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December 19, 2022 | 3 Mins Read

The Future of Field Service Year in Review

December 19, 2022 | 3 Mins Read

The Future of Field Service Year in Review

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By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service

I’m still reconciling the reality that 2022 is drawing to a close, but here I am writing a Year in Review summary. This year has been a whirlwind with a flurry of activity that, after years of Covid-induced slow down, brought both overwhelm at times and immense fulfillment. When I reflect on the year I feel immense gratitude for the opportunity to reconnect and re-engage with so many of you in so many different ways. My interactions throughout 2022 have shown me how the challenges we’ve faced the last couple of years have only drawn the service community closer together. 

To summarize some of the highlights, I must begin with the first-ever Future of Field Service Global Live Tour! When Future of Field Service was first created, I had dreams of evolving the content platform into a basis for connection and community, and this year those visions came to life. In our first tour, we visited five wonderful countries and in each location were joined by industry-leading expert speakers and highly engaged attendees. The events featured podcast-style interviews and a lot of interactive discussions, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive – it reinforced for me the value that exists in coming together across industries to discuss common challenges, trends, and share not only information but inspiration. Across the five cities we had 20 speakers and more than 150 attendees. If you weren’t able to join this year’s Live Tour, you can find summary insights here – and stay tuned for exciting information to come soon on the 2023 Tour!

In-Person, Audio, Online and Everything In Between

In addition to hosting our own events, Future of Field Service had a presence at many other industry events including Field Service Palm Springs, Field Service Hilton Head, The Service Council Symposium, IFS UNLEASHED, Field Service Connect Austin, and Field Service Europe. The ability to spend time with so many people within our community, in person, this year was really a joy – and I think that feeling was shared among those who attended these events. While there are still challenges to face, the overall energy among attendees at these events was positive and there is much shared excitement about the potential that exists in service.

When we weren’t traveling, we kept the content flowing with more than 50 articles and 51 new podcasts. Here are some really cool stats according to Spotify’s “Wrapped” review for the Future of Field Service podcast:

  • 1,503 minutes of new content
  • 40% more listeners and 28% more followers in 2022
  • Listeners across 37 countries with the top five being the United States, Sweden, the Philippines, Germany, and Spain
  • Among the top 15% most followed podcasts
  • Among the top 15% most shared podcasts globally

Last week I shared my Top 10 Episodes of 2022, which is always a challenge because there are so many great interviews to choose from. If you missed that recap, it’s worth having a look – the topics featured vary from leadership and sustainability to labor and predictive service. You can find the list here.

December 14, 2022 | 11 Mins Read

The Top 10 of 2022

December 14, 2022 | 11 Mins Read

The Top 10 of 2022

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After some agonizing, Sarah recaps the top ten podcast episodes of 2022 so you can be sure you hit all of the highlights.

Sarah Nicastro: Welcome to the Future of Field Service podcast. I'm your host, Sarah Nicastro.

Today's episode is our annual look back, if you will, our top 10 of 2022. This is an exercise that for me, gets increasingly harder as the years go on. Looking back through the podcast episodes that we've released over the course of the year makes me really proud of the content that we're creating, and the variety of topics that we're covering. I'm incredibly grateful for the guests that are willing to come on and share their stories, their perspective, and their insights. So selecting 10 of all of the episodes of the year is no easy feat. And this doesn't necessarily mean that these are the 10 best podcasts or my favorites, I couldn't pick favorites. But they are what I think is a really good representation of what Future of Field Service is about.

And for folks that haven't been following along for a while, often I hear them say, "I love your podcast, but I never know which episodes to go back and listen to, because there are so many." So my hope is that doing a top 10 gives people a starting point if they want to go back and listen to some of the episodes that we've put out this year. All of that being said, these are in no particular order. These are just what I would list as the top 10 episodes of 2022. Okay, so here we go.

The first one on the list is Episode 150, and it is featuring Shannon Tymosko, who shares her story about transitioning to the trades in a pretty significant career change. Shannon's story is really, really cool. She in her late 20s, decided to become an apprentice electrician, and she talks a lot about why and how she made that decision, what that journey has been like.

She talks about some of the aspects of having a career in the trades that she just loves, and some of the challenges that she faces as well. One of the things she talks about is battling self-doubt. And so I think that this episode is really enlightening for folks that are pondering how to get more women into service, into the trades, to really listen to Shannon share her firsthand experiences and think about what some of the appeal is for women in a trade career. But also some of the challenges that are very real.

