Smarter Service with Smart, Connected Products

“The era of the Internet of Things” is an intriguing phrase. If you’re reading this blog, you probably know a thing or two on the topic because news is abuzz with how the IoT and smart, connected products are creating game changing opportunities for manufacturers. This is news to follow, especially if you are in the business of service – where smart, connected products have the potential to be serviced, updated and enhanced instantly from anywhere in the world.

What does this mean from a service business value standpoint?

According to James Mylett, Senior Vice President of Service at Comfort Systems in World Business Research’s Field Service 2014/2015 Services, Revenue & Trends Report, “This is a real win for customers. Our ability to drive out cost, dramatically improve responsiveness, and move to a more proactive method of delivering service will happen with the continued deployment of connected products. Today, products are communicating with us and giving us alerts well in advance of serious issues developing. Over the next 5 to 10 years, organizations that survive and thrive will be those who embrace this evolution and find new ways to differentiate and deliver service. Those organizations that are slow to adapt and change will be at risk of becoming extinct. What will be interesting to see is how the OEM’s strategies evolve here.”

You may be wondering what you need to know to help your organization adapt and change to better differentiate and deliver service. It’s good to ask the right questions, because as with any opportunity you have to know how to plan for it.

In an article in Frost and Sullivan’s Manufacturing Leadership Journal, PTC’s CEO James Heppelmann shares insight on how manufacturers should start adapting and changing in this new era. He states that they must begin to transform existing business processes and fundamentally rethink how they create, operate, and service smart, connected products in the IoT. Regarding transforming how products are serviced, here are some examples he includes:

  • Manufacturers must plan and deliver remote software and service updates in real-time, with minimal customer disruption, and at minimal marginal cost
  • Manufacturers must plan and optimize product and service parts management and inventory control by tracking assets and analyzing real-time product usage data to predict parts needs
  • Manufacturers must plan and optimize field service management processes by bundling proactive and reactive maintenance and providing technicians with information in advance to increase first time fix rate

It is likely that your organization is already transforming some of these service areas. It’s just a matter of now thinking about how to leverage capabilities around smart, connected products to take your service transformations to the next level in the IoT era.

Originally published on 8/21/2014