CNH Industrial’s Asset-Centric Service Strategy | Future of Field Service
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CNH Industrial’s Asset-Centric Service Strategy

Sarah talks with Danielle Waterworth, VP- NA Dealer & Customer Solutions and Global Maintenance & Service Development at CNH Industrial about how the company is segmenting and evolving its service offerings, what advice she has on leasing assets, how to add value to a dealer network, and more. 

Sarah Nicastro: Welcome to the Future of Field Service podcast. I’m your host, Sarah Nicastro. Today we are going to be digging into some of the specific considerations and items that go into strategy when we are thinking about asset intensive or asset centric service. I’m excited to be joined today by Danielle Waterworth, who is the Vice President for North America Dealer and Customer Solutions, as well as for global maintenance and service development at CNH Industrial. Good grief. That was a mouthful. Danielle, welcome to the Future of Field Service podcast.

Danielle Waterworth: Thank you. Thank you. And it is a mouthful. I have to always remind myself of what it is every time that I’m talking to someone.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. Yeah. Well, that was a lot to get out, but I think that might have been the hardest part for me of the whole podcast. So, all right. So Danielle, before we talk a little bit about some of the aspects that are top of mind for you in an asset centric service organization, just tell everyone a little bit about yourself, your role and what CNHI does.

Danielle Waterworth: Myself, I grew up in central Illinois on a corn and beans and livestock farm. And so I was the prototypical farm kid who was looking for her place in the industry. And with that went to the University of Illinois, majoring in Ag Finance, and eventually found myself at CNH Industrial. So CNH Industrial, I’ve been here for 19 years, almost 20. What we do is we are an ag and construction equipment manufacturer, but it goes beyond that. It’s more than just being that original equipment manufacturer. It’s a full suite of everything that you would need from a captive finance company to aftermarket parts and services. We operate through our dealer network globally, but we are there as a partnering role to support those agriculture and construction customers out in the industry.

Sarah Nicastro: Excellent. Okay. And so you mentioned being a farm kid, and I know when we spoke in preparation for this discussion, you mentioned that, that influences a lot of the passion and conviction you bring to what you did or what you do. So a lot of people from your family went into the industry from the context of actually farming, and you are still involved, but in a different way. So how do you think that influences or factors into what you do within your role day to day?

Danielle Waterworth: Well, growing up in it, I saw the struggles, I saw the passion, I saw the pride. The ag industry is a very proud industry with a lot of good people in it. Very, very early on, I was very engaged with everything within our family’s business, but I slowly started figuring out that I was more interested in the global concepts of agriculture, the business side, and really took that to another level when I went for my degree and found there were so many more opportunities to give back into agriculture that wasn’t necessarily in a production ag environment. That shapes me on a daily basis. And I say that for sure because on a daily basis I’m engaging with my family as they’re experiencing agriculture from everything for what’s going on with the markets and the commodities, the industry to the equipment that they run. So I get that whole protection of making sure that our customers are first always as a first and foremost, do what’s right for that customer. And I take that farm kid mentality with me in my day to day job.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. Well, it’s interesting when… And I’m sure this can be reflected in other industries as well, but just thinking about the scenario you’re in, your customer is your family members. And so a lot of people talk about customer centricity, but that drives that concept home in a totally different way. So, that’s really interesting. Now, part of the reason that your title was such a tongue tire in the beginning is because you do have a dual role. So can you just briefly describe for folks what the two sides of your responsibilities are within the organization?

Danielle Waterworth: Absolutely. So within North America, the role that I hold is from an agriculture perspective for everything I would say back office dealer and customer support. So from a day to day traditional model, we’re talking warranty, technical support, service training, maintenance. Those are the places where we cover from a service, and then you combine it in on the parts side with dealer, parts support, you get that holistic picture of just taking care of the normal day to day run. Where it gets fun is combining that very traditional model of operating and that annual basis, what are you going to combine with the global role, which is more a strategy play that goes into services and maintenance development of where are we going to go with our tools in the future of the aftermarket for parts and services?

