Sarah shares a synopsis of the topics discussed at the Future of Field Service Live Tour 2023 stop in Paris on May 24th.
Sarah Nicastro: Welcome to the Future of Field Service podcast. I'm your host, Sarah Nicastro.
I am coming to you from Paris. We just wrapped our third stop on the Future of Field Service live tour for 2023 in Paris. We had a great day yesterday, a wonderful lineup of speakers. We had a smaller group with us at this event, which was really nice because everyone had an opportunity to really engage with one another, get to meet one another, have some really good breakout conversations in addition to our interview sessions, and I think people really enjoyed that opportunity. I had one person tell me that it felt like we created a Field Service family in Paris, which was really nice to hear. So, I just want to share some of the highlights of the sessions yesterday, what came up at the event, and some of the points that I thought were really interesting.
So, our first session of the day was with Sebastien Garric, who is the Director of Service for France at GEA Group. And Sebastian joined to talk about GEA's service transformation and three major components of that, which is the importance of mindset, customer centricity, and the role that plays, and also remembering to prioritize and continually work on operational efficiency. So, GEA is a manufacturer who, like many, is seeing the massive opportunity to focus more on service within its value proposition. But obviously for a company that has a strong manufacturing history, that's where the importance of the mindset shift and the change management comes in.
One of my favorite things that Sebastien said is advice someone gave him in his career, which is that we should welcome problems and look at them as opportunities rather than a nuisance or something to avoid. And I think that that's a really good point, and one that particularly when you think about some of the major topics in service today that we often refer to as challenges, they are indeed opportunities for companies to get a bit more creative and innovate, and I love that attitude. So that was great. Next up, we had Ravichandra Kshirasagar, who is the Vice President for Digital Buildings and Global Commercial at Schneider Electric.
So Ravichandra joined me to talk about how Schneider is re-imagining the role of the field technician for 2025, 2030 and beyond. So we started our conversation really talking about how he manages his time to be sure that he's meeting the present day needs of the business, but also carving out this time and making sure his teams are carving out time to think about what will 2025 look like, which as he mentioned will be here before we know it, but also 2030 and really starting to put some steps in place today to be preparing for how quickly things are changing and what that will look like.
So obviously he's in charge of digital, and Schneider is really, really focused on helping its customers achieve more sustainable buildings. And they have a really exciting and I think compelling mission for their workforce to be a part of. But internally, we talked a lot about how the field technician's role will change based on technologies that are available for increased automation and a lot more remote service, as well as as the organization continues to look at outcomes that can provide to its customers, how that might change some of the roles that have traditionally been filled by one field technician. So one of the things that I really liked that Ravichandra brought up is that they've actually not too long ago changed the name from field technician to service technician. That seems like such a small thing, but when you think about this idea of leveraging more automation and more remote capabilities, it's thinking ahead a bit about the fact that that role soon or even in some areas today, will not be completely a field role.
So we may have people that split time between an office or even working from home and then going onsite part of the time. So I think simple shifts like that, they sound like, "Oh yeah, totally." They require a lot of thinking ahead and also thinking about what is representative of the role today, what will fit into the future. So we had some really good conversations about how they're thinking of the evolution of that role. And I think that that initial step of changing the name from field technician to service technician, Ravichandra also spoke about how from a digital perspective, as the volume of data that they are collecting and using with their customers increases, they've had to bring in a lot more analysts to really work with that data and make it insightful for the employees that are interacting with customers and for the customers themselves, which we know will certainly be an increasing need as well.
So really great conversation, really good insight into how we can both focus on what we need to be doing today, but also be thinking ahead because we know things are moving quite rapidly. The next session was with Marie Cobessi, who is the Director of Aftersales Service Projects and Transformation at Fnac Darty. So Marie is responsible for essentially determining in service which transformational projects the company will prioritize and decide to take on, and then making sure that they are achieving those objectives in a way that aligns with the strategy for each. So one of the things Marie brought up that I think everyone loved, again, quite simple in nature, but incredibly effective and impactful. Marie spoke about the process that they use for the prioritization of transformation projects, which they refer to as the four Cs. So the first C is customers, the second C is employees, but the French word for employee starts with C.
The third is cost, and the fourth is carbon footprint. So those are the different pillars that the company looks at every time it's evaluating which transformation projects to prioritize its investment and time in next. And I saw a lot of people taking notes and thinking like, "Oh yeah, that's great." And also some folks that shared which of those they sort of currently tend to focus on and why it might be important to take a look at all of those. So Darty not long ago introduced a subscription model to its customers for service. So the company services all sorts of different home appliances. And traditionally that's been done on a warranty basis or I believe also on a per repair basis. And so moving to this subscription model has led to a lot of growth for the organization. And Marie also talked about how to navigate that, but it's a value proposition that has positively impacted the customer base, the organization.
