By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service
On this week’s podcast, we’ll share our first full session from the Future of Field Service Live Tour. This session is a conversation with Jean Claude Jobard, VP of EMEA, Marmon Link at Marmon Foodservice Technologies. Jean Claude has been involved in service for more than 25 years, having formerly held roles at Tetra Pak and Sidel.
Our session in Paris centered around Jean Claude’s views of what he thinks field service will look like in 2025 and what companies need to be doing today to be ready. You can tell as soon as you speak to Jean Claude how passionate he is about the topic of service, which is something I both admire and relate to. Toward the end of our conversation, I asked Jean Claude what lesson he learned in his former roles that he feels will help him in his relatively new role with Marmon.
I loved his answer. He said, “A few years back, a supply chain head at the company I worked for told us, ‘efficiency has no limit.’ I believe this applies to service as well. Service has no limit. When you see the different level of maturity from one company to another, even the ones that are on top today are nowhere near the end of what’s possible. We’re only at the beginning. There is so much we can do, and it's not only about making money. That’s part of it and certainly possible, but this is also about delivering value to our customers through service. If you listen to your customers properly, you really embed that into your development, there is no limit to the ways you can help them.”
What’s Holding Us Back?
I agree with Jean Claude. In my opening session at the Live Tour events, I spoke about the power of storytelling in service and one of the “stories” that I think is so compelling in service today is the wealth of potential that exists. Perhaps some companies are bound by their legacy in a way that prevents them from seeing that potential, but I believe many do see it and want to bring it to fruition.
But if that is the case, what is holding us back? Why are so many companies “stuck” in the status quo or struggling to create new services that meet different customer needs?
Well, Jean Claude pointed to a few of those reasons in our discussion.
Companies struggle with defining their modern service value proposition. “We have to understand we are not selling technology. We are not selling digital. I mean, maybe some are, but we should not,” says Jean Claude. “The way we work today is our digital team telling us, you know what, this is what we have developed. Now you go and sell it. But this is not service. So, what we want to sell – what we should be selling – are services supported by digital technology. This is where we really bring value to customers, not selling digital but by using it as a tool to better meet our customers’ needs.”
Companies lack strong leadership. “One of the biggest barriers is leadership. Leadership to set the vision. And I want to elaborate a bit on that one. Setting the vision. How can I imagine? I mean, you don't know what you don't know. If in your company you want to develop a service vision, you need to talk to other people that are far above what you do,” says Jean Claude. “Leadership has to see and set that vision and you need benchmarking. Then there are people at the management level who might not believe that in the suggested changes that can bring additional value to the service.” So whether your top-level leaders are lacking a vision for service, or they have a clear vision but middle management isn’t bought in, leadership that isn’t aligned on service strategy make it incredibly difficult for an organization to achieve its service potential.
Companies see the potential but lack the courage to change. “This requires courage, because what we will do tomorrow is not what we do today. And there will be resistances. It takes courage to implement the change because it is a working role and it's not continuous improvement. It's really a change. You also have to consider selling the change to your customers, by the way,” adds Jean Claude. This is a topic I wrote about recently, discussing the fact that many companies want the benefit of service transformation but aren’t willing to put in the hard work required to achieve that change. There are no short cuts here that can get you to the benefit without the investment – if anything, we find companies who attempt short cuts to be set further back than they were when they began.
Service remains siloed. “In many companies that have recognized that service can bring a lot of not only revenue, but margin, everybody's begun saying service first, service first, service first. But over the last two years in my previous company, on a quarterly basis we’d have the presentation of results. There was not one single presentation from service. This is where management needs to walk the talk,” says Jean Claude.
Despite these challenges, the future is bright for service and there is progress being made within many organizations to remove these barriers to its potential.
Stay tuned for the full session with Jean Claude on the podcast this week!