Real-time Visibility in Field Operations
Posted on 12 December 2020

 

Download as PDF

THE CURRENT LANDSCAPE

Given the current climate, things in a field service operation can go from smooth sailing to disastrous extremely rapidly and without notice. At one moment, it could be a quiet day, but then some emergency calls come in, major problems on the factory floor, new issues can make life extremely difficult.

Although back-end business innovations are mostly characterised by digital transformation in field service, enabling a mobile workforce with connected resources is a key factor. From 2019 to 2024, the global field service management market will expand by roughly USD 3 billion1, more than doubling in size, according to MarketsandMarkets. An increasing demand for mobility solutions that support real-time visibility into field operations is one of the key reasons for this. Manufacturers and distributors that have field service capabilities face the demand for these resources to enable greater collaboration, coordination, and real-time responses. To satisfy this demand, businesses have incorporated sophisticated mobile capabilities within their field operations.

To keep clients updated on service problems, technicians will use mobile apps and connected vehicles and use data from their experiences for analytics, upselling opportunities, and more. Technicians act as front-line agents in this way, building improved consumer interactions and encouraging long-term loyalty. Mobile tools, as we can see have also helped central teams optimise the processes of field service management.

Manufacturers’ field staff are responsible for their enterprise’s single most critical interface, the everyday contact with customers. If their employees are engaged in sales, operations, inspections, or asset monitoring, the productivity and performance of this workforce can have a tremendous impact on the company’s wellbeing. The quality of support these employees provide has a direct influence on the manufacturers’ revenue and customers.

Regardless of the industry, the impact can be debilitating when employees in the sector lack access to the voice and data networks in the workplace. Staff must use paper forms to gather data for a wide range of transactions without a real-time channel to back-end business applications, and then inputting the details on those forms into the computer upon returning to the office.

We look at a scenario in which MHI Vestas has improved their real-time visibility in field operations by leveraging mobility solutions provided by Resco.

 

BUSINESS CHALLENGE

Production of renewable energy is a world-wide priority. With offshore wind turbine farms in Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium, United Kingdom, MHI Vestas has fast expanded from 250 to 2200+ employees, many of which are technicians handling the maintenance of turbines. Hence, efficient servicing of the growing number of turbines has become a pressing need for the company.

“Our service teams work in truly challenging conditions. All our turbines are at sea, where you often can’t rely on a stable Wi-Fi or any other network connectivity, really. Because of the physical requirements of climbing into an actual turbine, the technicians must be mobile. They’re not able to operate a laptop or go through sheets of paper while they’re hanging on the ropes and trying to repair a blade,” explained Thor Tankred, Former Senior CRM Consultant at MHI Vestas Offshore Wind (August 2015 – June 2019).

 

RESOLUTION

MHI Vestas have already been running on Microsoft Dynamics 365 when they started looking for a suitable mobile solution to add even more flexibility.

“We’ve been using Dynamics 365 as a platform – not for sales, but pretty much for all other areas of our operation. So we wanted to provide a flexible mobile solution that would effectively bring the required functionality to our staff in the field. And would work fully offline as well – which is obviously a critical requirement for our service team.”

Thor Tankred, Former Senior CRM Consultant, MHI Vestas Offshore Wind
(August 2015 – June 2019)

To address these issues, field operation managers need to close the distance between the voice and data networks in the office and the staff out in the field to solve these problems. Imagine if you could motivate the field workers with a single, easy-to-use, versatile handheld tool that would include all of the office’s features.

 

BENEFITS

 

Revenue Increase

Mobility will help you maximise income, irrespective of whether your field employees are engaged in sales, operations or inspections. Mobility turns the field service workforce into a benefit centre, usually a cost centre, by ensuring that all billable employees are correctly captured.

On-site time and supplies, as well as having a sufficient list of products to cross-sell to service technicians, plus the ability to auto-populate forms to include drop-down to check boxes increases performance and prevents mistakes from rental cars and construction to restaurants.

 

Cost Reduction

Mobility lowers expenses that are directly connected to the employees in the field and in the activities. Improvements in productivity allow the same workers to visit more prospective and current customers every day, reducing the requirements for personnel and vehicles and the associated capital and operating costs. Visibility into sales orders in real-time allows for just-in-time production and inventory management as well as a decrease in inventory stock levels and requirements for warehouse space.

Visibility in real-time in upcoming service calls guarantees that the correct parts and instruments are loaded onto the vehicle, removing the need to complete a job with expensive return trips to the office. And real-time visibility through integrated GPS on delivery and service routes allows for more efficient use of vehicles, reducing mileage, fuel costs and wear and tear of vehicles.

 

Mobility Enables Cost-Effective Compliance

Mobility will massively simplify data collection in the ‘last mile’ of the supply chain, dramatically reducing the cost of enforcement, no matter what form of resource you need to track, and whether you need to comply with regulatory regulations or business directives. Scanning the bar code allows for quick and precise inventorying of assets to ensure proper depreciation, eliminating tax overpayment and underpayment.

