Products will require repair, but it is unacceptable for service to fail to ensure to get the customer back up and running. In a recent Aberdeen Field Service survey of more than 200 service organizations, 52 percent of all field service visits required a service part. Parts can no longer be an afterthought for service organizations as more often than not they are needed to resolve customer issues. In Aberdeen's Convergence of People and Parts report, the overwhelming reason organizations were looking to improve the integration between parts management and field service was the customer demand for faster, more efficient service (76 percent of respondents). In order to meet increased customer expectations, service organizations need to focus on a few key areas to not only keep customers but improve profitability and operational efficiency:
- Get visibility. Technology can often be a burden to everyday life and business. But if used to gain insight and not just data, technology can provide a well needed step up for the service organization. Across the board, top-performing organizations utilize tools and technologies for dispatch, parts tracking and warehouse management to provide visibility and actionable data to integrate service parts information into field service decisions.
- Use visibility for dispatch. Information without action is a waste. The top 20 percent of performers understand this need to leverage data for action; these organizations are 62 percent more likely than others to use parts data to aid in forecasting and the dispatch of field service teams (60 percent vs. 37 percent, respectively). Ensuring the right technician is sent out to a customer site based on the part needed and the part that is actually in the tech's truck is a key to resolving an issue on the first visit.
- Measure change. Top-performing organizations are 55 percent more likely than others to measure key metrics tied to service performance like parts fill rates, customer service levels, and overall profitability (45 percent vs. 29 percent, respectively). Not only is measuring the right metrics important in order to effectively link parts management with the field, but top-performing organizations also incent their field service teams to return and reconcile parts in a more timely manner. Once again, customers are no longer willing to wait for service. Thus, increasing the speed of parts return, in order to get these parts back in the flow of operations, is imperative to the success of the service operations.
As service continues to be at the forefront of innovation and differentiation, customers and employees will remain integral aspects of success. The service organization must continue to listen and learn from customers (i.e., their needs) and use this insight to improve the service experience and the products that are made. Also, service employees are often the face of the organization and thus need to be incented, trained and recognized as the force behind the execution of service.
Source: Aberdeen Group
Keywords: supply chain management IT, logistics management, inventory control, inventory management, logistics IT solutions, logistics services
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