As companies begin using robots and drones in field service to help share their workloads, there are even more smart machines that can help make field service work better. According to a report conducted by Aberdeen Research called “Welcome to the Next Generation of Smart Machines” (July 2015), 53% of Best-in-class equipment is connected and utilized for monitoring, maintenance, and service. On the other hand, only one-third of peer organizations have connected machines. Smart machines are valuable because they give companies a clear view of how equipment is performing and how it is used. This helps companies determine how to go about improving the services they offer, and create better products and machinery.
Here are some ways smart machines are useful for field service:
Smart Data Collection
There’s an abundance of data floating around nowadays, but the ability to take all of that data and capture important pieces of information about equipment is what makes smart machines special. When smart machines are connected to the Internet of Things, data can be analyzed in a way that is beneficial to companies. For example a crane manufacturing company is using sensor data to discover potential failures in their cranes so that the equipment’s performance can be improved. On top of that, when information is collected and stored on smart machines that can separate that data into “silos,” everyone in various departments who needs to review the data will be able to have access to it and get insights on parts inventory or common failures.
Equipment Designed Intelligently
When field service data has been collected and analyzed, machines can be developed that are better than their predecessors. Putting data to use is a smarter way to build machines. Since field service technicians are the ones who have to go out and fix equipment when problems arise, it’s crucial that machines and equipment is engineered in a way that makes techs’ jobs easier. Smart machines are able to self-diagnose and communicate problems to technicians remotely, making it easier for them to find solutions.
Added Value for Customers
Using insights gained from data to design equipment is a smarter method to find ways to earn revenue by offering customers equipment features they’d be willing to pay to have. To do this, field service companies must learn how customers use their machines. Every equipment improvement might not be lucrative, so it’s important to use the data collected from connected machines to understand what customers truly want. For customers nowadays, it’s all about individualized service and personalized attention. They don’t want a general solution to a problem or issue, they want an answer that’s specifically tailored to their business needs.
Offer Smarter Services
Mobile workforce management provides ways for companies to stand out from the competition. Since smart machines collect particular customers’ data, if companies develop machines that add value to their customers, competitors will have a hard time since the offerings have been personalized. When field service companies treat customers as friends and work with them to develop machines and offerings that help them meet their goals, it makes them stand out from the competition since customers will be able to utilize equipment exactly how they need to improve their business. Some companies like John Deere use IoT to remotely send software updates to their connected machines, while some energy companies use the data they receive from wind turbine sensors to decrease downtime and prevent revenue loss thanks to predictive maintenance. Smart machines help decrease the occurrence of failures and increase uptime by 3% in Best-in-Class companies, according to the Aberdeen Report. And since smart machines notify techs of problems via remote communication and the IoT, companies will experience less downtime, therefore helping their business run more efficiently.