Recap: Smarter Services Symposium



Last week PTC sponsored the Smarter Services Symposium, Service Council’s 7th annual event in Chicago, IL. The theme of the event was ‘Service is Humanity’ so it was only fitting for us to invite Sysmex, a global manufacturer of blood and urinalysis medical equipment, to join us and share their service innovations.

Sysmex is a leader in their market space and they are progressing their business utilizing ThingWorx (PTC’s industrial innovation platform) and Servigistics (PTC’s best-of-breed service parts management solution). Embracing emerging technology has helped Sysmex stay at the forefront of service innovation.

On day 1, Steve Postma, Director of Technical Service Systems facilitated a discussion around augmenting worker capabilities with new technology. Through the interactive session, Postma led participants down the path of an IoT journey distilling years of experience into five major phases of an IoT project.

  1. Get started, even if the end game plan is not fully known
  2. Determine critical mass for operational efficiencies
  3. Real-time data and customer benefits
  4. Build enhanced customer experience
  5. Innovate the business model

Explore the case study on how ThingWorx delivers business transformation at Sysmex.

On day 2, Adan Deroche, Customer Care Operations Assistant Director guided attendees through an interactive workshop exploring consumerized expectations in service parts management. Sysmex knows well the importance of service parts availability to ensure equipment uptime and exceed customer expectations. Nonetheless, it is challenging for manufacturers to compete with the ever-increasing expectations set by consumer companies like Amazon. Adan prepared a case study to explore how manufacturers can exceed customer expectations in an experience economy (Joe Pine’s book, Experience Economy is an inspiring read and still relevant today).

Explore how ThingWorx supercharges Servigistics to improve operations.

One opportunity unique to the Service Council event is the Innovation Showcase where innovators present to an independent panel of service leaders. During this showcase Ed Wodarski, Service Parts Domain Expert presented the latest Servigistics innovation that integrates PTC’s ThingWorx Industrial Innovation Platform. This innovation brings asset utilization data into Servigistics which empowers customers to increase their service parts forecast accuracy by 30 percent. After 8 innovation presentations PTC was presented with the Innovation Showcase award. As one panelist put it, “very positive regarding the detailed information that can be gathered for parts forecasting without a lot of manual data gathering. Yes, there is a need for certain industries / products.”

Explore the ThingWorx + Servigistics Innovation video.

On day 3, Leslie Paulson, General Manager, Servigistics Business Unit (PTC) moderated a panel to explore how agile principals apply to service management. Agile is as much a mindset as it is a set of values that guide organizations to become more flexible. It was first introduced in software development as an alternative to long and heavily documented processes. Leslie and panelists (Steve Postma, Sysmex; Ed Wodarski, PTC) discussed how we could apply this principal to service management.

While it is a noble question ‘what does the customer want?’ Postma suggested that a better question is ‘what does the customer need?’ For example, a customer might tell you they want documentation but what they need is confirmation that their equipment is operational and meeting quality control specifications. It’s an important distinction that will help organizations deliver excellent service experiences.

Another insight shared by Wodarski, “for years in the service parts management space we measured fill rate and inventory turns. These are important business metrics, however, the metric that matters most to the customer is equipment availability and uptime. To meet and exceed customer expectations, we must plan service parts to deliver optimized asset uptime.”

Explore how Qantas Airlines delivers a 94% service part availability rate.

These sessions were encouraging. We heard from service leaders who are tackling some of the most difficult service supply chain challenges. Fortunately, technology and human innovation are helping achieve goals and improve performance. Indeed, service is humanity.