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Aberdeen: Field Service Transformation

Recap of Field Service 2013 and a Look Forward

April 30, 2012

The world of field service often conjures up images of a broken asset at a customer site or a technician turning a wrench. Though true at times, the current field service landscape is about much more than a break and a fix. In Aberdeen’s recent Field Service 2013: Workforce Management Guide (February 2013) the top reason sampled organizations increased their focus on field service was as a result of increased competition in service. Recently, at last week’s Field Service 2013, a number of presenters highlighted some of the key trends and best practices related to not only improved field service operations but more importantly the impact of field service on the customer experience and profitability. Below I have highlighted just a few of the topics that were discussed at the event and which also appear in current Aberdeen field service research:

-Parts often are the forgotten piece of the field service equation. Technicians are integral to resolving issues in the field, however as seen in Aberdeen’s Field Service research, of visits that require a part only 47% of the time is that part is the technician’s truck stock. Furthermore, the number #1 reason for a second visit is a technician not having the right part when on-site with the customer, and this secondary visit results it not only increased cost of a truck roll but also a dissatisfied customer due to a down piece of equipment. Organizations that provide visibility into parts in the warehouse, in truck stock, at a customer site, or in another tech’s truck are better able to improve their ability to fix issue the first time.

  • A cloud-based strategy has a place in field service. In Aberdeen’s recent Field Service research, 34% of organizations sampled indicated that cloud computing will influence their field service automation roadmap in 2013. This interest is up from 2012 when less than 30% of organizations indicated an interest in cloud-based field service deployments. The cloud affords the opportunity to reap benefits in initial investment, scalability, time to deployment, and cost.
  • Field service is no longer a cost of doing business. A number of speakers at Field Service 2013 highlighted how exceptional field service can actually be a means to drive newer revenue streams. This is not to say that techs should become salespeople, however technicians have the opportunity to gather valuable customer insights and bring that back to the organization’s sales team. Alignment between the field service organization and other functions, especially sales, is integral to unearthing future revenue opportunities and unmet customer needs.

As organizations continue to focus investments and resources into field service it is integral that the focus is on migrating from a break / fix team to one that is more so capable of preventive and predictive service. Top performing organizations have been able to leverage field service to drive new revenue streams, cut costs as a result of more efficient routing and scheduling, and improve customer satisfaction due to increased first-time fix rates.

written by:

Aly Pinder, Senior Research Associate at Aberdeen Group

As a senior associate in the customer experience and service management practice, Aly Pinder Jr. researches and explores how service and manufacturing executives utilize technology and implement best practices to improve post-sales service and support processes. Through practitioner benchmarking and analysis of Aberdeen’s research database, he examines how Best-in-Class service organizations are reengineering their service chains for improved performance and increased profitability.

Aly’s coverage areas within the service space primarily cover the following topics on which he has written or co-authored over 40 research reports and bench marked more than 4,000 service executives in his four plus years with Aberdeen:

  • Field Service and Mobility
  • Service Parts Logistics
  • Warranty and Service Contract Management
  • Reverse Logistics

Follow Aly at: @Aberdeen_cesm, @Pinderjr

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