When Bob Dylan wrote ‘the times they are a-changin’ it’s doubtful that he was referring to field services industries.
But it certainly is a fitting epithet for multiple industries – ranging from HVAC to mechanical to facilities management – that are all deep in the middle of an evolution from traditional services to outcome-based models.
The reactive or traditional break/fix model has been superseded by one that provides an end-to-end approach, which does so much more than merely recording and tracking all of the important details about any given asset.
This has been fuelled by a couple of developments – a skills gap that has arisen due to ageing workers in the services industries not being replaced by equally knowledgeable technicians, and a digital transformation that has opened up a multitude of possibilities that simply didn’t exist previously. However, the asset data that is now being produced threatens to overwhelm many companies that are generating it, but don’t have the skills or the time to analyse it properly.
Fortunately, there is a solution – the implementation of a fully integrated asset management software platform. And this solution means that even the simple provision of preventive and predictive servicing has now been leapfrogged by competitive businesses that can offer the complete package. This package involves the management of an asset’s performance from the moment of purchase, right through to its end of life via decommission or disposal.
A major step up from both the base services of simply offering products and spare parts and the intermediate level which includes service too (such as repairs, maintenance, overhauls and training), an outcome-based service model is an advanced service that offers servitisation – a business model which tasked providers to achieve outcomes of equipment as part of the service contract, rather than simply the traditional maintenance, repair and overhaul activities.
Maintenance/servicing is just one of the pillars that can be addressed by a field services business aiming for an outcome-based model that aligns with its customers’ business goals. The deployment of an overarching asset management software platform offering servitisation enables potential improvements in:
- revenue growth and profit
- responses to customers’ needs
- product innovation
- workforce management
- new revenue stream creation
- customer loyalty, and
- barrier setting for competition.
It will do this through:
- Preventative maintenance – the collection and analysis of the reams of data available via bar and quick response (QR) codes, means an asset’s history is known in an instant. Field technicians are able to scan these codes and receive the most up-to-date information regarding the equipment’s history and state. But this data can also be used for accurate and timely predictive and preventative maintenance, which is a major saving in unexpected costs caused by unplanned downtimes.
- Compliance – asset management software means saying goodbye to the laborious manual task of keeping ahead of legislation and compliance requirements. It’s all updated automatically.
- Security and safety – automated enforcement of electronic safety forms before work is even commenced ensures that any potential or relevant hazards are identified and addressed.
- Costs control – a higher first time fix-rates save money, but also mean better servicing, which in turn leads to…
- Happy customers – lower costs, less downtime and greater productivity all result in higher customer retention.
Issues in any of these five areas can have significant negative impacts, ranging from increased downtime to unexpected costs, loss of productivity and even worker injuries.
Outcome-based services put the customer first. And an asset management platform like Asset Aviator facilitates this by navigating:
- Contractual commitments – the creation of site visits is automated based on contracts.
- Work order management – clear visibility in real time shows where technicians are and job statuses at any given moment.
- On-site work recording – critical information is recorded accurately and comprehensively via electronic forms.
- Professional service reports – automatically created on job completion followed by immediate emails to the client.
As services industries move past the break/fix responses of yesterday, the right asset management solution is integral to securing and retaining customers ready to implement an outcome-based model.