IoT brings predictive capabilities to field services industry
ServiceMax leverages PTC ThingWorx platform to digitally transform field services
At a high-level, field services refer to any action an enterprise takes that put staff out of the office and in front of customers or assets; examples include municipal waste pick and hauling, house calls made by phone or cable company techs, and dispatch of property maintenance workers like landscapers or cleaners. With people and equipment on the move, coupled with the need to be as responsive to customers’ needs in the most cost-effective manner possible, field services management is a critical business function that can benefit from the predictive intelligence provided by internet of things (IoT) systems.
ServiceMax, which is a subsidiary of industrial IoT powerhouse GE Digital, is a major provider of field services management solutions. The company partnered with IoT platform provider PTC to leverage the latter’s ThingWorx software offering to bring new levels of connectivity and automation to field services.
According to ServiceMax, industrial IoT solutions have improved customer satisfaction by 11% and increased technician productivity by 18%. These gains are the result of minimizing outages and downtime, and removing the need for a centralized office to maintain call logs.
Topcon, which designs, engineers, manufactures and supports medical equipment, went through a successful deployment of ServiceMax’s industrial IoT solution. Senior Director of Information Systems Gary Yantos said in a video case study that the company needed to solve for a rigid legacy client server application, which required administrators to compile information from numerous systems. As a result, the company had trouble, in some cases, verifying whether equipment was covered by a warranty; they also lost several pieces of loaner equipment.
“Essentially, we had revenue leaking out of our organization,” he said. “We needed innovation and scalability.” With ServiceMax, “We started to accumulate what we considered to be a goldmine of information. In terms of efficiency, we’re no longer having to rely on paper-based systems. All of this is automated now. By generating output documentation…we can immediately get an estimate over to the customer site, have them approve it and immediately get started on their repair without any delays.”