Service companies generally agree that mobile operations have long-since reached a point of maturity in service. Well before smart devices, rugged tools have made the act of service delivery on mobile, not just possible, but the standard. Of course, with maturity, there’s complacency, and if businesses, especially in manufacturing, don’t take the time to get mobility right, they stand to not just leave a lot of money on the table. They also put themselves in a position where they could be crippling their own service ambitions.
For manufacturers specifically, there are two main things that set mobile apart. The first is the fact that for businesses that are just now embracing servitization, mobile service might not be very mature for them at all. In fact, the utilization of mobile devices for any business process might be something that’s not been directly considered before at all. The other element at play is the gigantic scope of what manufacturers might be servicing. A company servicing food and beverage equipment is beholden to different physical requirements than one working on HVAC equipment. So let’s outline some of the major considerations:
I’ve been a broken record on this for many years now, but any sort of mobile device that is used for service activities needs to have full 1:1 parity with its desktop counterpart. This is especially important for businesses embracing servitization. If service managers are accessing, say, inventory systems that reach outside of service departments, it’s important to ensure that while on a job site, they can access everything in real-time. Not having that information either increases the time from ticket to invoice as the tech shuffles back to a computer or, more troublingly, creates inconsistencies between systems. Best-in-class service software will have that complete parity right out of the box, and it’s incredibly important.
Mobile devices have already gobbled up some of the physical libraries of our lives, whether it be our CD collection, or movies, or books. They should obviously, then, be able to do the same for the reams of reference materials that technicians often need access to. Mobility also offers an opportunity to approach and access knowledge management in ways that take fuller advantage of the form-factor. Simplistically, this can mean things like universal search. Forward-thinking companies use cameras and other mobile-specific goodies to enhance the experience through remote assistance, AR-powered step-by-step instructions, and other similar utilities. To that point…
Please excuse me for this: be wary of wearables. Does that mean don’t use them? No! But they’re often heavy and take up space. If a technician is only going to pull them out once a week, then what is the value? With any technology, whether it be hardware, software, or wetware, there’s no excuse for not properly vetting solutions for practicality, usability, and return-on-investment. For industrial manufacturers, wearables (especially when paired with remote assistance) may be an invaluable asset. For other types of manufacturers, the cons may end up outweighing the pros (and maybe by only a small margin!). I love a good wearable, but unless it’s deliberately deployed, it’s hard to recommend.
The bottom line is this: Don’t grab every shiny object that is dangled in front of you. Not unless you can make the case for your business.
Learn more about servitization in manufacturing on the IFS manufacturing page.
#Servitization is transforming manufacturing, with customers demanding new outcome-based business models. Start mapping your servitization journey with this visioning guide. 👉 https://t.co/xhZuKT17jA pic.twitter.com/Nar9wbL7wq
— IFS (@ifs) August 26, 2020
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