Service is hot!

Service is a hot topic for manufacturing companies. But why is that the case? 

We see a number of business drivers to implement a strategy for Service Lifecycle Management (SLM); 

  • Traditional revenue streams from product sales are not sufficient anymore to sustain long-term growth of the company.
  • Companies are implementing Service Lifecycle Management strategies to increase customer satisfaction as this leads to increased loyalty and thus recurring business. Delivering high quality service is one of the pillars to achieve this. 
  • Manufacturing companies that provide exceptional service can outperform competitors in a crowded marketplace and therefore attract new customers.
  • Service offerings provide an opportunity to collect data on product usage, performance, and customer behaviour. This data can be analysed to identify patterns and trends, leading to improvements in product design, customer service and other areas.
  • The shift towards a servitization business model enables manufacturing companies to offer a combination of products and services as a bundled solution.

While the value of service is broadly recognized, the current state at many companies is that service lags behind, compared to other domains like engineering and manufacturing. In many cases, service engineers have to work with outdated information, inadequate instructions and disconnected systems. This leads to errors in the field, inefficient processes and unhappy customers. There seems to be an unexplainable gap between the perceived company value of service and the way service is treated in day-to-day operations. What can you do to monetize the value of service, what are the steps to take? 

First, manufacturing companies should look at their overall business processes. From ideation and concept development, to engineering, manufacturing and service (including products in the field). The digital product data stream that runs through your company is what we call “The Digital Thread”. 

Then you can ask yourself a couple of questions, related to Service and the Digital Thread. 

These are just a few questions that can help you to assess your current Service and Digital Thread journey. These answers will give you a good starting point of making service a strategic part of your business success.

  • Are your service engineers working with an engineering BOM (e-BOM) or do you provide them with a service BOM (S-BOM) that includes parts / kit information that is relevant to service? 
  • Does your change process include changes in service documents? 
  • Do you have a single source of truth for 3D models in engineering and service or are service engineers working with (outdated) drawings and manuals? 
  • If your products in the field are “smart and connected”, how can you use the data from those systems to improve the design for better maintenance strategies or to support customer self-service?  
  • Are your service instructions in writing or do you provide video and/or AR support to service engineers? 
  • Are you using static PDF’s that easily get outdated or do you support XML for your service documentation?

The findings in this article were concluded from our Service Lifecycle Management Round Table that was held on the 21st of March. During the Round Table we had an interesting discussion with 25 service - and digital transformation managers from our customers about their current Service situation, the challenges of the different industries and Service strategies and solutions. 

Innoptus firmly believes in an SLM-approach based on company value. Starting points are your business goals and your challenges. From there we will go to the process optimization in order to make necessary process improvements. In the last phase we will discuss solutions. This proven approach optimizes your chances of success in Service as part of your overall business strategy.

If you would like to know more how your company can benefit from an optimal Service Lifecycle Management strategy, please contact us for more information.      

Together we'll find the perfect solution for you