The next episode on the list is Episode 170. This episode is Why and How Service Should be Prioritizing Sustainability, Now, with Rainer Karcher who is formerly the global director of IT Sustainability at Siemens. Rainer actually joined me at the Frankfurt stop of the Future of Field Service Live Tour. And we had a chat there on this topic, but then later recorded a episode specifically as well.

I like this episode a lot because sustainability is a topic that we know is very important, that we need to be continuing to push ourselves to take action on. I've had some people ask questions about exactly what does service have to do with that? How does service factor into the sustainability discussion? And what are some of the ways that making changes in service operations can have an impact on a company's sustainability initiatives?

In this episode, Rainer and I talk about some of those different ways, and we also talk about some different motivations for putting more emphasis on sustainability. He is someone who is deeply, deeply passionate about the topic. And of course, hopes that many others are, for no reason other than caring about the world in which we live.

But we also talk about some of the other aspects, some of the other drivers of a focus on sustainability, which includes things like customer decision-making, and importance to customers who decide which brands to work with based on those companies sustainability goals and actions.

We talk about investment criteria, and how sustainability is becoming a bigger criteria in investors and which companies they decide to work with, and a number of other things. So it's a really good episode to reflect on, not only the importance of sustainability and creating better strategy, and taking more action in 2023, but also some of the examples of how service has an impact.

The next episode is actually a two-part episode, so this is cheating a little bit. It's episodes 149 and 151 on, Meeting the Demands of Modern Leadership with James Mylett, who is the SVP for U.S. Digital Buildings at Schneider Electric.

James is someone I've known for a number of years. He is someone who when you meet folks that work for or with him, you know he is genuinely and authentically a very good leader, and you get that sense from him. I was really interested to have this conversation with James about what it is that he feels makes a strong leader in today's world, and what are the things that he practices that he works on, that he prioritizes, et cetera? It became a two-part episode because the conversation was so good that I didn't want to cut it short, and luckily he was able to spend the time talking with me and sharing with me. So we made it a two-part episode.

We tackle a lot of different things in the two episodes, everything from empathy and authenticity. One of the points that James brings up that I really, really appreciated is his focus on root cause analysis. We had a conversation about how a lot of leaders, particularly in today's business climate feel a sense of urgency to make decisions quickly, and to react fast, and to follow their gut. There's nothing wrong with that, but James talks about some of the really important learnings that can be missed when you react so quickly that you don't first really understand what it is that you're reacting to, or making a decision on. So really great conversation on leadership. I definitely recommend taking a listen to both of those episodes.

Next on the list is Episode 155. This is on, The Fine Art of Problem Solving, with New York Times bestselling author, Amy Herman. I loved this conversation. It was different, and that is why it's on the list. Amy is an author and thought leader who works with clients to use art to help them solve problems, to think more creatively, to think outside of the box, to look at things differently, and understand different points and perspectives in a new and unique way.

I love this conversation because it is different. I think part of my job is to make sure that we're not sharing the same information over and over, telling the same stories. So I like being able to bring in different concepts like this to discuss. But I also think field service is at a point right now where generally speaking, we do really need to get a little bit more creative and think differently. There's a lot of change happening, and I think the companies that are reacting best to that change are forcing themselves to not stay tied to legacy thinking, legacy behaviors. And they're really getting comfortable being uncomfortable. And so this conversation with Amy is really interesting one, and one that I think could benefit a lot of organizations in broadening their minds on how to innovate and how to solve problems in a new way.

The next episode on the list is Episode 167 on Husky's Move to Predictive Service. This episode is with Tony Black, who is the president of Service for Husky Injection Molding Systems. This is also a really interesting conversation and one that I was impressed with, because the evolution that Tony talks about in this episode is one that quite frankly, a lot of companies are struggling to execute on. It is theoretically what many, many organizations are working towards. But in reality, a lot of companies, I think are struggling to see the progress that Husky has, and to make some of the organizational and fundamental changes that the business has made that have allowed it to really transition.

Tony talks a lot about why this move was necessary, but then the how? How has Husky evolved? What technologies have they put in place? What new skills are required? What does it change with how they work with customers? There's a lot of really valuable insights in this episode for organizations that are looking to evolve to a more predictive or outcomes based service model. I definitely recommend having a listen.

