Here's How Airbus Integrated Field Service Management into Its Customer Service Operations
Brought to you by WBR Insights
The industry of field service has been evolving rapidly over the last few years and elements of the business which would have once been considered optional extras are increasingly becoming essential to success.
Field service mobility is one such aspect and brands up until now have been slow to catch on. A 2019 global survey on the Future of Field Operations revealed that currently, only one-fifth of organizations are using mobile devices in the field. However, the same survey also stated that investing in mobile technology is a top priority for 36% of field service providers and a growing priority for an additional 58%. The traditional method of operation many field service providers adhere to have made mobility slow to implement, but the inexorable march of digital technology is changing all that.
Airbus is one such brand that is taking mobility to the next level and has been working hard to integrate its field service management into its customer service operations.
When it comes to field service mobility, its function at Airbus is markedly different compared to other companies. This is related to not only the company's operating model but also the scope of its portfolio. Instead of relying on digital devices, mobility at Airbus is embedded with the company's customers, with its staff having office space within the customer's facilities.
Airbus avoids using regular telephone lines or even the internet to facilitate communications. Some of the reasons for this are the obvious security concerns, dealing as the company does with incredibly sensitive materials. However, these traditional communication tools also simply aren't capable of the kinds of speeds needed for Airbus to carry out its role. Each office is instead set up with a leased line and the company is in the process of switching from a digital connection to an optical line to achieve the kinds of communication speeds it requires.
Airbus has also integrated a mobile SAP platform to help support technical requests as they are submitted by field service technicians and engineers. This platform also fulfills a secondary role of creating a database of information that can be accessed by all interested parties from a connected device. This solves the problem of the large number of field service professionals retiring from the industry and taking their knowledge and experience with them — plugging the knowledge gap and improving the long-term sustainability of the Airbus field service function.
Aside from this, Airbus recently announced its intention to make a full suite of services available to its A220 program customers.
"Customer Services activities are being integrated into the Airbus network, in order to provide customers with improved and efficient support & services, fully supported by Airbus," said the company via a press release. "This will leverage Airbus' experience and resources in the following areas — field service representatives and customer support directors, training materials, cabin operations, fleet performance, and flight simulation products."
Airbus has also developed a unique online portal that customers can use to access a range of services, including field service management, from a single access point.
Dubbed Airbus World, the portal provides features such as technical documents and other related information, news, training materials, and more. The portal is regularly updated by a dedicated team and is set up so each user has access to different levels of information based on their customer profile and the requirements of their role. The purpose of this is again partly related to security, but it also serves a function related to helping field service operators perform their roles better.
For example, a technician with carte blanche access to all information may become confused as to which documents are relevant to their role. By only authorizing access to relevant documents, the pool of information is smaller, allowing them to more quickly and efficiently locate the salient data for the role they're performing.
"It's very important that we control the information for the safety issues," said Field Service Director at Airbus, Philippe Mengual. "We don't want to provide a line mechanic with information that he will think is useful for him when he doesn't have the background. He might do something that shouldn't be done on the aircraft prior to his airline engineering approval."
With a company such as Airbus, field service mobility must always be balanced with the safety and security of its customers and employees. Thanks to several innovative new developments at the company, not only is legacy information being retained easier than ever, but customers and staff have access to everything they need to perform their roles.
Download the agenda today for more information and insights.
WBR Insights is the custom research division of Worldwide Business Research (WBR). Our mission is to help inform and educate key stakeholders with research-based whitepapers, webinars, digital summits, and other thought-leadership assets while achieving our clients' strategic goals.