Beyond Break-Fix Field Service…

When the services you provide are unavailable, or the products you sell break down, your customers suffer terrible costs, lose valuable time, disappoint their customers, and experience great inconvenience.  What if you could substantially reduce – or even eliminate – down times for your customers?

What would that service be worth to your customers?  Would having such a service offering significantly reduce your risk of customer churn?

How much service revenue could you generate by guaranteeing uptime?  Would having such a service open the doors to other revenue (annuity) streams?

The Cost of Field Service Break-Fix Emergencies

When industrial equipment breaks down, work stops.

The cost of downtime for manufacturers is significant. Minutes can add up to millions of dollars in lost revenue.

When a customer calls with a break-fix emergency, field service technicians are often scrambling to get to the site with the right information, equipment, and parts.

Ultimately, because of your talented and persistent work force, the issue gets resolved.  The field service technician may emerge a hero in that customer’s eye, but the process is often painful, and the customer is left with a bad taste in their mouths.

Can you offer your customers a 100% uptime guarantee?

Performance-based service level agreements (SLAs) are becoming a huge competitive differentiator in the field service industry. Of course, to be able to take advantage of this new business model, you’ll need a few pieces of technology in place (i.e. IoT and Machine Learning).

3 Ways to Break Free of Break-Fix Field Service

While there’s no such thing as no-fail equipment, field service software like Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Field Service helps create a no-fail, no-surprise experience for you and your customers.

Better outcomes are a result of:

  1. IoT Sensors & Field Service Software

Inexpensive IoT (Internet of Things) sensors can detect a wide array of information. Weight, heat, light, noise, vibration levels and usage amounts can be continually collected and stored as data points in the Azure cloud.

Engineers then set acceptable variance levels in the field service software. Anything outside of that range triggers an alert. These alerts are analyzed automatically and can trigger automation, which could be a field service work order or even a self-healing command from a call center technician.  The goal here is to catch things that are out of normal ranges before they become problems.

Over time, as more data is collected, including failure data on each of the components in your products or services, machine learning business analytics tools are able to accurately predict the average lifespan of each of those components. This gives you another indicator of when equipment will fail and allows you to proactively schedule a repair, rebuilt, or replacement of that component.

Equipment that is properly maintained will likely last much longer, which makes more money for your customers, and adds even more value to your predictive maintenance service offerings.

  1. Machine Learning

While IoT is great for catching equipment in early phases of deterioration, another technology gives us the ability to predict failure, providing the opportunity to address the issue before it is an issue. This same data we collect as part of our IoT efforts is analyzed and paired up with failure data to provide an accurate equipment/component lifespan.

Over time, as more data is collected, including failure data, machine learning business analytics tools are able to accurately predict the average lifespan of each of those components. This gives you another indicator of when equipment will fail and allows you to proactively schedule a repair, rebuild, or replacement of that component.

Equipment that is properly maintained will likely last much longer, which makes more money for your customers, and adds even more value to your predictive maintenance service offerings.

  1. Spare Parts Inventory Replenishment

Most field service technicians are also responsible for keeping their own inventory of parts and products on their truck.  Wouldn’t it be great if the system consuming the parts (Dynamics 365 for Field Service), could automate the process of parts replenishment?

With the ease of integration between Dynamics 365 for Field Service and Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, it becomes very simple to auto-replenish inventory, to ensure you have enough safety stock on hand without risk of obsolescence.  And with little or no additional effort from the field team.

Ready to learn what connected field service can do for you?

Author: Travis Pullen, Engagement Manager

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