We recently discussed the benefits of listening to your assets. How do you do that? Well, it requires the addition of remote sensors, IoT, remote condition monitoring, and the ability to take the wealth of asset data that comes from connected field devices (whether serviced in the field or in the depot) and operationalize it into insights that drive significantly improved asset uptime. That uptime is achieved when moving from corrective maintenance to predictive maintenance, allowing you to service assets before they malfunction.
In this article, I will look at where to go next after you’ve mastered the practice of remote condition monitoring, created asset performance profiles, and achieved the ability to anticipate service failures.
From Equipment Provider to Fully Integrated Solutions Provider
Better insight into your assets allows an evolution—not only in your services strategy—but in the structure of your service organization. On a recent ServiceMax Live episode, Jerome Sultani, Senior Vice President of US Services at Schneider Electric, explained that “data can change the way that you operate,” and that “once you know how the asset is behaving, and what it needs, and how you need to service it, you organize based on what the asset tells you.” They had gained an understanding of what their assets were telling them and modified the service organization structure based on what the assets said they needed. Their objective was to continue the digital transformation that they started 11 years ago, from a hardware manufacturer to a fully integrated solutions provider.
The term fully integrated solutions provider is another way of saying outcome-based services or services as a solution. Organizations that plan this transition wish to change from equipment providers (with associated maintenance contracts) that can easily be replaced to integrated solution providers that provide a far more strategic set of services.
In Schneider’s case, they wanted to shift from selling power management hardware and repair services to providing uninterrupted power so that their customers could focus on whatever their core business was. Their objective was to take the worry about power management and availability off of their customers’ plate and allow them to focus on their own business. This not only allows a company to manage their assets as they see fit, but also elevates the relationship with their customers, makes them more of a strategic partner, and ingrains them into their customers’ business process.
Confidence in Your Data Opens the Door to Outcome-Based Service
In order to shift to outcome-based service, you must have access to all of your asset data. You need a deep understanding of your assets’ condition and performance and confidence that the assets will perform uninterrupted for customers. You don’t have the luxury of time to wait for the equipment to fail and then respond—you are contracted to supply the outcome of that asset. You must be able to anticipate the condition of the assets and schedule service as it is needed before a failure.
Once in this position, all of the costs associated with managing the assets are on you as the service provider, but so are 100% of the benefits of performance improvements and improvements in products or technologies.
At the end of the day, if you want to transition from an equipment service provider to a fully integrated solutions provider, you must be able to:
- Listen to your assets (via connected devices and remote condition monitoring)
- Understand the performance of those assets in their environment
- Model asset performance as it degrades
- Identify at what point a maintenance intervention is required
- Schedule that maintenance task at the most opportune time with regard to service density, technician utilization, and required parts
Once this capability is acquired, you will have the confidence to change your relationship with your customers so that you can move from a vendor and repair services provider to a strategic partner that enables their core business and is willing to guarantee and deliver service availability.