These Disruptive Services Are Transforming the Field Service Industry

Brought to you by WBR Insights

Companies are no longer restricted to just a handful of providers when it comes to dishing out field service contracts, and brands in the industry are having to constantly innovate to stand out in the maelstrom.

From new and emerging technology able to augment the field service engineer role to new offerings designed to provide clients with even more value, innovative businesses are leaving no stone unturned in their quests to find the next big brand differentiator. Those which do not only find themselves gaining new contracts as a result, but are also elevated to thought leader status, driving others in the industry to follow their lead and learn from their ingenuity.

With that in mind, here are three technology-driven offerings pushing the field service industry forwards in 2019.

#1 Moving from Reactive to Proactive Service

Gone are the days when it was good enough for a field service provider to simply respond to issues as they are reported by the client.

Today's forward-thinking providers are taking the initiative and dealing with problems before anyone even knows they exist. Part of this puzzle is solved with regular maintenance and servicing agreements - getting engineers on site at regular intervals to check things over and make sure nothing is looking worn out and on the verge of a breakdown.

Technology is also helping in this regard. Internet of Things-enabled sensors can constantly assess the status of components and report back to the field service provider's servers. These sensors are sensitive enough that they can detect the onset of an issue at a much earlier stage than a human operator would be able to - and without the need for one to be in constant attendance - meaning failing parts can be repaired or replaced before they shut down entirely and disrupt productivity.

#2 Dynamic Dispatch

One of the biggest headaches for field service provider office staff is scheduling engineers in the most effective and time-efficient manner.

If this task wasn't challenging enough, there are also the day-to-day disruptors of last-minute appointments and emergency callouts to worry about. These must be slotted into engineers' schedules on the fly, without disrupting their other appointments and causing the minimum amount of delay due to off-route detours.

Clearly, this can be a serious brain workout for a human operator. However, for dynamic dispatch technology, it's a walk in the park. Dynamic dispatching uses artificial intelligence to create engineer schedules according to mathematical models, picking the optimum routes and job order to make the most of the time available in the day. When an emergency appointment comes in, the AI can quickly scan all the schedules which are active on that day and choose the best place to slot in the new job for the minimum amount of disruption.

The AI can also learn as it goes and will become even better at its role the more it performs it.

#3 Augmented Reality

Augmented reality technology has ceased to be a simple novelty, beloved of mobile games and other frivolous distractions, and is now a seriously disruptive piece of technology being put to work in all manner of industries.

Field service is one. Augmented reality is helping engineers perform better in the field and is even facilitating skills transfer between generations of workers. AR-enabled glasses can superimpose schematics over real-world machines and help engineers find their way around them. This is especially useful when it comes to younger workers who can use AR to virtually learn from their elders.

AR can also help eliminate the need for an engineer to attend a site. The client can use AR-enabled glasses and be directed by an engineer via an earpiece to carry out the repair or part swap themselves. Clearly, this would only be appropriate for certain simple tasks, but enabling customers to quickly fix some problems themselves can only help raise your brand in their esteem.

Final Thoughts

Technology is pushing field service in so many exciting new directions it can be hard to keep up. However, by adding any of these exciting new services to your field service offering, you can establish your brand as a forward-thinking thought leader not afraid to embrace change.

"With a successful tech-enabled service strategy, a company can not only gain a deeper understanding of how customers use its products but also increase the number of customer touchpoints, giving it more opportunities to explore and respond to customer needs," reports McKinsey. "Our experience of working with dozens of industrial companies on technology transformations shows that new value can be created from all parts of the servicing process: managing customer demand, optimizing field labor, managing parts, and delivering superior customer experience."

You can hear Sergio Frias, Vice President of Service Contracts for Bombardier Commercial Aircraft, speak on disruptive services aligned with business outcomes at Field Service Amelia Island 2019, taking place this August at The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, FL.

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.

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