Why HR, Sales and Supply Chain are a Field Service Concern

Many of our customers are interested in optimizing the maintenance and operation of their geographically dispersed assets.  In the Utility industry, for example, these may be transformers, substations, or wind turbines.  In the Industrial Automation industry, this includes everything from simple motors and valves to IoT-enabled sensors and advanced programmable controllers. In the Oil and Gas industry, this can even include remote pumping stations accessible only by helicopter.

Many industries make more money on service than they do on the original sale.  Online shopping services and “employee pricing” as a perk have dropped the profit of selling new cars greatly.  Service, though, is still usually purchased at or near list prices.  Many other industries have adopted similar business models.  Therefore, looking at service performance is critical to the success of organizations, whether they are servicing their own assets or servicing assets for others.  We see leading organizations taking a holistic view of this problem, combining data from field service operations alongside execution, supply chain, sales and even HR.  It is also important to understand that the different facets of service performance are not ad hoc.  They are integral parts of measuring and optimizing service performance.  Therefore, the data for these need to be tightly integrated.  We will briefly explore these aspects of field service.

Service execution

Analytics around field service execution help service providers and service consumers understand standard metrics like mean time between failure, mean time to repair, first call resolution, and estimated time to repair.  However, without some of the supporting areas, service providers and consumers are left guessing why statistics are trending in a given direction and the quickest or most economical way to move them back into acceptable ranges.

Sales

Along with service execution, it is vital for companies to integrate sales data into their analysis to help prioritize activities as well as identify service issues that may impact future sales opportunities. For example, being able to view service performance alongside upcoming contract renewals can provide insight into which customers might have a higher probability of cancelling their contract or identify which customers are targets for up-selling or cross-selling additional services to.

Supply chain, including procurement

In these industries, not only do organizations store inventory in central warehouses, they may have additional storage locations, include some that are mobile such as individual repair trucks. Organizations need to monitor the distribution, consumption, and returns of parts through the entire supply chain from receipt to consumption and back.  They also need to track the inventories of different parts because some parts have limited shelf lives and vendors may make certain parts obsolete as they continually improve the assets. Understanding the location of parts helps ensure they are available when and where they are needed without wasteful spend on excess quantities.  Reverse logistics are also critical to monitor because failed parts may be returnable if they are under warranty.  Understanding the correlation between part failures and the journey of those parts through the supply chain can minimize future failures as well as help procurement departments evaluate supplier performance.

HR

People perform service.  They have seniority and time in grade; they work different amounts of overtime.  They have been trained and certified to do certain jobs, and these certifications need to be kept current.   These types of analyses are standard analytics for HR departments.  However, leading organizations know that tying these to service performance can help optimize the service experience and lower costs to serve.  Often a service supervisor may not know who is near to an asset that is certified to work on that asset or who still could work more without being entitled to overtime.  Often HR and the service department cannot easily evaluate the effectiveness of training programs on first call resolution.

Bringing these four areas together significantly improves a customer’s ability to not only understand the impact of their service performance on the rest of the business, but also the impact of other lines of business, such as HR, on the services team. And beyond these four, the reality is that service performance is the front line of customer interaction. Companies that want to become best-in-class should ensure they have an analytics platform that enables them to bring all of this data together and integrate it as part of their core business processes.

We at HEXstream understand how vital service is in maintaining assets and delivering performance to our customers’ customers.  Call us to talk more about how we can help your organization optimize its assets’ performance and its service organization’s performance through more holistic service analytics.

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