And so with that connected and non-connected digital tools, we’re talking about the utilization of remote assist, we’re talking about the selling of non-connected services and the tools that enable that from extended warranties, maintenance inspections of our machines, all the way into the connected services team, which looks at how do we enable the activities that need to occur within our tools? Now that we do have these digitally connected machines, how do we utilize that information within our asset libraries on our machines, within incident management for our dealers and customers, and in the control rooms in which we’re starting to really heavily invest for a better look at what’s going on with our machines?

Sarah Nicastro: So it’s really interesting because you have a foot in both the present and the future, and to some degree a lot of people do in the sense of they’re responsible for maintaining today’s business while also thinking about what’s changing and evolving and how an organization should innovate. But I think with some of the conversations we are having around how service is changing, there can be a tremendous distance between that present foot and the future foot. So for CNH Industrial on both sides of your role, you’re intimately involved in the way the traditional business is executed today, and you’re also looking at how things are evolving and how service may be consumed or delivered or what customers ultimately need from the company in the future. So can you tell us a little bit about what you’re observing and the trajectory that the company is on in that continuum of everything from traditional to what the future might look like?

Danielle Waterworth: Yeah, I think we come from a model that was very iron based. Go sell the machine, go sell another machine. And I think that our industry is evolving to understand that the true way you’re going to continue to keep selling those machines and retain those customers is really on the service that you provide. It’s a big piece of what we call uptime, but we need to take a look at it of not just from the quality of the machine that you’re purchasing, but you’re really trying to provide them with packages or options as a customer base that can give them an assurance, especially we will lean on my ag presence again, but in the ag industry, you’re dealing with weather, you’re dealing with situations that things are going to come up from a time perspective.

And it’s really important that when they’re in the field harvesting that they have that assurance that their machine is going to perform, or that they’re people behind them that are going to enable that to occur. So we look at not just selling them an asset anymore, but the whole captive finance model, base warranty, extended warranty. How can we make sure that we’re looking at you and your dealerships from a maintenance and inspection perspective before you go into a planting and harvesting season, which are their heavy times of use? So it’s looking at that in that holistic picture, and that really starts defining how you go to market versus your competitors.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. And there’s a lot of interesting elements here because on one hand you’re talking about giving customers options and flexibility, and on the other hand, often customers want simplicity. We just need it to work when we need to use it sort of thing. So do you have a feel for where customers are at in terms of do they want more options and choice, or do they want more cohesiveness and simplicity in the overall offering?

Danielle Waterworth: I’m going to quote one of my favorite dealers who says, “We need to keep it simple, but we need to provide options.” And so you start putting those two things together, it’s like, okay, what does that mean? But I think what it is, it’s that whole aspect of if they were going to design the perfect situation, what does it look like? Are they more comfortable providing their own set of service on their machines? If so, maybe they’re just looking at, Hey, what can we do from a parts perspective? Then there’s those other guys that are managing those larger fleets and they’re like, I want somebody to provide that assurance that, you as a dealership can make sure that you’re looking at my machines for me on a biannual basis. You want to lock it in.

And so we have to look at that perspective of it’s up to the customer and what they’re comfortable with and what they’re looking for, but we have to enable those options when we’re selling that machine. We have to provide them as an opportunity and explain to them what it is that they’re buying. Where are you going to get the most value out of the different solutions that we provide?

Sarah Nicastro: And so you’re saying explain more of that upfront.

Danielle Waterworth: Correct. I do think-.

Sarah Nicastro: And I think-.

Danielle Waterworth: … front sell, yes.

Sarah Nicastro: I think that’s part the, I don’t want to say identity shift because that’s not always the case, but you mentioned you’re at a point where you’re differentiating through service. So if we understand that as an organization, then we start to see the importance of having more of those conversations up front as part of the initial sale instead of as an afterthought of, okay guys, we sold them the equipment. Now somebody come in and tell them what we can do from an aftermarket perspective, or what happens if something breaks or if they want this assurance or that assurance and presenting it more as the overall value proposition instead of two separate value propositions

Danielle Waterworth: For sure.

Sarah Nicastro: Does that make sense?

Danielle Waterworth: We see it in the industries in which we buy stuff today, just in our consumer, you buy packages and then they’re constantly reminding you of what it is that you actually purchased to get the most value out of the money that you’re spending. And those are touch points as well. So it’s very important from that, that the dealers keep that relationship with the customer. We work and we go to market through our dealer network. They keep that relationship that is the health of our industry and for us at CNH Industrial.

So we want them to have those touchpoints, those opportunities to engage with the customer. And that can come from those reminders of maintenance all the way to we’re seeing something that’s going on with your machine. We want to see if we can schedule some time to take a look at it just based on what we’re seeing with the connected unit. So I think there’s also a place with the used market too. As you’re buying a machine, a trade in that you’re taking from somebody else, there’s a place in there from an assurance perspective of I want to make sure that this machine is being taken care of on a go forward basis. And giving them options is a good thing.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. So options is a good thing, but do you foresee a point where you would just be selling and delivering uptime?

Danielle Waterworth: I think there are some things that are going to be what I have started calling innate. They’re just assumed to be a part of the machine sell. I don’t know if the market has necessarily defined where all of those things lie today. So we’re going through some of that as an evolution of what is included with the machine versus what is an upsell. I would say in the next three, four years, you’re going to see a lot of change in our industry in that regard.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah, it’s interesting. I was just having a conversation yesterday to prepare for a panel discussion I’m moderating at a field service event in Europe at the end of the month, and it’s around remote service capabilities. So like you mentioned, remote assist and tools that can be leveraged to reduce onsite service necessity to allow more customer self-service to even when onsite service is required, prepare a bit ahead of time so that the first time fixed rate is higher, et cetera. And one of the biggest discussions we had as a group is how does that fit with business model? Because in a traditional service business model, then a lot of organizations are being asked the question, Okay, well if you’re saving money because you’re not coming here as much, then my service should be cheaper versus when they’re delivering the outcome or the uptime or whatever that looks like for the industry, that’s the value the customer is paying for. So the how isn’t as important as the what? Do you know what I mean?

And so it’s an interesting conversation to think about in terms of how the technological capabilities that are helping organizations like yours and others evolve how service is delivered. How do we invest in those in a way where the organization isn’t ultimately penalized because the customer just sees it as a cost savings, not an additional capability that’s tied to the value proposition. Does that make sense?

Danielle Waterworth: Yeah. I’m just trying to relate it in our industry. And I think that the thing that is a little different within agricultural network is there’s a very strong tie between that customer base and that dealer. They start to see something, their immediate call is that engagement with the dealer. I think that there are places where from a protection perspective, we want to be able to provide some information to a customer in regards to their utilization. If it’s going to lead to a potential breakage, forewarning is a good thing. I think that there are places where we need to enable quicker service, and we can do that by providing better linkages between the customer to the dealer in what they’re experiencing. And that is a different type of service call. So you’re going to see some changes probably in our industry that may occur because of that.

But the biggest thing of whether it’s the customer, the dealer, the dealer to us in providing some kind of an assurance of what’s going on with their machine is we need to be there to provide the quickest response we can to a customer because it is so important that when they’re using that machine, they’re using it for some revenue producing purpose.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah.

Danielle Waterworth: So that ultimately has to drive a lot of the decisions that we make and find a way to weave in that whole customer dealer OEM model.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. Yeah. I had a gentleman on the podcast a few weeks ago, I’m going to send you the link after, because I think you would find it really interesting. So they have introduced a product in the rice milling industry, and they are going to market with that exclusively as a service. So there’s some uniqueness in what the machine itself does and how it’s different from the existing technology in their space, but then also the go to market strategy is entirely different than the other organizations. And part of what he and I spoke about is how being the new entrant makes that a lot easier versus having any legacy as a company that you’re always-.

Danielle Waterworth: Trying to figure out how it fits.

Sarah Nicastro: … Having to balance what has been and what was versus what do we need going forward, and how do we get everyone’s mindset on the same page? How do we change, even if it’s revenue recognition or whatever that looks like, there’s an existing system and process and infrastructure that has to change. And he’s saying, I’m not saying it’s easy, but I’m saying it’s a lot easier than if we had to evolve here. We’re just coming in and having the conversation. So it was an interesting perspective.

Okay. So I want to shift gears a bit, Danielle, because one of the things that, and I believe you tell me if this is part of your former role, I don’t know if it’s part of your current role, but we talked about the leasing and financing of the equipment. And I thought that was interesting because when we do talk with organizations that are considering or trying to go down a path of moving to that as a service, delivering uptime versus equipment scenario, that’s one of the discussions that becomes interesting is moving from that CapEx to that OpEx model. And so in your experiences on the leasing side of the business, I’m just interested if you learned anything that could be good food for thought for folks who are thinking more about how to lease equipment to be able to roll that into a NASA service offering versus selling it outright?

Danielle Waterworth: Yeah, no, absolutely. I think one of the things that CNH Industrial does really well is cross-pollination. I mentioned, I’m an Ag finance major. I spent 15 and a half years with the captive finance company. And one of the last roles that I did have was in asset remarketing and leasing. And most definitely moving from there to the parts area to now to service. You take pieces of your prior roles and you’re like, well, how does that fit in? And one of the biggest benefits that I could see from a leasing model is if you do start to lock in that whole maintenance plan, that extended warranty is yes, one good thing that we’ve always had. But if you start locking in maintenance and inspections, all of a sudden that asset, which is your company asset, that’s going to come back to you at some point in time. Now you have a better understanding of what’s going on with that asset, how it’s performing. What’s going to be the market value when it comes back, and I need to remarket it back through my dealer network?

It’s just a way of making sure that you’re retaining that value against that residual. And I think there’s rewards to that too. If you are well maintaining a lease, reward culture needs to come into that. And it just provides that overall assurance, not just to the customer of what they’re getting as far as when they’re returning that lease, but then also to the captive finance company is what that machine looks like and what’s going to be the potential value when they try to remarket it. Most definitely all of those things start aligning as far as how do they all work together.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. Yeah. it’s a really interesting piece of that overall conversation. Now you’re also responsible for product support, and one of the things that you have put a big focus on is really maximizing the effectiveness and efficiency of managing incidents. So can you talk a little bit about that initiative?

Danielle Waterworth: Well, we’re working on it. I will say we’re working on it. From a North America perspective, it was one of the biggest challenges that we had coming in this year of really improving on the pain points that people were experiencing and the product support process. And that being from when the incident comes in from the customer to the dealer, dealer puts in an incident to us, and then eventually we’re going to get them that solution back of how they’re going to fix that machine. When we go through that process this year, we went and we utilized our business systems mentality. We started looking at it from a lean perspective and did a whole value stream mapping of what’s going on in that experience and found clusters and clusters of pain points, pain points that could be addressed, but they just needed to put some effort and focus to them.

Whether it’s simple things more that are more in the area of knowledge and quality, how we onboard new employees to support in that product support nature, continuous education, how we educate with our dealer network of how to build a better dealer incident coming in so that I can give you a quicker response out. So whether it was knowledge or priority or prediction, just search-ability of our tools, we’re starting to attack the different clusters of pain points that we’re having. And we’re doing that through a kaizen mentality where we’re just continuing to invest back into our culture of being accountable and changing things for the better, but then also for our dealer network and providing them a better experience.

And I think that this is going to be a long process, but it’s a fun process because you come out of a week with change, immediate change of how you’re going to do something differently or documentation of policy manuals of how you’re going to now behave. So it’s just been a fun experience for us to go through this year, and I look forward to bringing it into other teams that I have within that North America market.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. Now, it makes me think, Danielle, that’s one really specific example of taking an opportunity to improve that experience and ultimately relationship with your dealers, which then ultimately improves the customer experience, because you make it easier for the dealer, the dealer then is making that customer resolution simpler. Knowing that you go to market through the dealer network, and that at the end of the day, those customers who know your brand know that through your dealers and those relationships. Are there any other thoughts you have for listeners on how to make that relationship the best and most productive it can be when a company is going to market ultimately through that intermediary party?

Danielle Waterworth: I think we’re all going through that right now in that the biggest thing that we really quite frankly, have to be thinking of all of us is that next generation of technician. We provide that support of that service and training once they’ve hired that service technician in providing those standards that we, hey, you want to achieve level one, level two master from a perspective of fixing our machines, being that technical expert. But the first step, quite frankly, is finding those next generation of employees. But it’s little less than two years ago, we started an initiative called Top Tech. And while we’re not out actively finding these kids, we’re still working with our dealer network, CNH Industrial has taken a focused effort to say, we’re going to help support that initiative by championing the whole aspect of these are good paying jobs, these are jobs that you can take back into the regions in which you want to live in. If you want to stay in your hometown, there’s a dealer next door.

And trying to find and make those connections, give our dealers the tools that they need to go and help recruit those individuals, make those connections to those local vocational technical programs that maybe we have a stronger relationship with to grow that next generation of CNH Industrial dealer technician. But then just trying to make those ties and linkages also with youth programs that are out in the United States and within Canada that have a higher correlation to kids that want to work in ag and construction. And so we’ve really put a focused effort into top tech this year and the last in building this program and continuing to work with our dealers on what’s next, what else could help you.

Sarah Nicastro: So part of that is helping create better awareness of the jobs in the industry. And you do that through, I think you said you speak right at schools and whatnot about some of those opportunities. So part of it is that sort of thing. Can you give any insight on what the tactics are that have worked in helping them identify and then attract new talent?

Danielle Waterworth: The earlier that you can get involved, the better. So if you have those opportunities to engage in those high school programs, it’s better. If you get in there and you provide them those day to day sit in the life experiences, I think it starts to change their ideas of what these jobs are. They are not dirty jobs. These are air condition, climate controlled service technician jobs for the most part anymore of where our industry is going. And there’s a lot of flexibility in that to just try to find those opportunities in our network because they are in such demand. So the more you provide that insight into what that job looks like, the more they can start to see, okay, this is something that I could be interested in. What does it take to go in this direction?

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. Yeah. And I think your point about the earlier, the better. You also mentioned high schools themselves. You mentioned vo-tech, you mentioned community, just programs and extracurricular type things that are a fit. So also thinking about just really trying different avenues and see where you do get some interest or make some progress. But this is a really good area to consider in terms of a very specific lift for the dealers in an area of need, but ultimately something that also, again, impacts your customers because you can train and enable those technicians, but you need technicians to train and enable to provide the service.

Danielle Waterworth: Absolutely.

Sarah Nicastro: So that’s a really, really good point. Now, Danielle, you mentioned to me when we spoke that you are very metrics and analytics focused, and that that plays a role in all that you do. Are there examples you can provide on how you apply this to your decision making and how you manage your teams to make sure that you are achieving the results that you want to achieve?

Danielle Waterworth: Yeah, absolutely. I think it goes into this whole lean mentality that we’re trying to take on. But because you don’t just live that first week in that kaizen and then it stops, you have to continuously assess where your metrics are going, find the next level of issues that you need to go and address. And that goes to the whole root cause problem solving. So we utilize our metrics a lot. We’re starting now heavily into technical support to look at cycle times first response, just trends that we have going on with certain product areas during different times of the year or within different regions. And this allows us to have fact-based decisions in regards to where we need to invest

So we can start to see trends that are coming in and it’ll allow us to make better decisions of, well, we’re getting a lot of, I would call them struggling incident types for this certain product types. So where are we sitting at from a service technician perspective of how many people have been going through the higher level courses? And I think that, that’s just allowing us to make smarter decisions as an organization of where we’re going to invest our time and our money. And really helps us also promote to the dealerships, here’s where we’re investing, here’s the results that we’re starting to see. Because you want them to be believers in what you’re doing as well. They have to be, otherwise they just think, Danielle’s gone through the whole year, what has she done? So I think it just helps provide that value back to everyone, your employees, your dealers, which are your partners, and then hopefully your customers start feeling it as well. You actually start turning the tide through metrics.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah, that makes sense. And I think when you talked about the work you’re doing around incident management, I like how you said you’re looking for those clusters because that’s how you’re identifying that first opportunity for attack or resolution. What will give the most lift? Where are the areas that are surfacing the biggest need so that we can have the biggest impact by solving those? And I think using that data driven approach is the best way to make sure that you are doing that in a way that will really help.

Danielle Waterworth: It takes-.

Sarah Nicastro: So I’m curious… Yeah, that’s a good point. It’s probably why I’m not that way. I very much lead with emotions and it has its benefits too, but you have to balance it all out.

Danielle Waterworth: Yeah.

Sarah Nicastro: I’m just personally curious about this. We didn’t really talk about it, and I realize that’s because this podcast obviously is more about service across a bunch of industries. It’s not an agriculture or farming podcast, but as a farm kid, I am curious just what, going on within the world of agriculture, what is most interesting to you about trends in that space right now?

Danielle Waterworth: You can go on and on about the globalization and what’s going on just within all of the countries and instability, but I think that for the most part, you’re always going to have something like that, that you’re going to be dealing with. You have globalization, you have mergers and acquisitions. Technology is starting to get rooted more and more and more. It’s not just because I’m talking about connected services. We’re talking about robots and machines, and the sustainability of agriculture. And so how do we…. Our methane tractors that we’re producing now. We’re trying to take what is best out of technology that’s going on just in other industries and find ways of mixing it in to the ag and construction environment. And it’s such a fast-paced activity, it’s just exciting to just keep up with it, what’s the next thing? What’s the next thing? So I’d say that those are the biggest things that are going on right now that are just really driving a lot of change within agriculture.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah, Now, I wanted to ask, we were talking about the connected service and the non-connected service and all of the things that are really a work in progress in terms of how does the modern value proposition work, what does that all look like, et cetera? And for an organization that is asset intensive and does have that need to protect your customer’s ability to operate when they need to, which is their livelihood, et cetera. So much of your role is to really simplify a lot of complexity, a lot of complexity. And I think it’s complexity that is almost multiplying by the minute when you think about digitalization and technology. And there’s so much good to all of those things, but they do add a lot of layers of change and things to sort through, et cetera. So when you think about how best to simplify a complex asset intensive environment, what comes to mind in terms of how to navigate that?

Danielle Waterworth: What’s the value? What’s the value of the sell? At the end of the day, you can design the perfect widget and think that it’s wonderful, and then if you haven’t figure it out though, how it’s actually going to be utilized and acquired into the market. That’s the key point, that should drive everything that you do. How is this actually going to provide value back into your customer and dealer base? And if it’s not, then you need to go back to the drawing board because it’s probably not something that you need to spend your time in. It’s not going to provide any additional value to them. It’s probably not the right thing to be looking at.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. I think there’s something to your analytical practices in terms of, it seems like part of the key has to be constant prioritization of what will provide the greatest outcome. So with the customer in mind, but knowing that at any given moment, there’s probably dozens of projects you could take on and help your team lead that would have a positive impact on the company, on the dealers, on the customers. But then how do you prioritize those? Because you can’t do it all at once.

Danielle Waterworth: You live in an agile environment. I can tell you that.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. Yeah.

Danielle Waterworth: Within the two streams that I have, I have basically 10 different functional areas, and you can sit down at the beginning of the year and you can plan these are going to be the things that we’re going to do this year, they’re going to make change. But if you don’t touch that until the end of the year again, you’ve already failed. So you have to continue to adjust and readjust and get feedback back from your customer and your dealer base, your internals of what are they seeing? How, with what is going on to what you were saying before in the industry, how is that going to impact what we said we were going to go out and do? And you have to adjust numerous times.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. Yeah. Because you never know when there’s going to be a different need or a new need or a reprioritize need that needs to shake up your plans. That makes sense.

Danielle Waterworth: Yeah. Yep.

Sarah Nicastro: Good. I’ve enjoyed talking with you. Do you have any other thoughts or comments for the listeners?

Danielle Waterworth: No, not today. I have plenty. I love my job if you can’t tell, so I could go on and on and on.

Sarah Nicastro: I love it. It makes me happy to see people that are passionate about what they do and enjoy the ways that they’re able to make an impact. So I’m happy that you have that in your day to day life, and I’m happy that you were able to come and share a bit with us. So thank you.

Danielle Waterworth: Yeah.

Sarah Nicastro: All right. You all can learn more by visiting us at futureoffieldservice.com. You can also find us on LinkedIn as well as Twitter at the Future of FS. The Future of Field Service podcast is published in partnership with IFS. You can learn more at ifs.com. As always, thank you for listening.