From The Editor | September 26, 2017

Without A Plan Your Field Service Strategy Will Fail

By Sarah Nicastro, publisher/editor in chief, Field Technologies
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When it comes to field service, strategies and plans are both important — but it is imperative to recognize that they are not one and the same. All too often, I see companies get excited about an opportunity that exists and they focus so much on the business case and strategy that the plan gets ignored. Momentum builds around the strategy taking shape, only to lead to disappointment on the project because equal time, effort, and excitement weren’t put into developing a plan to bring that strategy to life. Planning isn’t as “sexy” as strategy; but it’s essential.

Enlist Planning Expertise To Bring Your Vision To Life
In developing the editorial for this issue, I spoke with multiple companies that are doing their due diligence to ensure their visions come to life. On page 6, you’ll read how Gosiger tackled this challenge in part by partnering with a consulting firm. Roger O’Connor, VP of product support at Gosiger, says on the topic, “Working with a consultant enabled us to leverage the knowledge of an organization that has experience outside our company and outside of our industry. They helped us to consider what questions to ask. It’s easy to make big plans and then write it all down and stick it in a drawer. Working with the consultant, you have a tendency to pull those plans out a little more often and honestly review how much progress you have made versus your original plan.”

Tackle Your Project In Manageable Chunks
When you’re developing a strategy, you look at the big picture — the end goal. When planning, tackling the project one step at a time makes that end goal seem more attainable, and helps you pick up momentum as you go along. On page 12, you’ll read about Konica Minolta Healthcare Americas’ vision for delivering the “next phase of service.” Kevin Chlopecki, VP of service operations for Konica Minolta, knew that, to attain its big-picture goal, the company would need to take it step by step. He says, “Our ‘future-state vision’ of delivering the next phase of service really started with a passion (almost an addiction) to be number one in customer satisfaction in our industry. While our vision always existed, my request for investment was in minor, manageable phases,” he says.

Planning For Change Is A Major Undertaking
As you’ll read on page 19, Markem-Imaje is in the midst of a major standardization effort with its field operations. Jack Rijnenberg, director of global customer service at Markem-Imaje, points out that one of the areas that requires the most planning is change management. “There are no shortcuts in change management. Make sure that you follow the right steps from getting top management engagement to determining how your company will measure performance and aligning proper rewards. Ensure that you take the time to communicate and engage the organization throughout the whole project, and accept that sometimes you need to invest more time in certain change management steps in order to enjoy an acceleration of performance and results afterwards,” he says.

These companies are recognizing the need to take the time for the proper planning that will ensure successful execution of their visions. Be sure as you develop your strategy leading in to 2018 that you don’t overlook the importance of planning how you’ll accomplish those objectives.