How Can IoT Improve your Field Service Levels?

Expected reading time: 2 minutes, 58 seconds

Imagine a Microsoft HoloLens that provides service engineers with all necessary information right in their field of vision whilst on the job, drones that deliver parts that were delivered late and no downtime due to IoT enabled predictive maintenance… The more physical objects and the virtual world come together, the more opportunities arise for technical service providers.

The Internet of Things (IoT) ensures more efficient processes, fewer storage costs, and customer-focused sales. But in addition to these commercial advantages, the IoT also provides certainty for achieving SLAs, achieving shorter response times and optimal planning.

In this blog, we elaborate further on these latter developments and answer questions, such as ‘How do you ensure that the IoT improves the service level of your company?’

When an organisation starts to look more closely at its expenses, you often see the service level deteriorate in proportion to the savings. For example, savings will often be made by cutting staff numbers or capping investment in new systems or technology. Yet deploying IoT initiatives doesn’t have to result in cutbacks to such important service components. When the IoT is used in the right way, companies can improve their service level and save money at the same time.

Automating the field service process with the IoT

A first step in automating the field service process is to use mobile field service software. If your field service team does not use mobile solutions, your service requests are likely to look like this:

  • A device needs service;
  • The customer asks for service;
  • The field service engineer will drop by;
  • The field service engineer lacks context about the problem;
  • The field service engineer will discover what the problem is;
  • The field service engineer has to come back at a later time to solve the problem due to the lack of material, knowledge, certain skills or time.

On the other hand, when the IoT is deployed to support field service management, a service request looks like this:

  • A device needs to be serviced soon;
  • The device ‘contacts’ the field service organisation and gives extensive context about the problem;
  • A field service engineer with the right skills visits and solves the problem;

Not only has the service improved enormously, the costs have also been reduced. After all, a field service engineer only has to visit the site once to solve the problem preventively. Research by Microsoft shows that almost 75 percent of field service engineers indicate that they sometimes or always have to go back to the customer because:

  • they do not have the right part;
  • the transaction could not be completed due to the absence of a digital work order;
  • no service contract information was available online;
  • not enough time was taken into account to solve the problem;
  • they did not have the right skills to solve the problem.

Fewer Inspections

In addition to the benefits highlighted above, there is another great advantage to deploying the IoT in the context of field service management. Devices that can diagnose themselves and are thus able to automatically share performance indicators in real-time, no longer need routine inspections. If the device indicates that it needs a service, the right field service engineer can be assigned to the right service assignment using planning software. This can solve problems before the customer suffers.

A new world of ‘SERVICE’

Previously ‘service’ stood for solving customer problems. Today, the IoT has made it possible to change the meaning of this concept into ‘solving problems before the customer becomes aware of a problem’. This involves predictive maintenance. Through the correct use of mobile field service software, predictive maintenance can be structured in such a way that it contributes to increasing the service level and customer satisfaction.

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