And then we did talk quite a bit about the impact that it's had on carbon footprint, on the ability to extend the lifecycle of products and therefore reduce waste and improve reuse and remanufacturing, things like that. She talked about the focus that the organization has on continuing to evolve from a customer experience perspective, but also from a employee perspective, some of the areas of opportunity that they have to further improve the tools and processes that the field technicians use so that it makes their daily lives a bit easier. And then she also spoke about the program that they have in place, an initiative that they've put in place to bring in new technicians to put them into a training program and to use that as a way to increase their talent pool. And then Marie and I also had a good conversation about her being a woman in service.
So we had two female speakers at the Sydney event, but both, one was an author, one was a consultant, so not necessarily service leaders themselves. Marie was the first woman on stage from that perspective. So that's kind of representative of where the industry is. And so we talked about what that has meant for her. She actually spoke about how she sees that as a positive thing and how in her mind, one of the things that we need to do to get more gender diversity in the industry is to make sure that we're showing and showcasing the ability to have work-life balance. And we talked a little bit about what that means and what that might look like, and it was a great conversation. Next up, we had a session with Jan van Veen, who is the Founder and Managing Director of moreMomentum, which is a community for service organizations in the manufacturing space specifically.
And Jan and I spoke about the gap that lies between the potential of service innovation and some of the reality of where we are today. So we talked a bit about what to prioritize and how, exactly far should we be looking ahead. For organizations that are thinking more about incremental innovation, what could that look like? For companies that want to focus more on disruptive innovation what should that look like? We talked about some of the differences between focusing on digital transformation, service transformation, and business transformation. And Jan brought up some great points, I think challenged me on some of my thinking, which I really enjoyed because as I mentioned to the audience, I really love having the opportunity to learn in these conversations as well. So that was really nice, and we were able to speak with some of the folks in the crowd about those points and compare notes and have a good discussion.
So that was really cool. And the last session of the day was with Emmanuelle Duchesne and Stephane Dabas, who are both from Culligan. So Emmanuel is the customer service director, and Stephan is the IT director at Culligan. So that session was really talking about how to create a productive and collaborative business and IT partnership that can deliver on the customer and employee focused objectives. So it was a really fun session because I didn't realize that Emmanuelle and Stephane had worked together for over a decade, and they have a really fun rapport and relationship. So I joked with them after saying it was kind of like a old married couple. They were finishing each other's sentences. They were kind of poking fun at one another. It was really fun.
But they had some really good perspective on what the relationship or really lack thereof between the business and IT looked like when they started with Culligan 10, 12 years ago and how it's evolved over time, why it's evolved and what it needs to look like today, and the recognition that these technology initiatives really need to be business led and what a productive relationship looks like in their organization. So we talked about the importance of building trust. Obviously we talked about the prioritization of needs. We talked about business case. We talked about how to navigate differences of opinion. We talked about the fact that Culligan is a highly acquisitive business, so they're often bringing in other organizations to their IT ecosystem. And we spoke about what that looks like and how they determine the path as they bring those companies on to what technology to leverage, et cetera. One of the things that came out of that session that again, I think everyone enjoyed is that Emmanuel shared that they have what they call a CX day where they have every function of the business.
So finance, HR, I believe every function of the business, spend time with a frontline employee either in their call center or in the field. And the goal of that is to really make sure that everyone understands that customer facing role and what service looks like in practice and has an appreciation for that. And again, this was one of the points that I saw everyone in the room writing notes on. I had a couple of conversations after that session about how impactful that could be, not only from creating that awareness among the different functions of the business, but also in the sense of making those frontline workers feel valued and appreciated and important because you're acknowledging how critical their role is and how you want everyone in the organization to be aware of what they do. So I thought that was such a good takeaway.
We had some breakout sessions where we talked about some of these different topics in small groups, which were really interesting, gave everyone an opportunity to pick each other's brains, get to meet one another. We had some time over lunch and at the end of the day to socialize and network, and all in all, it was a great day. From the UK and Paris events we do plan to try and release as many of the sessions as we can here on the podcast, so that way you'll have an opportunity to hear more of what was shared in detail. So stay tuned for that.
In the meantime, stay connected with us at futureoffieldservice.com. You can sign up for the insider, which will deliver a recap of the latest content to you every other week in your email inbox. We also have three events left in the live tour. We have Minneapolis on June 15th, Dusseldorf June 21st, and Stockholm September 7th. So if you can make it to any of those locations, would love to have you be a part of our community. Events are free to attend for service leaders, and you can view the agendas and register for any of those events on the website. 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.