An effort to innovate conventional ways of managing service work has set Mycronic, a global organization headquartered in Sweden, on a new course. In recent years, the company has made a series of calculated moves to shift to the era of digital field service management. Getting to this turning point has been nothing less than game-changing.
Mycronic is among companies that have initially used a legacy system to carry out case management responsibilities. For a while, some of the organization’s field service engineers have also written service reports on paper and then sent them by post. But that all started to change in 2020 when Mycronic first rolled out a field service management system—a tool presently used in 10 different subsidiaries.
Breaking new ground is nothing new for Mycronic. This global supplier of high precision production equipment has more than 40 years of experience in innovation, playing a pivotal role in the electronics industry. Yet, with the leap from stone-age tools to digital field service technology, Mycronic prides itself on entering a new era.
Taking part in a keynote session at the 10th Annual Spare Parts Business event hosted by Copperberg, Franck Grégoire, Head of Global Aftermarket at Mycronic, shared insights about this game-changing venture into digital. The talk focused on Mycronic’s story of digitalization success, but it also addressed the barriers that stood in the company’s way and the learnings taken from the experience. This article will touch upon all of these matters.
The Story of a Successful Technology Rollout and the Biggest Challenges That Came into Focus
Mycronic’s switch to digital field service management has been a few years in the making. Efforts to evaluate different suppliers and their offers were taken in 2018. The organization soon made a decision on which supplier to work with and, by 2019, was taking steps to design and adapt the tool to suit the needs of Mycronic. The following year, Mycronic’s technology rollout took off. From that moment forward, the Swedish company has made good progress in the bid to incorporate technology into field service management, achieving its targets set for increases in:
- Service efficiency
- Customer satisfaction
- Service revenues
These days, the system is used “in 10 different subsidiaries and by around 230 persons,” said Franck Grégoire. But inevitably, the rollout of field service management technology has run into some difficulties, too.
The transition to digital was easier for some than it was for others. That being so, the rate of technology adoption posed a first major test as members of Mycronic’s service team moved into the digital era. While several workers positively reacted to the appeal of using field service technology, a few of them had a keener interest in old working habits. Often, a recurrent question raised by change-resistant users as the rollout unfolded was: What’s in it for me? The way a company responds to this regular inquiry could prompt reluctant workers to break out of old working patterns.
In any case, motivating workers to use new technology can be a tall order to fill. But improving system usability was something the company’s experts took very seriously, knowing they “couldn’t bring improvements to the tool if nobody used it.” Very important was also to ensure that team members used the system properly. Though workers were trained extensively in the use of technology, some of them ended up finding their own ways of working with it. “They find workarounds,” observed Franck Grégoire, “but often, not the most efficient ones.”
The company was no stranger to data challenges either—having struggled to maintain high levels of data quality throughout the rollout as users forgot to update data fields or left them blank. So, of necessity, Franck Grégoire reiterated an important point:
“A database is never better than the quality of its data.” — Franck Grégoire, Head of Global Aftermarket at Mycronic
Speaking at the Spare Parts Business event, Mycronic’s Head of Global Aftermarket further explained the importance of finding the balance between a high amount of data and the quality level of data.
A Variety of Learnings From the Move to a New Era of Field Service
Many important learnings have come out of Mycronic’s experience with integrating technology into field service workflows. The first is that the project team plays a crucial role in setting the grounds for success. So, as Franck Grégoire advised, organizations must be fully focused on building up a team that consists of:
- A project manager capable of leading the design and the development of the digital tool as well as its rollout
- A variety of team members with complementary competencies
He added that organizations should factor in the possibility of a slow technology adoption rate. So everyone must be careful to set the right targets and, more importantly, not to oversell the tool.
A second lesson that Mycronic’s switch to digital field service management has taught is the necessity of following a method. Through the ADKAR model—which segmented change into five steps: awareness, decision, knowledge, ability, and reinforcement—the company was able to plan for and implement change effectively. Now that Mycronic wants to perfect the pivot from traditional to digital field service management, attention will shift to working continuously with improvements:
“From the beginning, we thought about making continuous improvements but on a small scale—looking primarily into incremental improvements […] and users don’t always see the benefit of those small improvements. […] What we need is to have much larger improvements running parallel with the incremental ones, and that’s what we are doing now through different workshops.” — Franck Grégoire, Head of Global Aftermarket at Mycronic
As it works on further developments, a new objective of Mycronic is to design and implement a 2.0 version of the field service management tool—intending to roll it out to its service partners, as well.
Franck Grégoire’s keynote session is now available for on-demand viewing on Copperberg’s Spare Parts Virtual Business Platform. Sign up here to gain access to the session’s recording and learn more about the journey that led Mycronic to digitalization.