Alcon, a Switzerland-based medical device company, has been developing and manufacturing innovative eye care medicines and devices since 1945. Alcon’s Surgical and Vision Care products touch the lives of more than 260 million people in over 140 countries each year living with conditions like cataracts, glaucoma, retinal disease, and refractive errors.
After many years of viewing the service business as a necessary but costly operation, Alcon realized that with new technology, they could digitally transform their field service operations and turn service into a true profit center.
To do this, Alcon knew they needed to centralize and standardize processes; develop operational rigor; improve service margins by not giving service away for free; implement remote diagnostics; align sales, marketing, and product development; and position service as a lever to drive sales.
This was no small task, but with ServiceMax’s asset-centric field service management platform, the team at Alcon felt confident in their ability to reach their goals.
“We were looking for a platform that was built on Salesforce.com and could provide the flexibility needed to support Alcon’s dynamic business and provide a 360-degree view for all business functions. ServiceMax checked all the boxes and was the right long-term partner to help us reach our goals,” said Keith Olodort, Global Systems Deployment Lead at Alcon.
Thoughtful Implementation Key for Early Success
Alcon took a phased approach that allowed them to standardize processes across 600 field service engineers and 100 technical support agents in over 100 countries.
“Our initial implementation in 2014 focused on the US, UK, and Canada. We then rolled out to the greater EMEA, Asia, and Latin American markets, completing a global roll out to all regions in 2021,” said Olodort.
As part of Alcon’s implementation strategy, they identified three specific goals they could track against:
- Excellent adoption of ServiceMax across teams
- Improvements to business operations and costs
- Improvements to the field team’s experience
To understand adoption, the team kept an eye on how many people were using the ServiceMax platform and leveraged product champions in the field. To understand the financial impacts, Alcon used their newfound visibility into error rates, and as the field onboarded the platform, error rates that had previously negatively impacted revenue started going down. To gain the field’s perspective, the team made sure to bring the technicians into their change management efforts.
“We made sure to share information early and often and gather valuable field feedback. We shared our implementation plan including which features, in which order, and worked to turn the field into advocates so they could sell the solution to their peers. This was an important part of the change management process,” noted Olodort.
Automation Creates Hours of Cost Savings
Prior to ServiceMax, technicians were bogged down with time-consuming administrative tasks. By digitally transforming operations and automating many processes, Alcon was able to save over 1,500 hours per year by improving tracking processes and over 11,000 hours per year by streamlining the process to close work orders.
Conducting service test procedures was also a big sticking point for technicians. To solve this problem, Alcon integrated Advanced Forms by ProntoForms into their ServiceMax solution.
This meant saying goodbye to smart PDFs that required multiple steps to deploy and made it easy to attach the wrong version of the PDF, in favor of Advanced Forms that allowed the team to consistently deploy the correct version for technicians to use. The resulting reduction in errors and admin work meant the team was able to save approximately 50 hours per month within the first six months of deployment.
“The biggest savings for our field engineers, in addition to not having to enter the data again because it’s all pulled from ServiceMax, is that all of the test tools required for the service test procedure are now automated. These test tools are automatically pulled up when the field engineer starts to fill out the test procedure. This alone is powering 15-minute per-case savings for the engineer,” noted Olodort.
Advanced Forms have also removed timely manual processes around digital signatures and connecting forms to a case. “The integration that we have with ProntoForms and ServiceMax makes it really easy to go through audits with our internal and external auditors because all the data is right there in ServiceMax. ServiceMax and ProntoForms are incredible at dealing with very complex, sophisticated, highly-regulated work and both solutions have been crucial to our success,” said Olodort.
Transformed Operations Propel the Business Forward
Today, Alcon has over 2,000 employees using ServiceMax to deliver superior service. They complete an average of 7,500 work orders every month. The Alcon team now automates the entire work order process for field engineers so that they can go and execute effortlessly. This transformation has resulted in huge time savings equating to 900 hours per year through improvements to Alcon ServiceMax, over 1,500 hours per year through improved tracking processes, and 1 minute per case through reducing the number of required Surgery Codes fields.
With the cost center mindset gone, Alcon is now looking at even more advanced ways to drive service revenue, including AI, IoT, and predictive service.