Guest Column | January 6, 2020

Service Strategy And The 50/50 Rule

By Bruce Breeden, Field Service Resources

Field Service Printing Technology

With the year 2020 upon us and many service business leaders finalizing strategic plans and operating budgets, take a step back and take a quick inventory of initiatives. The 50/50 rule applies to today’s field service business plans. The 50/50 rule asserts that 50 percent of the initiatives should be for technology and 50 percent of the initiatives should be targeted at human performance.

I recently caught up with fellow service leaders at the Field Service East conference in Amelia Island. The overwhelming centering strategy is to implement technology to change the service delivery process to optimize customer experiences and address the reality of an aging workforce and limited skilled labor pool. We further discussed the need for organizational change management and new performance metrics and data analysis. Many hallway discussions revolved around the value of soft skills, good decision making, and the resulting customer relationship.

As service leaders, we ask a lot of our organization to select and implement costly technology, update processes, and lead their teams of managers and field service engineers/technicians. Technology and human performance are the pillars to build success.

The 2020 imperatives to provide more value and improve customer experiences:


Human Performance

Automating processes and data/report routing

Strategy adoption and execution

Conducting repetitive tasks

Analytical reasoning and decision-making

Smart dispatching

Professional development

Equipment monitoring and self-diagnosis

Customer interactions and relationships

Knowledge sharing, real time troubleshooting and support, learning communities

Lead generation, cross/up-selling services

Parts ordering and restock

Safety culture

Data collection and advanced operational analytics

Process adherence, report writing

Asset tracking and lifecycle management

Goal achievement, teamwork

Customer portals and interactions - CX

Coaching and leadership skills (managers)

Industry terms for these are: IoT, AR, AI, Mobility, E-logs, Connectivity, Workflow, Seamless Integration, Data Capture and Analysis, Knowledge Management, Wearables, Soft-Skills, Leadership, Change Management

Recently I received a post-training comment from a senior service technician. The training was on how to be a trusted advisor in his role as a service technician. “I wish I received this training 30 years ago,” the service technician stated. As his company updated processes and technology to meet market demands and establish new strategy, his role was affected. The company realized the value of his technical expertise while automating many of his previous tasks. Correctly, the opportunity to provide more customer value was dependent on being the “trusted advisor” with his customer. However, the training also included the focus areas for performance to effectively operate in the new service operations environment. The service technician role also required skills in productivity management, job preparation, safety engagement, report writing, emotional intelligence, daily habits and goal achievement, teamwork, and commitment to professional development.

Service manager leadership and coaching skills are also critical. Without the line managers’ buy-in and active leadership, there can be no adoption of technology or inspiring direction.

As with many aspects of life and business, balance is critical. The 50/50 rule will provide the balance and direction to achieve your business strategy.


Bruce Breeden is the founder of Field Service Resources, LLC and author of the book, The Intentional Field Service Engineer. Bruce works with FSO leaders to improve operational performance, lead digital transformation programs, conduct FSE and manager training, and implement mobile technology platforms.