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Field Service Trends Shaping This Decade

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By Dylan Griffiths on March, 28 2023

What will the future of field service look like by 2030?

While 2030 may seem far off, for those who are in charge of determining the company's course, it is a relatively recent date. And in order to change the company, they typically make important decisions today.

It helps them identify the "white spaces" where little is currently occurring and keeps them in step with the disruption taking place in the industry.

According to this HBR piece, you must commit to creating a "clear vision for industry's evolution" if you want to make the change. Looking at the current "sustainable innovations" in the field service sector during that process would offer us a glimpse of how the sector may develop. 

Let’s dissect each of these field service trends to see how these trends are setting in and the responses of the field service leaders.

1. Predictive Maintenance

The global predictive maintenance market size is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.2% during the forecast period, from USD 4.0 billion in 2020 to USD 12.3 billion by 2025, according to research. The primary drivers of this growth are the mounting demands on MRO sector companies to lower maintenance downtime and operating costs.

Prashant Dinghra, Machine Learning Lead, Advanced Solutions Lab, Google Cloud, demonstrates how to construct a hypothesis and data models around it in this YouTube video from Google Work Space. The purpose of developing predictive maintenance capabilities is primarily to:

•    Predict if equipment will fail in the next ‘N’ period
•    Predict if equipment will fail in the next ‘N1’, ‘N2’…period
•    Predict if the equipment will fail in the next ‘N’ period due to the fault in the part ‘X’
•    Predict the time to failure or remaining life of the equipment
•    Find anomalies

In the same video, Manju Devdas, founder, and CEO of Pluto7, also explains how predictive maintenance “makes your operations and monitoring team more productive” and saves money by reducing unforeseen downtime.

2. Digital Twin

Digital twin is a conflation of technologies to collect, process, and then drill down data to get actionable insight. It is basically creating a digital clone of the systems, products, and processes to analyze the implications of any action on them in the real-world environment.

While it has a number of applications in product design and development and business optimization, maintenance operations is leading the segment by 24%, closely followed by performance monitoring.

3. AR and VR for Remote Assistance

In the field service industry, AR and VR technologies are used to create a simulated environment derived from real-world scenarios. It enables service technicians to visualize and identify the problem beforehand so that they could go prepared at the client’s location with tools and essential spare parts, while also allowing them to connect with certified experts from remote locations to seek guidance and support.

One of the biggest developments in remote assistance is Microsoft’s HoloLens. According to Alex Kipman, the person in charge of the HoloLens project, HoloLens is for the “people that have been, in a sense, neglected or haven’t had access to technology because PCs, tablets, phones don’t really lend themselves to those experiences.” It will improve collaboration across locations and facilitate access and exchange of data to resolve the issues quickly and accurately.

4. Dynamic Scheduling and Dispatch

Field service technicians and the back-office staff are connected by scheduling and dispatch procedures. Any error or poor management at this point quickly manifests as lost productivity and a low rate of successful first-time fixes.

In an article published by McKinsey on How Disruptive Technologies are Opening up Innovative Opportunities in Services, it is stated that “By using data and telematics to track technicians schedules in real time’, companies can add 20 to 30 percent to the working day.”

Similarly, Deloitte stated that companies are “Reducing costs by optimizing dispatch processes through employing information such as skills, proximity, priority, account allocations for scheduling and dispatch.”

5. Route Optimization

The market for route optimization software is anticipated to increase from USD 2.50 billion in 2017 to USD 5.07 billion by 2023, with a CAGR of 11.4%. The growth rate illustrates how businesses are utilizing geographic information systems (GIS) technology to streamline routes and cut down on travel time and fuel expenditure.

Software solutions for route optimization give users the ability to choose routes within the service delivery network that use the least amount of fuel, track drive time, and avoid unplanned stops. Such software solutions typically include a potent route optimization engine that analyzes various scenarios to determine the time and cost variables and recommends the best routes.

6. Workforce as a Service

According to the international consulting company McKinsey, there are roughly "68 million independent contractors in the US." The majority of gig workers serve B2C business models and are employed by businesses like Uber, Lyft, TaskRabbit, Instacart, Airbnb, and Shyp. Freelance technicians and contractors are anticipated to become more prevalent in the field service business as technology continues to advance the FSM processes.

According to IBM, "companies can more accurately predict outages and deploy their workforce" with "systems to track work orders and maintenance records for all field infrastructure," as stated in the article How the gig economy will change field service management.

These systems enable field service providers to give their independent technicians access to information from any location, at any time, with role-based rights. The companies have more control over who and how much information a freelance technician must see, even though the technicians could obtain information to perform maintenance and repair tasks.

7. Technician Enablement Tools

You must view the entire FSM process from the field service technician's point of view in order to clearly comprehend technological enablement tools. Being a person rather than a resource necessitates accepting that they are prone to exhaustion, annoyance, and errors. The next stage after acceptance is to assist them with resources that share their burden and help them through difficult times.

To solve the problem correctly, for instance, diagnostic tools could give them access to information like service manuals, service history, recommendations for diagnosis and repair, and the pertinent service handbook. Deloitte claims in the piece that Smart Field Service "Delivering delightful experiences for your customers requires creating the right experiences for your field technicians."

8. Performance Management Tools

A performance evaluation of people, procedures, and assets is necessary for a typical FSM process. The majority of field service organizations assess success using KPIs or metrics. Customer satisfaction, service revenue, mean time to fix, SLA compliance, field technician utilization rate, and service part revenue are a few of the most popular field service KPIs, according to the Field Service News report.
The adoption of performance management tools to set, define, monitor, and measure KPIs, whether for assets or field teams or other entities, would rise as businesses moved their operations online.

9. Knowledge Management

With an ageing workforce, high employee turnover, and operational complexity, the field service industry would have to put forth more effort to avoid knowledge loss. In 48% of field service businesses, the danger of an ageing workforce was a real threat to their ability to provide services, according to a Field Service News report.

It might, however, be a factor in information management. Improved first-time fix rates are a crucial factor in the industry's greater knowledge management efforts. Companies have a better chance of ensuring a speedy and accurate resolution of the issue by providing technicians in the field with access to vital information such as service manuals connected with work orders.

So what can you do right now?

A "nice to have" could suddenly become a "must-have" given how quickly technology is developing and how readily consumers embrace new technological solutions. And these disruptions frequently result in companies closing their doors because they are unable to adjust and adopt.

It's time to start planning ahead for what your industry might look like in 4, 6, or 10 years in order to stay one step ahead of the competition, provide superior customer service, and create a disruptive company.

If you're interested in seeing how data analytics - and an innovative platform can help your field service organization make better decisions, we invite you to book a demo with Aimsio today. Our platform is designed to help organizations optimize their operations through data-driven insights and streamlined workflows.

Whether you're looking to improve technician performance, reduce downtime, or enhance the customer experience, we can help. Book a demo today to learn more about how Aimsio can help your organization thrive in today's competitive market.

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