A mobile app enables technicians to access and work with the company’s data on phones and tablets – even offline, while on the turbines out at sea. It helps to guide them throughout the maintenance process, provide feedback to the back-office, and simplifies access to all required documents and other essential information stored in Dynamics 365.

“Even with our first mobile project using Resco, we’ve been able to deliver it far below the budget, because we were able to build in-house. We’ve only used one tenth of the budget allocated for the project. The only thing we had to buy were the licenses for the end users – so that was a huge win as well,” Thor added.

 

CONCLUSION

Mobility in field operations is one of the most critical tasks in the manufacturing industry. Most of the time, the hidden causes of the field force’s low productivity can be identified. Most field forces operate without fundamental approaches & standardised processes to ensure efficiency and optimize utilization. Inadequate or poor visibility into technicians’ activities, a reactive approach to dispatching, and inaccurate forecasting are among the recurring hurdles.

To address these challenges, many companies are searching for digital technologies and advanced analytics that can aid enterprise mobility to efficiently increase their workers’ efficiency and expand their capabilities. As highlighted in MHI Vestas’ case above, technologies such as the one from Resco can help line managers receive live updates on a technician’s progress at the task level and intervene as needed, by connecting experts to the technician ‘LIVE’ via augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR). Furthermore, supervisors can identify technicians’ coaching needs by assessing their performance across each mission, helping accelerate their functional development using real-time data. A win-win for all involved.

 

SOURCES
https://www.optiscangroup.com/doc/articles/top_3_reasons_field_mobility.pdf
https://www.techedgegroup.com/blog/achieving-real-time-visibility-in-field-operations-with-mobility-solutions
https://www.reachoutsuite.com/key-trends-next-generation-field-service-mobility/
https://www.resco.net/case-study/mhi-vestas-offshore-wind/

 


Resco, founded in 1999, is one of the global leaders in developing cross-platform mobile software solutions. It enables companies to use and collect vital data in the field and digitize paper-based processes through state-of-the-art technology. Today, over 200,000 licensed users and 2,500+ corporate customers worldwide use Resco to mobilize their operations for the 21st century.

Category: Reports

For news and updates about GBR please follow us on LinkedIn

Francois Germain

Francois Germain holds a Masters’ degree in General Engineering. His career spans power generation, chemicals, refining and offshore. In 2014 he joined Total Refining and Chemicals as VP Health & Safety where he leads global Safety Culture transformation programs for several Business Unit’s within Total. Francois is now leading Digital Innovation within Total Refining and Chemicals

Ron Wissenburg

Ron his main experience is redesigning and implementation of the changes in supply chain processes and organization by leveraging IT solutions. He started his career in consulting at Deloitte where he supported business transformations with SAP in various industries. He Joined Alstom Power in March 2010 which in 2016 Alstom became General E. At Alstom/GE he had various IT leadership roles and the past 3 years he has been working on driving Digital Technology programs within Quality and EHS for Gas Power.

Pierluigi Petrali

Pierluigi Petrali has been working Whirlpool Europe since 1989. He started his career in Information Technology, working at introduction in Whirlpool of CIM, MES and Fault Tolerant Networks. He has then worked in innovation projects, contributing to the spread and growth of TRIZ methodology in Italy and Europe and to the development of product/process design support approaches. Presently he coordinates manufacturing research and development activities for EMEA region. Directly involved as technical and main partner in more than 10 funded research projects under FP7 and H2020 program in the last five years, he’s currently working in definition and implementation of Whirlpool Industry 4.0 strategy. He’s the inventor of five patents and author several technical papers and public speech on TRIZ, Technology Forecasting, Manufacturing Quality, Internet of Things and Industry 4.0.

Henrik Fransson

Henrik Fransson is a Swedish manager with an aeronautics and computer science background working for Airbus in Hamburg, where he has held various management positions. He is passionate about finding new ways of working and influencing the lives of others by making their daily life easier.

“Use my data to serve me, do it wisely and with care”

Bjoern Neal Kirchner

Bjoern Neal Kirchner, a graduated economist from Munich and London universities, has almost 20 years’ experience in logistics and supply chain management at senior level. Shifting twice between China and Europe, he has worked in 5 countries moving along the entire supply chain. He gained experience in emerging markets and led teams through challenging SAP-implementations and post-merger integration projects. With the focus on building high performance teams, Bjoern has been engaged in various business process optimization and organizational transformation projects. Currently, he is leading the Global Supply Chain team in Amsterdam for Adhesive Technologies of HENKEL.

Stefan Schrauf

Dynamic, self motivated and results-oriented cross-cultural team player with a proven track record of digital operations and supply chain strategy, excellence and transformations across several industries including industrial products, automotive, consumer goods and chemicals.