The next episode on the list is Episode 172. This is on Scaling Innovation to Drive Business Impact with Top 10 Global Thought leader Frank Mattes. Frank also joined me at the Frankfurt Future of Field Service Live Tour, and then we recorded this podcast after his session at the event. And the points that he makes in this podcast discussion are so incredibly helpful in really thinking about how organizations need to structure themselves, and operate to meet the demands of the day-to-day business, but also ensure they are putting enough emphasis on innovation.

There are some points that Frank brings up that I think break some common myths around what it takes to innovate as an organization. There are some analogies he uses that really just make the concepts very easy to understand, and think about really good insights that I think could help a lot of organizations, that again, are knowing they need to evolve, but really struggling to figure out how to get the wheels in motion.

The next episode on the list is Episode 186 on DELL Eliminates Siloes for an End-to-End Service Approach. This episode is with Bob Feiner, who is the senior vice president of Dell Technologies Services. This is a conversation about how Dell Technologies has restructured its services organization to be commonly aligned around the customer experience, and around customer satisfaction. In doing so, there was the elimination of silos, and really the reduction of risk of an individual function within service doing extremely well. But ultimately a negative customer experience because another function or the handoff in between those functions wasn't cohesive and consistent. So again, this is an issue that a lot of companies face, which is restructuring the business to embrace customer centricity truly. And to ensure that from a service perspective, the customer is having a very unified and cohesive experience with the business, which means setting common goals around what that looks like, making sure that insights are shared, and readily available across teams and functions. Again, there's some really good practical insights within this conversation for organizations that need to work on eliminating those silos and creating a more cohesive customer approach.

The next episode on the list is Episode 181. This is on, 6 Ways to Address Employee Burnout with Darcy Gruttadaro, former director of the Center for Workplace Mental Health.

So Darcy came on to speak about burnout specifically because it is an area that the Center for Workplace Mental Health is focusing a lot on. It's obviously something we see in here in the news, it's something that our team's may be struggling with, something that we as individuals may be struggling with. It's something that is universally challenging at the moment. I appreciated her coming to this episode, not just to talk about the topic theoretically, but to provide these six very practical ways that companies can dig in and make a positive impact. We talk a lot about how some of the focus on mental health that needs to happen. It doesn't need to be these ornate programs, or these costly initiatives. It can be things that are quite simple, that have a really big impact.

Those of you that listen to this podcast regularly know that mental health is a conversation that I think is very, very important. I selected this episode because it is one that focuses on a specific area, burnout, and gives some really, really tactical advice for companies to go away and make changes that will have a positive impact. So, have a listen and also keep in mind that the Center for Workplace Mental Health has a lot of resources that are free for organizations and individual leaders to use, and those are resources that everyone should be taking advantage of. You can find all of those workplacementalhealth.org.

The next episode on the list is Episode 184. This episode is on Koolmill's Cool As-a-Service Story, probably the corniest headline that I wrote all year, but I just couldn't resist. This episode is with Alec Anderson, who is the managing director of Koolmill, founded the company. And this is such a neat story on so many levels. So first of all, I admire Alec's passion about what he does, so, so much.

Koolmill is a piece of equipment for rice milling that is unique and differentiated in its industry. Not just on the machine itself, but also the business model which is, As-a-Service. I never thought that I would find rice milling such an interesting topic. But Alec’s passion for what they do and how to overcome some of the challenges in the industry, it's just super cool.

Now, what makes this episode interesting though isn't just Alec’s passion. There are some really valid points to this story about the benefits of an As-a-Service model. Some of the challenges in going to market that way especially in industries that traditionally have been very CapEx focused, some of the benefits that As-a-Service brings in terms of making innovation more accessible to customers, and a positive environmental impact. And also one of the things that we get into in this episode is really the democratization of innovation, that choosing to leverage this business model allows Koolmill to take part in. So very, very interesting episode and a lot of really good insights to glean related to advanced services and As-a-Service models.

And last but not least, rounding out the top 10 is Episode 173 which is on, Why the Future of Service Depends on Putting People First. This is an episode from the Paris Live Tour with Jean de Kergorlay, who is the digital buildings service director for Europe at Schneider Electric.

