Digital Enterprise Unit. White Paper. Reimagining the Future of Field Service Management with Digital Technologies

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1 Digital Enterprise Unit White Paper Reimagining the Future of Field Service Management with Digital Technologies

2 About the Author Rahul Trisal Rahul is a senior Digital Strategy Consultant with TCS' Digital Enterprise group focused on developing business-to-consumer and business-to-employee strategies (both from a business and technology perspective) for mobility, social and analytics. He has executed several mobility, social and multichannel strategy engagements over the last five years for customers in the USA, Peru, South Africa, UK and India. He brings wide ranging expertise across industries such as Banking, Insurance, Pharmaceutical and Manufacturing among others. In the mobility space, he has worked in the areas of business use case identification, business roadmap optimization, BYOD, and mobility infrastructure such as MADP, MDM product evaluation, mcoe setup, mobile security evaluation and integration strategies. Rahul holds a Master's degree in business administration and Bachelor's in Engineering.

3 Abstract After sales service is critical for an organization to retain lucrative maintenance contracts. It contributes substantially to the revenue stream during the life cycle of the product. It also creates more cross sell and up sell opportunities by placing the organization in proximity with the customer on a regular basis. Field service management plays a key role in the efficient management of after sales service contracts. However, it currently faces several challenges that impact productivity and customer experience. This includes over-reliance on scheduled maintenance which leads to the inability to predict failures. In addition, without real time visibility into critical information, scheduling tasks and resource management becomes difficult. Poor knowledge management and the lack of automation are other challenges that act as roadblocks for field engineers and service managers. There is tremendous opportunity for organizations to leverage emerging digital technologies commonly referred to as the Digital Five Forces (Mobility and Pervasive Computing, Cloud, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence & Robotics and Social Media) to redefine key field service management processes. While there have been some productivity enhancements over the last few years through the use of mobility solutions, organizations can do a lot more to improve efficiencies in field service management. This whitepaper covers the challenges in field service management and suggests a digital approach to reimagine current business processes for superior customer service, cost reduction, and productivity improvement.

4 Contents Introduction 5 Understanding the current business processes in field service management 5 Primary roadblocks to effective field service management 6 Reimagining the future of field service management 8 Conclusion 10

5 Introduction Enterprises across the globe are facing unprecedented changes in business operations due to the convergence of new digital forces consisting of mobility and pervasive computing, cloud, big data, artificial intelligence & robotics and social media. Field service management teams need to not only rethink current processes but also meet the rising customer expectations through a more optimized and efficient business model. The field service management function for most Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) can be broadly classified into two categories based on the size and cost of the manufactured item and the end user of the product. The first includes low to medium priced manufactured goods and caters to retail consumers. The second category focuses on equipment which is manufactured for large industrial organizations. This paper is more focused on challenges in field service management of equipment and machinery used for servicing large manufacturing units, and the futuristic solutions to mitigate these challenges. Understanding the current business processes in field service management The sale of machinery and equipment to large industrial units involves servicing contracts of a much longer duration compared to annual contracts signed with retail customers. There are six major steps in the current field service management processes as illustrated in figure Customer Reports outage to the call center or service manager Dispatcher and Service Manager Assigns task to the field engineers and keeps track of task status Field Service Engineer at the office Monitors the scheduled maintenance logs Identifies the manuals, equipment, and spare parts required for servicing 5 Field Service Engineer at the office Generates invoices at office and updates the completion/follow up records of service request Assesses and services the equipment. If new spare parts are needed, places the order over the phone or at office 4 Field Service Engineer at the service location Figure 1: Current processes in field service management 5

6 The process starts with a service request from the customer to the service manager or company call center due to an outage or scheduled maintenance. The service manager communicates the timelines to the customer for the execution of the service request based on the urgency and available time slots. The task is then assigned dynamically to the field engineer, who needs to identify the paper based manuals, equipment, and spare parts that may be required for the servicing. On arriving at the customer site, the service engineer assesses the equipment and refers to the manuals for confirmation. The engineer will also evaluate if new spare parts need to be installed and place an order immediately over the phone or make a note of the requirement if it is unavailable. The service manager receives an update once this process is complete. In the next step and on reaching the office, the service engineer raises a request for spare parts, and completes the servicing report and request for invoice generation. Due to a lack of integrated IT solutions, there are many challenges in accomplishing these tasks, which in turn lead to customer dissatisfaction and lower productivity of field service engineers. Primary roadblocks to effective field service management Reliance on scheduled maintenance rather than predictive maintenance Field service management is a complex balancing act between maintenance needs and costs. High maintenance means deploying more resources and higher costs. At the other extreme, low equipment maintenance could lead to failure or outages which in turn impacts production and worker safety. Currently, most large OEMs have a standard maintenance schedule for servicing industrial equipment. However, this may not be the ideal solution as there are unpredictable factors such as environment, equipment age and usage, production schedules, among others that could drastically impact maintenance schedules. Over-reliance on scheduled maintenance, therefore leads to several gaps in maintenance needs since it does not detect possible risks and failure patterns that could lead to equipment downtime. This is pushing OEMs to adopt predictive maintenance strategies that help in early identification of equipment failure. Lack of remote monitoring tools In the traditional approach, service engineers travel to the customer site once a request is raised. This can be both time consuming and cost prohibitive. The inability to conduct an initial diagnosis before reaching the customer site, reduces the productivity of service engineers. Poor visibility into field force activities A typical day for a field service engineer includes a lot of dynamic and interdependent elements such as time taken for each customer task, unforeseen issues during servicing, critical outages scenarios, and so on. The lack of real time visibility into these activities, can result in field service managers spending valuable time and effort in 6

