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Equipment holds valuable secrets for field services firms

The industrial internet of things is transforming the industry

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Ganeshmurthy Bhat

Assistant Vice President, Analytics, IoT and IIoT Services and Solutions

January 23, 2018 - Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) spend about 27% of their overall services budget on field service operations. And a study by the research firm MarketsandMarkets suggests that the field service management (FSM) market size is set to grow from $1.97 billion in 2015 to $5.11 billion by 2020.

To make the most of this boom, quality product support is key. In fact, it has become one of the most important after-market success drivers for today's field services businesses. Yet the following persistent questions can hamper the growth of companies:

  • When to send out field engineers to resolve a specific issue
  • How to optimize cost when they do send them out
  • Whether field engineers are working on schedule
  • How to increase first-time fixes and reduce the overall cost of fixes
  • How to reduce repeat customer queries on the same issue
  • How to measure performance

To address these challenges, field service companies are ripe for transformation. They can now take advantage of the valuable data their equipment holds. And valuable data there is. With so many technological advancements in the industrial internet of things (IIoT)—from real-time machine data to advanced analytics—they can reinvent themselves as predictive rather than reactive organizations. And once technicians unlock the intelligence in their equipment, they can make strategic decisions. As a result, costs will come down, service will be more reliable and field execution practices will be best in class.

Here are some of the things IIoT makes possible:

  • Prioritizing jobs with the help of machine learning
  • Augmented reality for troubleshooting so technicians don't have to go to the field
  • Applying statistical principles with real-time alert management to get the most out of people, parts, and tools
  • Real-time debriefing while onsite work is in progress
  • Tracking field technicians' progress in real time to improve productivity

Equipment holds valuable secrets for field services firms

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There's little doubt that IIoT will make the field services industry more efficient, reduce operational risks, improve tool deployment, and provide better visibility into KPIs. It will boost productivity and optimize the cost of field technicians, too. The jury is in. Now is the time for the industry to take advantage of IIoT.