Dr. Stefan Kluge

• Education: Chemistry, Information Technology, General and Environmental Law, Toxicology

• Companies: DASA, General Electric Capital/ BMW, Siemens, Infineon, Intel

• Functions: R&D, Systems Engineering, Factory Automation, Strategic Planning, Manufacturing Strategy, Business Planning, Outsourcing Strategy, Supplier Development, External Manufacturing Management

• Currently: Sr. Director Operations & Systems Enabling, Corporate Planning Group, Intel

Toni Sirviö

Mr. Toni Sirviö has been working at Konecranes Plc. since 2005 with various responsibilities within Sales development, Commercial Excellence and Supply Chain Management including Project Management, Global Order Management, Pricing, Planning and ERP Tool process and conceptual development/deployment. Mr. Sirviö has also been working in the Commercial Excellence program as a project director for the sales lead
development process.

Håvard Jörgensen

Håvard Jörgensen is in his role as VP Group Supply chain in Electrolux, leading the work on the strategic direction and plans for the Electrolux supply chain. Specific focus on SC Resilience, digital development, E2E SC integration, SC Sustainability, processes and capabilities. He has +20 years of experience within Supply Chain and Operations from various leadership roles in Procter & Gamble, Arla Foods and Coca-Cola European Partners.

Sean Garoghan

An experienced and results orientated Sustainability and Compliance senior manager with a background of 10 years working within the service and energy sector with strong leadership and people management skills and specialising in Sustainability and Compliance. A professional buyer with a wealth of experience in stakeholder management and developing supplier compliance frameworks. Pro-efficiently experienced in various procurement and supplier systems such as; ORACLE 11i & R12, SAP, Proactis and Avetta. Experienced within all Microsoft and Google packages, highly proficient in Excel and highly experienced in data analysis and commercial intelligence with extensive knowledge within OHSAS and ISO audits and accreditation's and CDM regulations.

Vera Bartsch

Vera Bartsch is the Sustainability Manager for UPM Raflatac’s EMEIA region. She leads the self-adhesive label company’s sustainability efforts in the market. Vera’s activities include providing expert sustainability consultancy for sales, stakeholder and partnership development, management of eco-design, life cycle assessment with UPM Raflatac’s Label Life tool, recycling of label waste through the company’s RafCycle program as well as sustainability marketing and communications.

Vera has a background in sales of label material with regards to sustainability in Central Europe, working with both label printers and brand owners. She coordinates the cooperation with other UPM business units for UPM Raflatac and has worked on several international projects for the development of UPM Raflatac.

Rebekah Bell

Rebekah currently serves as the Work Management & Planning Manager for Southern Company’s Fleet Performance & Reliability organization. Rebekah was the leader in the integration and implementation of CiM Visual Planner for daily work scheduling and has spent the last seven years of her career as a subject matter expert on work management, maintenance strategy, and process improvement across the Southern Company fossil, hydro, and renewables fleet.
Rebekah began her career with Southern Company in 2006, and over the last 16 years Rebekah has served in a variety of maintenance roles, including experience additionally in contractor relations, fleet outage optimization, and reporting and analytics.


Rebekah holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of South Alabama and a Master of Engineering in Construction Engineering Management from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is the proud mother of Kimberly Grace, 17.

Harald Kirsch

Dynamic, entrepreneurial business strategist with over 30 years of professional experience in organizational and business development in the segments of Digital Transformation, IIoT, Artificial Intelligence, Cyber Security, automation of enterprise processes, sales of innovative SW solutions and services, portfolio management, consulting, system integration services, outsourcing as well as business transformation, change management, product management and product development.

Jean Charbonneau

Mr. Jean Charbonneau is a renowned worldwide speaker with over 30 years of experience in asset reliability and a leading influencer on the best methods for asset intensive organizations to achieve maintenance excellence. He founded the Maintenance Excellence Group in 1997, putting together a team of asset reliability experts to assist organizations with maximizing their production output while minimizing asset maintenance costs. MEG’s flagship solution, the Visual Planner Digital Platform, is used by over 10,000 maintenance professionals from all industrial sectors worldwide, allowing them to execute the right maintenance, at the right time, at the lowest costs.

Rachel Cooke

I am a technical leader with over 15 years of experience in global operations in food and drink and logistics. I have held a range of supply chain roles including engineering, manufacturing, purchasing and project management.

I currently lead Reliability Engineering for Amazon Europe, which includes robotics, reliability programs, learning and information services, predictive analytics (machine learning), computerized maintenance management systems, new technology introduction and new site launches. Previously, I was Head of Central Programs and Capability for Amazon Engineering Services Europe, where I led several teams that supported the growth of Amazon's warehousing capacity. Prior to this I was responsible for manufacturing performance measurement and operational excellence for SABMiller (FTSE-10), who were the world’s second largest brewer by volume with over 100 operations worldwide in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the USA. Before this I led a team delivering a portfolio of product change initiatives from project initiation through to implementation and launch at Cadbury. I have spent three years living in Poland, where I worked on the design, construction and commissioning of two new-build confectionery factories.