Field service management is a market primarily driven by innovations in automation technologies and service delivery models. The increased demand for real-time collaboration between the field technicians and service managers has driven an unprecedented growth in field service management. This growth can be attributed to growing demand for operational efficiency, and cost optimization. Is preventative maintenance enough to fuel this growth? We can see substantial growth of FSM in the HVAC industry, fire & life safety, gas utilities, IT services and many others. With the level of competition and complexity in technology growing, there is a rising demand for predictive maintenance in these industries. Are we ready for connected field service?
The Internet of Things is a buzz word that we are hearing everywhere these days. What it means is that as manufacturers build new products, they are building sensors into these devices that track all kinds of performance-related metrics. In the instance of HVAC units, they would have sensors built into a device that would say alert the back office with a message that this device or compressor is underperforming, performing below an acceptable level or at a level where expect it’s going to break imminently.
These sensors are now connected to the internet. The message goes out into the ether of the internet, and there are platforms like Azure and Amazon being used. Many manufacturers have their platforms that collect these error messages that are unique to that serialized device. The industry term for this is connected field service. We can connect to multiple platforms, and when we see an error message, we can then generate a service call within the field service application.
So instead of the traditional preventive maintenance platform where every three months, we inspect the air conditioning units, we now indulge in what we refer to as predictive maintenance. When the device tells us that something is not working optimally, we can then dispatch a resource with potentially the appropriate replacement part and the data derived from the device. We can then reduce the multiple visit service calls because we now know what the exact problem is, rather than somebody estimating what’s wrong, and we go out and perform the diagnostic.
Optimizing Operational Efficiency
We can get the right resource to the right part of the device before a breakdown, meaning that for the customer gets almost 100% uptime. There are no breakages anymore; we are reducing our multi-visit calls and the cost of delivering that service. On all ends of that food chain, everybody wins.
When we think about the expense of a CT scan machine being down for 24 hours to 48 hours, you can see the tremendous dollar savings and customer service improvements by connecting to these sensors within the devices into these platform providers. This is the next level of field service management.