Editor’s note: This article was originally published on MD+DI here

From our late and well-respected business leader Jack Welch, “CASH IS KING” is a mantra many business leaders live by, but what does that mean today in the midst of COVD-19? Think of the thousands of service businesses that had their business strategies laid out and their 2020 plans unveiled to associates and leaders. Then, only a month and a half into the year, they’ve had to suddenly pivot from executing on their strategy to placing it on hold and moving into a reactionary tactical mode.

Though service businesses across many industries have been impacted by COVID-19, the medical device service industry has certainly felt a significant shift in focus. Based on conversations I’ve had with medical CSOs, I see that:

  • Approved 2020 budgets are frozen
  • Non-essential travel has been eliminated
  • Hiring slow down or freezes
  • Overall spend is scrutinized
  • Reallocation of resources
  • Project deferment and/or limiting project activity

This is being done to preserve cash as customers stretch payment terms and demand improved flexibility. So, what are companies spending money on then?

Is the new strategy to operate with the sole purpose of keeping the lights on, or does the pivot that many companies are taking gear them up to support specific actions? The answer is somewhere in the middle.

Digital Tools Take Priority

The COVID-19 situation has certainly influenced companies in some similar ways given the halt in non-essential travel. In the service world, however, most travel is absolutely essential. We support the systems and machines that save and sustain life, so there isn’t a way to eliminate travel, but there is a way to control it.

Through the use of digital field service management tools, remote diagnostics, IoT, AI, and even tools like AR, medical device companies can reduce the unnecessary travel of the field service teams by triaging and remote fixing as much as possible. A successful triage can ensure that a field service engineer doesn’t need to make repeat visits as he or she is prepared with the right information and the right parts to allow for improved overall first-time fix while optimizing uptime. Remote fix and remote upgrades prevent the need to send a field service engineer or even an applications expert to the site at all. The interest in digital initiatives in medical devices was already high, and COVID-19 has likely raised the interest even further.

To learn why there is an increased focus on the engineer and find the critical survival list that service organizations are following, continue reading this article on MD+DI here.

ABOUT Shawn LaRocco

Shawn LaRoccoShawn LaRocco is the Vice President of Digital Transformation for the Medical Device Industry at ServiceMax. With his vast experience in the medical device field, Shawn acts as a trusted advisor to our customers and prospects; sharing the best practices he has gained to help transform their service organization. Prior to ServiceMax, Shawn led Alcon’s Global Technical Service organization within the Surgical Franchise, where he was responsible for global service strategies, operations, functions, and growth objectives. He previously served as the Sr. Director of US & Canada Service Technologies within the GE’s expansive service organization supporting 5000 employees and a $2.5B business. Starting out as an R&D engineer developing prosthetics and orthopedics for children, Shawn has held many positions across engineering, marketing, and service operations. He holds a B.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering and an MBA in Global Management.

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