Think Tank Sessions: Do we need to redefine field service completely?

In this ThinkTank session, the topic is part of an ongoing theme that Field Service News have been exploring across the second half of 2022 – do we need to redefine field service completely?


So much has changed since the pandemic and the lockdowns that came with it. For a start, we saw an explosion in digital transformation. While it is true that many digital transformation projects were well underway before 2020, the disruption of the pandemic brought an urgency with it that meant those projects that had already begun were put on turbo-boosters while those who had yet to initiate their digital transformation scrambled to catch up as swiftly as possible.


Of course, one of the most prevalent shifts was the embrace of remote service delivery. In times of lockdown, remote service became an essential mechanism for delivering zero-touch service that met the new and stringent bio-security arrangements that allowed businesses to continue operating in uncertain times.


Another critical facet of the pandemic was the massive disruption to global supply chains. The cost efficiency of globalisation was soon replaced as the frailty of centralised supply chains was laid bare in the light of borders crashing down, and so many organisations have had to rethink their service supply chain altogether.


Servitization is another aspect of the field service world that had been gaining considerable momentum before the pandemic. While at first glance, we might have anticipated the pandemic slowing the pace of advanced service strategy design, a recent study by FSN Research showed that that momentum has also continued at pace.


With so much change happening in such a short time, what does this mean for the future of field service? With remote service being expected, what skills should we be looking for in our future service engineers, and can we still find them in a rapidly diminishing pool of talent? With our customers facing the impact of the long-tail economic fallout, where will their expectations lie, and where will they see value in the services we offer? How can we ensure the future service supply chain is robust enough to overcome future disruption?


As always with our Tank Sessions, the conversation was varied, challenging and insightful. Here we present some key takeaways – which I’m sure you will find good reflection points for your own organisation.


Topics included in this briefing report include: 


  • Fresh thinking is needed to overcome a workforce crisis
  • We need to build better pathways for development
  • Will the field service engineers of the future need a different skill-set?
  • Does digitalisation lead to a greater importance of on-site field service?
  • Is the value a field service engineer brings to an organisation likely to change?
  • The strategic goals of service companies and new customers expectations
  • How do we plan for a future, whose direction is still undecided?
  • Is the cannibalisation of spare parts a threat to service revenue?

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