Most manufacturers are familiar with providing base services alongside their product offerings. After all, customers expect that equipment will experience maintenance problems from time to time.
But with internet of things (IoT) advances, more manufacturers are looking to move beyond production and add new revenue streams through servitization.
The biggest roadblock?
The traditional manufacturing value chain wasn’t designed to efficiently support a portfolio of services beyond hardware. The industry has made great strides in agility, especially in production and core processes. However, legacy systems and siloed teams make it challenging for manufacturers to quickly bring profitable new service lines to market.
Manufacturers cannot simply expand on current service offerings to achieve successful outcomes. Instead, they must invest in Agile development processes and organisational structures to join the many industries extending value to their customers by offering Products-as-a-Service (PaaS).
With that in mind, here are the three things manufacturers need to focus on to build successful service models.
1. Shift your customer service perspective
With the traditional customer service model, consumers only contact manufacturers when there’s a problem with a product. In many cases, this request may even be funneled through a channel partner. This contact triggers the next steps for service. The process often takes a long time and requires manual inputs, creating the potential for human error and downtime as the customer waits for the repair.
Rather than applying a reactive model, successful manufacturers are building out proactive solutions to address customer needs.
How? Through digital tools that offer real-time responses, available anywhere self-service options, predictive maintenance, and more. With digital workflows, manufacturers can unite core players in their value chain—from suppliers to field technicians—so that service teams can respond quickly to customer concerns and better manage resources.
This approach to customer service puts customers at the center, making it clear that your relationship with them—rather than the sale—is the priority.
2. Deliver quality field service
Although Industry 4.0 technology has helped manufacturers evolve in their approach to field service, challenges remain. High among them? Inefficient tools, inaccurate information, and outdated inventory records.
And with today’s focus on customer satisfaction, these field service challenges have serious business implications. Ineffective field service reflects poorly on manufacturing organisations, risking brand reputation. Additionally, issues with field service are not simply inconvenient for customers—they’re expensive. Downtime on large industrial machines can translate into thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars in lost income.
In an industry where players must remain competitive to survive, offering poor field service isn’t an option.
The solution? Delivering quality field service with an integrated field service management (FSM) tool. An integrated FSM tool gives manufacturers the ability to improve site visit experiences for customers and offers management the insight they need to monitor productivity and help ensure profitability.
And, by sharing maintenance information across your value chain, customers can access the information they need on their terms. This gives them the power to see the progress of cases and choose self-service options depending on the situation.
3. Achieve visibility across your value chain
Manufacturing has always been a complex industry. A single plant relies on multiple departments, equipment, data, technology, and personnel to run successfully. And large manufacturers face even more complications, operating across geographies and time zones, all while managing multiple suppliers and distributors.
This structure creates visibility problems. With siloed operations, manufacturers can’t gain a comprehensive view of their value chain. Even with IoT, many suppliers lack the insights they need to meet PaaS demands, slowing down the process. A lack of visibility may also prohibit new service lines from becoming effective revenue streams.
Manufacturers need a solution that quickly responds to production data, providing efficient, profitable output.
The manufacturers who succeed at PaaS will be those that evaluate their entire enterprise to determine how to better connect the disparate players and processes. With truly connected operations, manufacturers can consolidate data and processes throughout their operations to a single location. From there, it’s possible to manage PaaS efforts through end-to-end workflows.
The best part? The front office, back office, and shop floor get the insights and tools they need to succeed at the “as-a-Service” model.
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