By Bill Pollock, chief research officer, The Service Council, www.theservicecouncil.com, email@example.com
Some challenges may present themselves, but remote service is the way of the future. Heidelberg overcame those challenges, and you can, too.
The results of our 2012 remote services benchmark survey, conducted by official research partner Strategies For Growth, depict a marketplace that has widely embraced the importance and use of remote service. For example, the survey confirms that more than two-thirds of respondents (70%) currently use remote service in support of their service operations, with another 13% planning to implement within a year.
Moreover, 33% of respondents cover a majority of their installed base of equipment via remote services, supporting an average of more than 10,000 units in the field. This
data suggests that once an organization implements a remote service solution, it is likely to roll it out to a high volume of its installed base.
But why go the remote service
route when the traditional
means of dispatching field technicians
to the customer site has
worked so well? Survey respondents
indicate that the top factors
driving their remote service
initiatives are consistent with all
other key components of service
delivery — namely, to meet
customer demand for quicker response/resolution time
and to improve service organization productivity and efficiency
(each cited by 52% of respondents).
Challenges To Adopting Remote Service
While there's no single challenge that stands out with
respect to adopting remote service, there are a number of
challenges clustered around key considerations including
cost, application, management, security, and scalability.
For example, between 28% and 32% of respondents cite
cost issues relating to system design, development, and
integration; the ability to translate their remote service
solution into increased service revenues; and managing
data collection across an increasing number of devices
and network connections. However, one thing that
respondents have made very clear is that any of these
challenges can be mitigated — but only if the benefits and
value propositions are targeted to address them head-on.
The Heidelberg Experience
One company that has successfully faced each of these
challenges is Heidelberg, a global provider of solutions
and services for the print media industry. The Heidelberg
experience provides a real-world example of how one
organization has been able to attain its goals through
its use of remote service. Headquartered in the city of
Heidelberg, Germany, with production sites in 7 countries
and 250 sales and service units in 170 countries,
Heidelberg supports about 200,000 customers worldwide
through its comprehensive solutions in the fields of
sheet-fed offset printing and digital printing. Heidelberg's
Services Division delivers the company's portfolio of technical
and professional services for "an absolutely stable
production and maximized machine availability," including
routine maintenance within the scope of service contracts,
service parts supply, and consumables.
To Heidelberg, "remote service is not a tool set or
contract option — remote service is our culture." For
the services business, remote service is positioned as a
"mandatory element in any contract to provide the highest
machine availability with the most efficient service processes."
Heidelberg now leverages remote service capabilities
in all of its offerings, including technical services,
stable production and availability, and consumables.
Other areas supported through its remote service solution
include business development, people development,
productivity optimization, and process optimization.
Heidelberg has successfully moved through all phases
of remote service, from the early phase of simply maintaining
the devices and/or machines themselves, to the
advanced stages of using connectivity to optimize device
operation, to providing the desired portfolio of valueadded
services. The ability to scale the system to grow
along with the business (and customers' demands) has
played a critical role in the company's success. Heidelberg
attributes much of its success in moving from a devicecentric,
to a process-centric, and finally to a user-centric
business model on its ability to integrate remote service
into its overall services mix.
The lesson learned from the Heidelberg experience is
that remote service is neither a solution looking for a
market nor a technology waiting to be recognized. It is
already here! Choosing the right solution that addresses
your organization's top challenges and provides the right
mix of benefits can also pave the way toward meeting —
and exceeding — customer demands; improving internal
performance, productivity and efficiency; and contributing
positively to profit margins and the bottom line.