Connectivity is built into everyday devices these days, so much so, that consumers have come to expect instant visibility and reaction time. Manufacturers and OEMs looking to respond to these growing consumer and user expectations are looking to connect their equipment and technicians so they can keep up. The decision to sensor assets, which we’ve covered in a previous blog post, mirrors closely the process of setting goals for any future connected services a manufacturer may pursue.
Analyze your current service challenges
Begin with a global analysis of the service challenges your organization is facing. Is not having visibility into asset performance hampering technicians’ efficiency? Are on-site calls becoming costly because you aren’t able to perform simple software upgrades remotely? What would reduce these problems? Will more visibility into your field assets help? Would predicting which parts will be needed based on asset utilization solve a more pressing issue? Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Certainly, costs and repair times are very tangible metrics, but consider impacts that your equipment has in terms of safety and legal liability, as those may be your biggest time or revenue drainers, or, potential revenue drivers!
Once you’ve mapped out your service opportunities, you’ll want to find one that is not so big that it couldn’t be tackled with a pilot program, but not so small that the benefit of solving it isn’t valuable. You’ll want to choose the biggest problem that still has an achievable goal. Initially, you’ll want to pick one to two metrics that you want to affect. In service, these will usually be: first time fix rate (FTFR), mean time to repair (MTTR), technician efficiency, inventory costs, truck rolls, etc.
Focus on real returns
There are so many innovations in service that it may be tempting to buy the latest and greatest tech solution. Remember to focus your investment on tools and solutions that will produce a real ROI for your service business, and tangible cost savings over the long run. For some manufacturers, adding remote monitoring capabilities can greatly increase FTFR by giving your field technicians asset condition information before they arrive on site. For others, being able to predict demands on service parts based on how assets are being utilized in real time can greatly reduce the need to carry excess service parts inventory.
Think about the next steps
As you’re setting goals and defining your pilot project, keep in mind that your connected services, whether they add visibility via remote monitoring, or the ability to perform service remotely and more, should be valuable, achievable, and most importantly, scalable. Your challenge and connected solution should have the ability to scale across your organization and provide the same benefit.
Your equipment won’t limit you
Many manufacturers and OEMs would like to provide connected services, but believe that they are limited by their existing infrastructure of equipment. This isn’t necessarily so. Retrofitting assets with sensors is becoming easier and faster with the right technology partner. There is no need to rebuild or redesign equipment to reap the benefits from connected services. And, manufacturers who are able to offer these services to their customers now can charge for these added benefits at a premium.
When OEMs look at their business with an eye on service, connected service solutions are a logical and beneficial next step. Connected services not only make the service enterprise more cost-effective, but they provide next-generation customer service to end-users, resulting in greater customer satisfaction. A win-win!
Learn more about how the Internet of Things is transforming the service lifecycle, watch our on-demand webinar here.