Jean has been with Schneider, I think over 30 years, and in services, I think all of if not the majority of that time. I love that being in a digital business, and having a lot of experience in the industry, he will summarize his thoughts on where we need to go next, related to making sure we continue to put people first. I think that's a really important reminder. He gives some really good specific examples on why that is and how he's looking at that.

But a really good reminder for everyone that digital is important. Technology is an incredible enabler. But at the end of the day, service is a people business and we need to keep that in mind and make sure that we are prioritizing the humanity and the human centricity in this space. That's the top 10. I hope you will go back and have a listen to any that you missed.

A huge thank you to not just these 10 guests, but all of the guests that have been a part of the Future Field Service podcast this year and been willing to share their stories. I genuinely appreciate each and every one of you. And also a big thank you to you, the listeners for joining us and taking part in our community. We appreciate you as well.

You can find any of these episodes by visiting us at futureoffieldservice.com, or on your favorite podcast platform. As always, the Future of Field Service podcast is published in partnership with IFS, and you can learn more at ifs.com. Thank you for listening.

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December 12, 2022 | 3 Mins Read

Make It a Priority to Master Knowledge Management

December 12, 2022 | 3 Mins Read

Make It a Priority to Master Knowledge Management

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By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service

At Field Service Europe, Tim Burge of Aquant shared some findings from the company’s recent Service Intelligence Benchmark study. One insight he shared stood out in my mind, which is “if all employees had the knowledge and skills to perform like the top 20% of employees, service costs would be reduced by 21 percent.”

Based on the discussions at the event, companies aren’t nearly where they need to be when it comes to having a modern and effective knowledge management strategy for field service. Compounding that fact is the sheer volume of frontline employees within service who are approaching retirement age, presenting a significant risk to organizations in loss of incredibly valuable knowledge. 

Knowledge management is defined as “the process by which an enterprise gathers, organizes, shares and analyzes its knowledge in a way that is easily accessible to employees. This knowledge includes technical resources, frequently asked questions, training documents and people skills.” While the concept of knowledge management isn’t unique to field service, there are some challenges specific to field service that make it uniquely important to get a better handle on:

  • As mentioned, there is a large quantity of very knowledgeable workers nearing retirement age and a huge risk of losing their tacit knowledge 
  • The types and volume of insights needed by frontline workers in field service has expanded as customer expectations have evolved and grown
  • Digitalization has made information more accessible, but has also in many instances caused data overwhelm without quick and easy access to the insights really needed at any given time
  • An inability to retrieve the necessary knowledge in an accessible, digestible format in real-time when it is needed causes costly return visits and negatively impacts customer satisfaction

In the coming year, with cost pressures on the rise and frontline workers leaving the industry and taking valuable insights with them, improving our focus on and strategy around knowledge management must become a priority. For service success today, having access to meaningful insights is just as important for a field technician as having their toolbox or the correct spare part. 

Knowledge management is often discussed with three types of knowledge in mind: tacit, implicit, and explicit. While most organizations have strong documentation of explicit knowledge and processes for distributing it through training, manuals, etc., we need to consider how well (if at all) we are capturing and making usable the implicit and tacit knowledge of the frontline workforce. 

Automate Knowledge Capture

At the event, numerous attendees shared frustrations around getting the frontline workers to agree to document their insights or “offload” their knowledge in some way. And I don’t blame them! It’s cumbersome for an employee with years of experience and countless interactions that have culminated in that tacit knowledge to try and distill it down into some sort of manifesto. 

If we realize the imperative to improve knowledge management, we then need to consider the best approach. As much as possible, we need to find ways to capture and leverage knowledge as it is being organically used and shared among the workforce – this reduces the burden on any one individual to spend (non-productive) time documenting or downloading. You likely already have technology in place that you could be deriving these insights from, such as:

  • Your field service management solution
  • Augmented reality or video collaboration tools
  • Help desk interactions
  • Many others!

Before you ask an employee to spend time documenting or sharing their insights, be sure you are embedding the wisdom already being shared within your organization. You may have areas where you find you have gaps to fill, and then you can get creative about gleaning additional insights from some of your most experienced technicians. 

This is one of the examples of AI use that makes me chuckle at those who say, “one day, AI will take the jobs of the field technicians!” Doubtful, particularly when many companies aren’t even putting to good use AI to make accessible some of their knowledge. We have a long way to go! But knowledge management is a perfect example of where AI can play a practical and very impactful role within field service – an area that you need to be putting a concerted effort into mastering. 

