Trimble on the state of field service in the connected world

Trimble attended Copperbergs Field Service UK Summit on April 11 this year, and is also attending the upcoming Copperberg Field Service Forum in Amsterdam, on May 31 and June 1.
We asked Trimbles Marketing Strategy Director, BRANT CARTER, about Trimbles take on Field Service, in todays connected world:

There is no “one game changer”, in field service right now. It is rather a case of a few different things that we see, all converging at once, according to Trimbles US-based Marketing Strategy Director Brant Carter.

– The field service landscape is, currently, a very interesting and evolving industry. However it is affected by volatility and is in a state of, technology driven, disruption. Indeed, as new and advanced technologies come to the fore, businesses need to constantly adapt, or risk getting left behind.
– The cause for disruption is in the field service management supply chain, which is becoming ever more connected, from the back office to technicians out in the field. Service organizations that are able to adapt to this trend and develop unique, compelling and differentiated solutions, that connect and integrate with each other, will be well placed to gain not only improved operational efficiency but also increased customer satisfaction.
– Automating field service in the world of connected things is key to operating a successful field operation. However it is not the only game changer in field service right now. It is rather a case of a few different things that we see all converging at once:

1. Connected people, places & things
The opportunity to closely link customers into the service delivery workflow has increased dramatically, thanks to the Internet of Things, and this trend will grow over time. Service organisations that invest time and technology in aligning themselves with their customers can see improved growth in their revenue – as much as 6 per cent as reported in our last survey. Moving away from legacy systems to more modern solutions that connect and integrate your work order management software, schedule and dispatch software and mobile field service apps, can help to achieve this. The application of such technology can, ultimately, streamline the flow of information through an organization to connect people, places and things.

2. IoT-connected applications
By 2020, Gartner, Inc. predicts 26 billion devices other than smartphones, tablets and computers to be connected via the Internet of Things (IoT). Early IoT solutions included telematics, which allowed businesses to understand where there machines were in order to measure and drive productivty. Now, there are much bigger opportunities for highly specialised IoT solutions in vertical markets, thanks to the development of the cloud and mobile solutions.
For example, VisionLink, Trimble’s fleet, asset and productivity management software for civil construction now supports the new Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP) 2.0/ ISO-15143-3 telematics standard.
By adopting the new standard, VisionLink’s asset utilisation, operation, safety, health and maintenance capabilities can more fully support mixed fleets of machines from different equipment manufacturers.
The opportunities IoT and connected field service offers, to significantly improve field service operations, is vast.
In the construction industry, a piece of machinery can send a maintenance notification to a work order system, which is then able to schedule the repair and dispatch it to the most suitable technician automatically. This ensures an intelligent and proactive approach. Research from The Service Council™ shows that organizations that have made investments in remote monitoring solutions and technology have seen significant improvements in asset uptime and first-time-fix.

3. Automated work scheduling
With so many advanced scheduling solutions on the market, it can be daunting knowing what type of technology and level of sophistication would be the best fit for your business, as well as how to tackle challenges around change management.
Whilst the benefits realized by fully automatic scheduling and optimization tools are undeniable, the change from paper to automatic scheduling is a jump too far for many.
A Semi-Automatic scheduling service or “Intelligent Advisor” is often preferred. Although this scheduling system is automatic, it still requires some level of human interaction, which is something few vendors provide yet many businesses prefer as it allows them to maintain some level of control and trust.
Having decision making tools built into a scheduler can also help to alleviate a lot of headaches experienced by a field service manager. For large field operations, emergency jobs often come in that need to be added to the day’s schedule so having a tool that advises on the impact of what adding this job in will have before it is assigned can help to prevent the de-railing of a field service operation. Such a feature allows dispatchers to make quick, informed decisions to keep the best possible quality of the schedule.

Footnote: Trimble will be showcasing Trimble PULSE™, its end to end field service suite at Copperbergs Field Service Forum from May 31 – June 1, in Amsterdam (NH Schipol Hotel).

For more information, visit Trimble will also be providing a focus session on best practice approaches, to taking a stepped approach to automatic scheduling.

You can download a quick guide on the topic here: