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

US Think Tank Session: 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.


Having held conversations around this topic with over 80 senior service leaders, including dedicated ThinkTanks on two continents and a series of simultaneous discussions at the Field Service Symposium, one universal challenge we are seeing is that the shortage of engineers is forcing field service organisations to think outside of the box when it comes to recruiting new technicians.


Technology, in one way, is showing a route out of this challenge. Remote service, which took root during the pandemic, allows for new thinking in maintaining assets in the field and resolving customer problems quickly and more efficiently.


However, such approaches and the technology that underpins them are only practical if reliable and clean data are fed into the systems. Establishing good data governance protocols is becoming increasingly urgent for field service organisations. At the same time, in many sectors, the lack of consistent IoT and asset data protocols is slowing progress – particularly felt by third-party service providers.


However, even as we embrace the technology that has emerged as a potential hope for our industry, it may not be enough. Increasing customer expectations for cheap, effective and fast service are at direct odds with increasing workforce expectations of well-paid jobs that offer a strong work/life balance. Ultimately, something has got to give.


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 organisation – as we navigate the question – do we need to redefine field service completely?


Topics included in this briefing report include: 


  • The challenges field service companies face in finding new service technicians are universal and not going away
  • Remote service, has not only taken root, but it is increasingly becoming the inevitable future of field service
  • For us to be able to turn to technology to drive field service operations, we must first establish asset data integrity
  • The need for better data protocols is becoming more and more pressing
  • Are the skill-sets we need for field service technicians changing?

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