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December 7, 2022 | 10 Mins Read

Insights from Field Service Europe 2022

December 7, 2022 | 10 Mins Read

Insights from Field Service Europe 2022

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Sarah reports in from Amsterdam to share some of the insightful conversations that took place last week at Field Service Europe 2022.

Sarah Nicastro: Welcome to the Future of Field Service podcast. I'm your host, Sarah Nicastro. I am recording this episode in the beautiful city of Amsterdam where I was this week, last week once you're hearing this, for Field Service Europe. It was a great week, a great event. This is an event put on by WBR, so the same conference organization that puts on Field Service, Palm Springs, Field Service East, which some of you may be familiar with. So this version of the event, Field Service Europe, hasn't happened since fall of 2019, and it was really heartwarming to see the energy at the event and how happy people were to be back together here in person. So I had the privilege of being at the 2019 event. That was my first time speaking at Field Service Europe, and I think people were just very, very glad to be back in this setting, engaging face to face, talking to one another, learning from one another, so it was really nice to see that happen.

There was a lot of great content. It was spread over two days, and I'm going to recap here for you all, some of the key points. So I wrote an article which we'll publish or did publish on Monday, talking about the opening keynote presentation that Jean-Claude Jobard from Marmon gave. I know Jean-Claude. He spoke at the Paris Future Field Service Live Tour event, and I absolutely admire his passion for service. He really, really loves this space and loves what he does, and those of you that know me know that that's something I can really resonate with. So he gave the opening presentation, and I don't want to say too much because you should read the article, but one of his key messages was that right now, service really has no limits. It's just up to your willingness to drive change, and I really, really liked his message.

It set the stage very well for the content that followed over the next two days, and if you want to hear more what he spoke about, go back and take a look at the article from Monday. So I'm going to go through some of the key points and talk a little bit about some of the sessions that I was either a part of or sat in on and some of the things that were brought up that I think are worth sharing here with you all. So one of the topics of course that was discussed quite a bit throughout the event is around talent and resourcing. There was a panel discussion featuring Louise Morton from Baxi, Xavier Bertrand from Boston Scientific and Sven Müller from SMA. It was a great discussion and I thought they did a really good job of reinforcing some of the points we all already know are important, but also bringing up some new food for thought.

One of the points that Lou from Baxi shared that I thought was really, really good is that the skills and capabilities we're going to need from talent, even in three years’ time, is significantly different than what we are actively looking for today, and we need to make sure that we are thinking about and strategizing around and planning for that now so that we don't find ourselves even further behind by focusing only on the historical types of talent that we've been looking for. So that obviously ties into the discussion around how the role of the field technician is changing, which ties into the conversation around remote service and self-service and advanced services. So there's some interconnectedness among some of these themes, but I think that is a really important point to be getting a bit ahead of what the talent is that you are going to be needing, not just right this moment, but in the years to come.

She also spoke about how she's seeing a really big focus on work life balance. So I think someone had asked about salary and how big of an issue that is, how competitive it's become, et cetera, and obviously the panelists all acknowledge that it is indeed important. But she mentioned that, for her, it is important, but the work life balance topic is equally important. So part of what they're doing is looking at how they can really expand their employee value proposition in that area. One of the things that Xavier said that I really liked is that he said, "I only see opportunity here because service has never held so much value." I love that point. I share that perspective, although I also realize that I am not the one in the role of having to find talent right now today.

So totally acknowledge that, but I think it is a very true point, and that goes back to the ways that service is evolving and what that means in terms of the potential that there is to really change the skillsets that we're looking for to really cast a wider net and be able to include a lot more types of folks, types of skillsets than we have before. And then Sven made a very good point, I think, around leveraging third party technicians or outsourcing some of your field service work and saying that we shouldn't be thinking about it as outsourcing. We should be thinking about it as a partnership. So I think that is a really good point as well. And part of the panel discussion was also around making sure that, and we've talked about this a bit in our content on future of field service as well, making sure that we aren't focused so heavily on recruiting and attracting new talent that we aren't focusing amply or equally on retaining talent. So that was a really great conversation.