7 managing schedules to ensure all tasks are carried out within appropriate timelines. It also makes it harder to commit timelines for new servicing requests without immediate access to critical information on the availability and workload of field engineers. Loss of expertise and knowledge The timeframe for planning the scheduled maintenance of large equipment depends on the complexity and the type of maintenance being carried out. During this time, the field engineer can also inspect and understand the kind of maintenance procedures that are required. In most cases, the actual maintenance is carried out after a few months. Service engineers responsible for previous maintenance may have left the organization, taking with them, their knowledge and understanding of the equipment and customers' business. This loss of expertise and knowledge impacts the efficiency and productivity of new resources. Capturing tacit human knowledge helps in imparting proper training and improves productivity and efficiency. Lack of real-time information on spare parts Once the service engineer reaches the customer site and assesses the equipment, a timeframe for servicing needs to be provided. Without adequate information on spare parts, it is difficult to commit to a specific date for completion. This is complicated further, in case the spare part is out of stock and has to be ordered. This in turn could lead to delays and customer dissatisfaction. Such a scenario is most likely to happen during an unscheduled maintenance or while inspecting the equipment for a scheduled maintenance, which uncovers the need for an unplanned part replacement. Better visibility into spare part availability will ensure that all servicing requests are carried out on time, thereby improving customer experience. Use of physical field service manuals A majority of the field service engineers still carry large and heavy paper based procedure or repair manuals. These are not only cumbersome to carry, but also lead to additional printing costs every time changes are made to the manual. Delay in report filing and invoice generation The time lag between service completion and invoice generation is another critical challenge faced by OEMs. It can take between three to four weeks leading to loss in terms of revenue realization. The delay is mostly due to paper based reports that need to be completed by field engineers at the office and signed-off by customers before generating the invoice. 7

8 Reimagining the future of field service management OEMs can leverage the digital forces to redefine each of the steps across the process cycle in field service management. This reimagined business process transformation is illustrated in figure 2. 1 Varied data sets, predictive models for insight generation Predictive maintenance alerts rather than scheduled maintenance 2 Sensor data inputs from machinery and equipment Analytics & Big Data Dispatcher and Service Manager 3 Remote Monitoring and Repair Evaluates if the repairs can be done remotely. if not, provides diagnosis Assigns Task to Field Engineers and keeps track of task status 6 Mobility & Pervasive Computing 5 Social Media 4 Field Service Engineer at the office Uses an ipad app to Access field/repair manuals Get real time view of spare part inventory Achieve closure report and for invoicing Field Service Engineer at the service location Based on the preliminary analysis from remote diagnosis, uses Enterprise Social networking tools for training and to gain insights from experts on the particular issues Field Service Engineer at the office Figure 2: Reimagining field service management processes In the following section we delve deeper into how these digital forces can be used to create more efficient field service management processes. Predictive maintenance to increase equipment uptime With Big Data going mainstream, large equipment manufacturers are looking to shift from scheduled to preventive maintenance. Typically, OEMs use a large number of sensors to capture data on key parameters of equipment performance in near real-time. The sensor data along with other key data sets are stored in a Hadoop based environment and various predictive models are then used to assess the equipment condition and generate maintenance alerts as and when required. Early identification of risk factors and possibility of failure reduces maintenance costs and untimely outage. 8

