Disney World is a magical place for children, full of creativity, imagination and jubilation. My six-year-old loved it.
We were standing in line to pay for our lunch when he noticed something important. He said: “Why are we waiting in line to pay for food when we don’t even pay with money? Why can’t we just tap our MagicBands to pay when we order, or when we want to pick it up?”
He had a very good point. Disney “MagicBands” are your key to the park and your hotel room, and you can use them to buy food and other things throughout the complex. At the resort cafeterias, though, you have to line up to order your food, wait for it to be made and then join another line to “pay” for it.
I told my son that this was the way the process was designed. He was not impressed. He asked: “Why didn’t they just use their imaginations when they designed it?”
I could not disagree; after all, Disney World is a place where imagination comes alive. So why were we following a process that was designed for a world before the MagicBand? I can only think that, even though everyone has a MagicBand, the designers hadn’t fully conceptualized, or imagined, how these bands could drastically change customer interactions. They simply made an existing process slightly more efficient. But the legacy process is still there; one where you order the food in one line and then pay for it in another.
This got me thinking about field service. With the rise of the Internet of Things and predictive analytics, why would any field service operator want to simply optimize an existing process? Why wouldn’t they allow their imaginations to run wild and transform their customer experiences?
Optimizing existing processes is a key function of any good field service operator, but being able to imagine a new process is critically important if you want a stronger competitive option. The best outcome is to optimize an existing process while building capabilities to bring an imaginative vision to life.
With field operations, this can be accomplished by eliminating the need for the customer to notify the provider of a need for service. You can replace that step by continuously understanding current and future needs, always taking the correct action at the right time to resolve the issue. Reflecting this on service agreements ensures differentiation in a competitive marketplace.
This is how the relationship between ServiceMax and Software AG works; Software AG monitors IoT data streaming from production equipment, uses real-time and predictive analytics to tell when maintenance will be needed and then raises a service call directly in ServiceMax’s cloud-based platform.
ServiceMax then manages the service call from end to end, optimizing the orders for parts and the dispatch of field staff. This enables field staff to monitor and support the equipment proactively and cost-effectively.
In other words, ServiceMax used its imagination when it determined its field service strategy. Thinking ahead meant that it could save money on field service, and save customers money and time calling service centers to report costly equipment failures.
It leverages the IoT by using remote condition monitoring and predictive analytics to predict the remaining useful life of equipment. This helps to prevent disruptive surprises and a timely response to production issues.
Manufacturing customers, much like my six-year-old, have little patience when it comes to things not going to plan. Waiting in line to pay for something that requires no “money” is as frustrating to a six-year-old as it is for a manufacturer who is waiting for field service to fix a critical piece of machinery.