There was a couple different panels on that topic and a lot of good discussion. Lou from Baxi moderated a round table, and there was a lot of conversation there about how to improve diversity and how to really become more creative in what and how things are being done so that we can solve some of these challenges. The second big topic, again, not a surprise, is around servitization and advanced services. There was a really good session with Ravichandra Kshirasagar, I'm sure I'm not doing that justice, Ravi, I'm sorry, from Schneider Electric, Claire Keelan from Johnson Controls and Rajat Kakar from Quickwork. And in that conversation, Claire actually brought up the fact that at Johnson Controls, they're three years into the advanced services journey, and she said it is still a conversation around culture and mindset every single day. So I think that's a very important point to emphasize. There's a couple discussions we had. I had a fireside chat with Perry Leijten from Andritz also around servitization, and we talked about how significant of a mindset shift, almost a company identity shift, that is.

So I think Claire's point is that isn't a point that you acknowledge and sort of grapple with one time. You need to do so continually along the journey, and she also brought up the point of seeking your evangelists and being willing to recognize the people who really just will not come along on the journey with you. So I thought those were some really, really good points. Ravi talked about the need to achieve clarity around your intangible value. Such a good point because again, most of the companies that are on the servitization journey are coming from a legacy, a deep rich legacy often, of being a product provider, a seller of things, and it is just a really big change from selling things to being able to articulate well and resonate that intangible value. And he also made the point of, "Not all of your customers are going to be ready for advanced services when you are ready to start introducing them, so start with the customers who are and build momentum that way."

Just looking at my notes. And then in my session with Perry from Andritz, we talked a lot about some of those same things, the mindset shift. We really talked about how the idea of delivering outcomes, it's based on trust and trust starts with making sure that you are consistently executing on the basics before you start to expand your value proposition, and I think that is an incredibly important point as well. And then another really good point that Perry brought up is, "Data is not a differentiator. What you do with the data is what can be a differentiator," so I think that's a really good point as well. Another big topic, again, no surprises here, was around remote service. So I actually moderated a panel with Marc Robitzkat from Ecolab, Jonathan Zur from Xerox, Nicolas Teyssot from Fives and Jörgen Remmelg from XM Reality. Really good discussion. One of the things that I really liked is that each panelist is using augmented reality, merge reality type technology in really different ways.

And so it was a good way to illustrate for the audience the different use cases, business cases, for the technology and what those look like in the real world today. So Nicolas spoke about how Fives is using augmented reality for training to speed the time to value of its new hires and to make sure that even when they go out into the field, they have access to that internal expertise and internal support. Jonathan talked about how Xerox is using the technology to really increase customer self-service to reduce travel. Jörgen talked about how they have a lot of customers who are using the technology for pre-installation or pre-service inspections so that those clients can maximize their first time fix rates, and Marc spoke about how Ecolab perceives remote service as part of its overall shift in customer value and business model. So really good different examples of how the technology is being leveraged.

There was some discussion around, "What should the dialogue with customers be when you're introducing remote service? How do you manage change?" and I think a general agreement that there is still yet a lot of potential in the realm of remote service to achieve a lot more with the technology. The fourth major topic I wanted to recap for you was a great conversation on the industrial metaverse. This was a session posted by Rajat Kakar featuring Ivo Siebers from TKE, Erik Lapre from VMI, Martin Fischer from Zeiss and Zoltan Gal from ABB. And the three technologies or things that they spoke about in this session were first, the metaverse, which I think there was a general agreement among not only the panelists but the event attendees that it's come up in conversation. It's something that folks are beginning to think about but not yet taking action on, so I think this is a topic that we will see more conversation around in the months and years to come.

The reason the thinking and the starting to factor how this fits is important is obviously because they talked about how embedded it is for the younger generations and needing to get our arms around that. The second point that was discussed was around AI, and so there was a point made that, I can't remember which panelist, one said, "We're making exponential investments in AI but still evaluating where it actually drives real value," and I think a lot of companies could agree with that statement. Rajat actually brought up the point that he feels we've barely touched the iceberg of potential in terms of AI because the instances that are being leveraged or do exist are single environment use, single company use, and there's really this interconnectedness of data and intelligence that could completely expand the impact of the potential of the technology. Excuse me.

