From The Editor | July 28, 2017

How Field Automation Changes In Three Years

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Sarah Nicastro

By Sarah Nicastro, publisher/editor in chief, Field Technologies
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Field Automation Changes

In September of 2014, we featured Luminex on the cover of our magazine. Luminex develops and manufactures biological testing equipment for the clinical diagnostic and life science industries. The Austin, Texas-based company employs field service engineers primarily in North America, as well as in the Asia-Pacific region, and Europe. We spoke with Steve Nava, director of field service for the Americas at Luminex about the company’s transition to the Salesforce platform, ServiceMax for field service, and iOS devices company-wide. I had an opportunity to catch up with Nava at Field Service USA in April and asked him to fill us in on what has happened at Luminex in the past three years.

Field Technologies: In what ways has your business changed over the past three years?

Nava: Luminex has added the ARIES® Systems; these platforms are sample to answer solutions designed for ease of use, flexibility, and scalability, enabling targeted molecular testing for community hospitals and Integrated Delivery Networks (IDNs) alike. Luminex also acquired Nanosphere in June of 2016. Nanosphere’s platform, the VERIGENE® System, enables clinicians to rapidly identify and treat the bacteria and viruses responsible for some of the most complex, costly, and deadly infectious diseases. In addition to a new platform, the acquisition included both a service and support organization, which consists of technical support and field service and has been fully integrated into the Luminex operation. The Technical Support team consists of 34 team members across Luminex Toronto, Luminex Chicago, and Luminex Austin, and the Luminex field service team consists of 34 team members spread across North America.

Field Technologies: How has your use of the ServiceMax solution evolved since your initial deployment?

Nava: We launched ServiceMax globally in June of 2013, initially as a field service management tool primarily used only by our field service organization. Since that time, ServiceMax has been expanded to various departments outside of our service organization to increase visibility to our R&D, manufacturing, and the equivalent sustaining engineer departments. This enables cross-functional collaboration on when to identify and resolve product quality issues. The resulting transparency has enabled the entire organization to participate in successful customer outcomes more efficiently. 

Field Technologies: What has your experience with ServiceMax been since the company was acquired by GE Digital early this year? 

Nava: I had initial concerns upon hearing of the GE Digital acquisition. However, from my point of view as a customer, the acquisition has not affected the responsiveness on any business front. I have noticed increased momentum towards new functionality. Not sure if that is a result of the acquisition or not, but it does speak to the overall seamless transition to GE digital.

Field Technologies: Is your field force still using iOS devices? Have you upgraded since 2014?

Nava:  We are still utilizing iOS devices as our primary mobile solution. However, we are in the midst of evaluating the Mobile for Windows solution on the Surface Pro platform. We continue to find the iOS solution to be very robust and user-friendly.

Field Technologies: You mentioned when we spoke that Luminex has completed some acquisitions since the article. What has the process been for extending the field automation solution to those new employees?

Nava: In addition to blending the legacy company’s field service engineers (FSEs) into our ServiceMax tool, we’ve completed a companywide initiative to port the install base, bill of materials, and customer information into our instance of SalesForce (SFDC) and ServiceMax. The upfront work was more challenging than training and implementation of ServiceMax to the legacy service organization. The incoming FSE’s found ServiceMax to be very intuitive and are impressed with the ease of use. The efficiencies gained have been noticeable.

Field Technologies: What other field service initiatives have you had since we spoke or are currently underway?

Nava: The overarching Luminex Customer Experience organization is continuing our journey towards enhancing our customer health and retention program. Using metrics and dashboard functionality from both SFDC and ServiceMax, we are creating opportunities to generate companywide awareness of the health of our individual customers. The goals are to create customer loyalty, successful customer outcomes, and ultimately, revenue.

Field Technologies: What advice do you have for companies on how to continually improve field automation once it has been deployed?

Nava: Continue to evaluate new functionality of the selected field service automation tool, but be selective about what you incorporate. Every enhancement may not fill the need of every company. Vetting and selection of enhancements that complement and contribute to the overall quality of service product is a better use of resources than trying to implement every change that is offered.