Dynamics 365 Field Service: Proactive and Connected

Gartner estimates that there will be over 14 bilion connected IoT devices by the end of 2019 and that this will increase to 25 bilion by the end of 2021. if you’re in the distribution space, no doubt some or all your products lines are already IoT enabled. But what if you’re a services organisation? The good news is that connected field service initiatives are particularly beneficial to your industry as well – in fact, it could set you apart from your competitors.

Ideally you’re already tracking First-Time Fix Rate and have some insights into where you’re experiencing Contract or Warranty Leakage. You might be aspiring to move beyond a break-fix model towards a more predictive and proactive approach. If you’re not, this is why you should: 

Your customers demand reduced downtime. In fact, your customers want to avoid catastrophic downtime as far as possible. Breakdowns lead to lost revenue, more overheads and increased liabilities. Even with an experienced talent pool, the time taken to perform accurate diagnostics not only aggravates the customer, it also places undue pressure on your workforce. Without insights into the root cause or key components, First-Time Fix Rates remain below customer expectations and ultimately lead to a longer Service-to-Cash cycle.

Perhaps you’ve circumvented some of these challenges successfully with maintenance service contracts. On the surface it ticks all the boxes:

  • optimisation of resource scheduling in advance

  • improvements in getting the right skills to the right customer
  • fewer incidents of catastrophic downtime
  • recurring revenue throughout the duration of the maintenance agreement

Dig a little deeper and you’ll soon find that this proactive approach isn’t without its flaws:

  • scheduled maintenance often requires scheduled downtime
  • a regimented schedule isn’t a truly efficient way of scheduling your talent pool
  • premature replacement of parts and assemblies

Think of a predictive scenario where we can perform preventative maintenance “just in time” based on the consumption of the part instead of on a predetermined schedule. Imagine your technicians service air conditioners.  The units are in several different areas of our customers’ sites. The air filter might need more frequent replacement than the overall scheduled maintenance and depending on a unit’s environment, some might need more frequent replacement than others. If sensors alert us that ten of the fifty units required filter replacements “just in time”, we could avoid additional trips and expenses to replace filters on the other forty units by scheduling the ten filters with our next maintenance trip. Not only have we helped our customer save money, we have also scheduled our technician to undertake other important works orders when at the customer.

Organisations can opt for one or more levels of connected field service:

  • Basic – a sensor alerts on a machine’s condition and a technician is dispatched
  • Advanced – following the alert, a command is returned to the equipment to reboot the sensor to then monitor if another alert condition is received. If so, a technician is dispatched
  • Expert – multiple commands are sent to the sensor and only once all automated options are exhausted, is a technician dispatched

By empowering our employees and customers with a connected field service solution, we will see the following benefits:

  • Fewer incidents of both catastrophic and planned downtime
  • Improved First-Time Fix Rates i.e. fewer incidents of misdiagnosis
  • Faster response times through online, real-time and remote equipment monitoring
  • Automated scheduling of resources using a “just in time” approach
  • A centralised view of product usage, history, issues and repairs. A trend analysis will provide insights into poor performing products or components

With a well-rounded field service solution that combines Customer, Item, Resource and historical data, you’ll encounter fewer incidents of Service- and Warranty Contract leakage. If your warranty leakage is more than the industry average 14%, it’s that much harder to compete with the top performing service organisations.

Customer Excellence is achieved with the element of surprise. Connected Field Service is that pleasant surprise a customer gets when you resolve a problem before they know about it. This allows you to move from a reactive break-fix model towards a proactive and predictive one. Partnering with your customer to contribute to their bottom line ultimately leads to a long and prosperous partnership.

Speak to the industry leaders around strategy and solution fit to move beyond break-fix to drive customer excellence – guide your field service efforts into the next league with AccTech.

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