoring but now uses it to provide service as well. Service technicians can access just as much information about a machine when they are off-site as when they are on-site. Often they can fix it by rebooting it, delivering a software upgrade, or talking an on-site medical technician through the process. As a result, service costs, equipment downtime, and customer satisfaction have improved dramatically.