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Field service is many times looked at as a must have for instrumentation companies. It is often utilized as a cost center to support the instruments or products purchased by the customers to cover warranty related service, aftermarket consumables, and parts, and to perform routine maintenance depending on the complexity of the instrument. As the service department matures and recognizes the economic value it creates for both the customer and the instrumentation company, we begin to lean on the reliability of the service department to deliver profitability and an elevated customer experience. If the service company does not have the right software to enable and unleash the full potential to track key performance indicators it will not be able to understand what areas to improve or benchmark against. Field service software tools, such as ServiceMax, offer an array of value-add data to measure key performance indicators (KPIs) to improve profitability, utilization, and customer experience.
When software offers such a customizable platform and allows for a large array of KPIs, it is important for the organization to understand which KPIs will drive the right performance for the organization. It is important to select the KPIs that will create healthy performance and improvement creating value; not just driving the team to improve the performance indicators, but driving the team to improve the actual performance of the team. Once the KPIs are selected, leaders and managers can use this data to make decisions and improvements for the team. The next crucial step is to build these indicators, data points that collect the information to create our KPIs, into the process that is used by the service team. We want the service team when entering the data for the KPIs to be part of the service process, not create any inconvenience during their operation; but have this process capture the proper data as a seamless unnoticed work flow as the technicians perform their routine administrative duties.
"The next crucial step is to build these indicators, data points that collect the information to create our KPIs, into the process that is used by the service team"
As the data is captured and starts to accrue, understanding the data to make decisions is the most important. Software solutions that have built in and customizable reports and dashboards available, or offered as best practices, help with organizing and using this data. Many times, depending on the business model, the KPIs that are monitored on these reports and dashboards will vary just as each business model varies with service delivery. These KPIs will monitor a full range of performance including:
• field service response time – time it takes for a technician to arrive at the customer site from the date of dispatch
• field service repair time – time it takes, once the technician arrives onsite to return the instrumentation to operating condition
• parts availability percentage – inventory levels of critical parts to ensure fast dispatching
• technician skills matrix – ensure the right technicians are trained for the right jobs
• productive utilization–what percent of time are the technicians utilized on work orders
• warranty metrics – how much cost to the organization: labor and material, and down time to customers caused by manufacture warranty
• first time fix – success rate of returning the instrumentation to operating condition during the first service visit. Having the right parts and the right technician
• by work order
• by technician
• by contract
• by region
• by account
• by equipment
• by location
As organizations transition from rigid ERP solutions and more toward the modern and customizable software tools such as Salesforce, ServiceMax, or other service software platforms it opens a multitude of avenues of value creation with the data that is captured and efficiencies from the automated processes they create. ServiceMax as one solution, built on the Salesforce platform, creates a fully customizable configuration and capability to capture data to create key performance indicators (KPIs) to really drive improvements in performance and decisions for the service management team. One of the key values of ServiceMax, is that you can build these data points right into the process for the service technicians so they do not feel any inconvenience of entering data that is required to create these KPIs.
These modern software solutions not only offer service to run more efficient business in general. These solutions open much greater opportunity for the B2B business models, all on the same platform to deliver IoT, user portals to track status, tailored dashboards that cover their preferred metrics, and even augmented reality to give quick visibility of instrument performance and degradation before critical or unplanned downtime occurs. Just as service creates the value differentiator for the instrumentation company, software now becomes the sort of “AMG” to the service department, like Mercedes Benz. When organizations can leverage the power of software platforms to develop world-class service using KPIs; profitability, utilization, and improved customer experience will be the outcome to create a successful service organization.