9 Remote diagnosis and troubleshooting for improved productivity Remote diagnostic tools should be used as a first line of attack to assess the reported outage. They assist in scheduled maintenance through monitoring and analyzing key equipment parameters. Remote monitoring empowers field service managers with data points through dashboards and reports that can be used to troubleshoot the problem remotely, if possible. Even if remote trouble shooting is not feasible, field engineers can conduct an initial diagnosis to identify the spare parts that need repair. Such an approach equips them with the right information and they can thus complete the task quickly at the customer site. This helps optimize costs by cutting down on the number of and time taken during field visits. Knowledge management, collaboration and training through Enterprise Social Networking Solution Human expertise and knowledge is critical to the success of field service management. A robust enterprise social networking solution serves as a knowledge management and collaboration platform where blogs, wikis, document storage, etc., are used to capture the tacit knowledge within the organization. Dedicated ideation platforms support crowdsourcing of new ideas that can drive innovation across processes and customer service offerings. Features such as 'find an expert' can be used through mobile devices to gain access to the right expertise while on the customer site. Social networking tools also prove to be useful for training recently recruited field service engineers. Increasingly, gamification is another area that is being used by organizations for a more emerging and immersive training experience. Motivating employees through gaming concepts such as badges and reward point systems on completion of training creates a sense of recognition for employees and at the same time helps organizations identify leaders for various skill sets. Better scheduling for planning workforce requirements Field Service Management units within an organization need to adopt analytics driven workforce management solutions to automatically generate schedules and routes for field service technicians. Continual update of job status through on site - reporting and service completion task tracker, GPS locator and other such inputs can allow a service manager to gain real-time visibility on his resources and better allocate them for pending requests. This practice helps organizations hit service windows and meet SLA compliance. Mobility solutions for real time visibility into spare parts inventory Field engineers need instant access to information regarding spare parts availability in order to prevent delays in completing service requests. A mobile application connected with a back-end inventory management system can provide the field engineer real time visibility on a handheld device at the customer site. In case the spare part is unavailable, alerts can be sent to the right team to initiate the procurement process. It also leads to lower servicing time and drastic improvements in productivity. 9

10 Digitization of field service manuals for easy access to information Immediate access to highly specialized information is critical for operations, service, repairs or maintenance during field visits. Bulky and outdated paper-based manuals can be replaced with digital alternatives that are simpler to use, more cost-effective as well as less time consuming to prepare and update. It also allows field engineers to access critical information anytime, anywhere using mobile devices. Many field service technicians in manufacturing industries are using wearable devices to get a real time maintenance view through videos, hot spots, and similar techniques in hands free mode. Mobility for service closure reports and invoice generation Accelerating cash flow and revenue realization depends on the timely generation of service closure reports and invoices. Mobile solutions assist field service engineers in completing these tasks while at the customer site as soon as the request is completed. Features such as customized invoice templates, auto population of customer details such as name and location as well as integration with the accounting system can optimize the billing process and accelerate payment processing. Conclusion Considering the potential impact and benefits of the digital five forces, it is imperative for service organizations to review and redefine the current processes in field service management. This can help them improve service standards and workforce productivity, ultimately leading to better topline and bottom line growth as well as higher customer satisfaction. 10

11 About TCS' Digital Enterprise Unit TCS adapts the capabilities of the digital five forces Mobility and Pervasive Computing, Big Data and Analytics, Social Media, Cloud, and Artificial Intelligence & Robotics to the unique needs and opportunities of each industry. We leverage a combination of these technologies to help clients digitally reimagine their business models, products and services, customer segments, channels, business processes, and workplaces to gain sustained competitive advantage. Our experienced global team includes strategy experts, business analysts, digital marketers, user experience designers, data scientists, and engineers trained and certified in the latest technologies. By combining our technology vendor partnerships, our pre-built customizable products and reusable assets, and our deep industry expertise, we offer enterprises everything they need for a complete digital transformation from strategy and use cases, to system implementation and maintenance and everything in between. Contact For more information about TCS Digital Enterprise Unit, contact Subscribe to TCS White Papers TCS.com RSS: Feedburner: About Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Tata Consultancy Services is an IT services, consulting and business solutions organization that delivers real results to global business, ensuring a level of certainty no other firm can match. TCS offers a consulting-led, integrated portfolio of IT and IT-enabled infrastructure, engineering and TM assurance services. This is delivered through its unique Global Network Delivery Model, recognized as the benchmark of excellence in software development. A part of the Tata Group, India s largest industrial conglomerate, TCS has a global footprint and is listed on the National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange in India. For more information, visit us at IT Services Business Solutions Consulting All content / information present here is the exclusive property of Tata Consultancy Services Limited (TCS). The content / information contained here is correct at the time of publishing. No material from here may be copied, modified, reproduced, republished, uploaded, transmitted, posted or distributed in any form without prior written permission from TCS. Unauthorized use of the content / information appearing here may violate copyright, trademark and other applicable laws, and could result in criminal or civil penalties. Copyright 2015 Tata Consultancy Services Limited TCS Design Services I M I 02 I 15

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