And then there was a conversation as well around digital twins and determining the best way to leverage that technology to different companies' advantage. I think one of the good points that was brought up there was to really work closely with R&D and provide some specific direction on what you want to learn and how you want them to investigate, but really kind of relying on that function to do some of that work. So those were some of the key topics that we talked about at Field Service Europe. Again, it was a great event. There just seemed to be really an overall sense of, honestly, excitement about the potential that exists in service right now, and I think a real sense of positivity around some of the change, which sometimes, we tend to resist change. We talked about that a lot or we feel burdened by it and it was really refreshing to be in a group of, I believe, there were between 250 and 300 attendees that were really just very excited about the things going on in this space despite the fact that there are some real challenges at the moment.

So that was really nice and it was a great week. It was great to be here and excellent to connect with some of the folks that I was able to meet and build relationships with since the last Field Service Europe and throughout the Future of Field Service Live Tour this year. So really good stuff. Again, take a look at the article that ran Monday on Jean-Claude's opening keynote. He had a lot of really good perspective that he shared that I tried my best to summarize. And be sure to check out the website for more, futurefieldservice.com. Stay tuned on LinkedIn. We will soon be announcing the dates for the 2023 Live Tour and some other exciting things are coming. So stay posted and as always, appreciate you all tuning in. The Future of Field Service podcast is of course sponsored by IFS. You can learn more at ifs.com. As always, thank you for listening.

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December 5, 2022 | 3 Mins Read

A Field Service Battle Cry: Stop Reacting to Change, Start Driving It

December 5, 2022 | 3 Mins Read

A Field Service Battle Cry: Stop Reacting to Change, Start Driving It

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By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service

At Field Service Europe in Amsterdam last week, Jean-Claude Jobard, VP EMEA at Marmon Link, gave one of the most impassioned keynotes I remember listening to. He stated in his introduction, “I love service. Service is my life – I’ve been in this industry for 36 years.” As someone who is also quite emotionally connected to my work, his genuine statement really resonated with me and I believe with many others in the room, too. 

Jean-Claude went on to talk about his belief that service has no limits – but that there are ways companies are limiting themselves. He began by discussing some of the change that has occurred since March 2020 – recapping of course Covid, but also Supply Chain disruption, mass exits in the job market, inflation and economic turbulence, the energy crisis, and even war. You may be thinking, wow – what a depressing speech! But it wasn’t. Jean-Claude was quick to point out how crisis has made service stronger. 

This is where his excitement for the potential that exists in service comes in – and that excitement is contagious. It’s really cool to see a leader who, even after 36 years in their industry, is so bullish on the amount of opportunity that is on the horizon. Jean-Claude isn’t dissuaded by the idea of change; he’s emboldened by it. And that was really the crux of this keynote – it was a battle cry of sorts for service leaders to stop reacting to change or resisting change and begin embracing and driving it. 

It’s Time to Hit the Gas on Areas of Service Opportunity

Jean-Claude went on to discuss some of the areas of service that, on the surface, have changed since Covid began. But the question he begged is, “what has really changed?” In his view, not as much as we like to think. The areas many point to as having gained traction, he feels, are more of a reactionary change than an intentional, and therefore longer-lasting, change. Here are some of the areas Jean-Claude reflected on to consider how much opportunity remains for those willing to take the initiative:

  • Remote Service. “We saw an uptick in use of remote support when Covid hit, but use eased when travel began again,” says Jean-Claude. “Its use has increased, but it isn’t embedded yet and this is an area we need to push because there’s immense potential.”
  • Advanced Services. “I don’t think there’s been a significant change here – companies on the journey continue the journey,” he says. “But we know that delivering outcomes and sharing risk is important to customers, especially in times of uncertainty. We 
  • Resources. “Has it ever been easy to find field service resources?” Jean-Claude asks. “No. If you look at job descriptions from 20 years ago, are they different? How are we making this industry attractive to new hires? Today’s FSEs are more Customer Service Engineers. We complain, but we really need to change how we market, treat, and reward these jobs. We should also be examining the possibilities that exist to share resources among companies. Why not?”
  • Sustainability. “There has been no significant change here overall,” says Jean-Claude. “We’re still sending technicians all over the world, we’re not helping customers reduce energy consumption. Remote capabilities play a huge role here, and so does reducing energy consumption, remanufacturing, and recycling.”

As Jean-Claude said at one point, “We’ve learned that what we thought to be impossible in March 2020 is possible now.” Rather than ignoring that knowledge in favor of complacency, Jean-Claude’s message is to become excited about what we’ve proven we can do and harness that excitement into forward momentum. Service has no limits, except for those who choose to sit still. 

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