Efficiency through digital transformation of your service organization

Efficiency through digital transformation of your service organization

, November 13, 2019

Comprehensive digitization by the use of IoT, data intelligence and Machine Learning is necessary to remain relevant to customers as a service and maintenance organization and to realize efficiency. Enough reason for Yokogawa to take an active part during the Heliview annual conference SMART Service & Maintenance.  The aim was to help participants to transform their service and maintenance strategies. After all, being ‘connected’ offers opportunities such as increasing your discernment by offering new added value. Did you miss this event? Don’t worry. In this blog, you will find a report of the 3-hour (!) masterclass during this inspiring day where my colleague Joris van den Burg was one of the moderators.

Masterclass: How do you develop new service business models?

New service business models are crucial to be successful in markets where customers expect more and more performance requirements and digitization from their suppliers. This year’s breakout program of the conference, therefore, focused on the development of these models.

Next level service & maintenance

During the first session of the master class, Jan van Veen (author and managing director of consultancy and training agency moreMomentum) told us that we can no longer ignore digitization. Nowadays, processes are optimized on a per-minute basis. Startups that are good at big data and algorithms form new competition for the more traditional, often more inflexible companies. It is therefore important that you remain of added value for a customer, for which he cites Caterpillar as an example. Caterpillar goes beyond predictive maintenance with sensors, data, and algorithms. For example, they help their customers make their processes more effective and efficient through better project planning, better use of the right equipment at the right time, reduced fuel consumption. So it’s increasingly about adding value to customers’ processes, not just the maximum availability and condition of your installed base.

In search of the optimal service business model

A sample of the participants showed that everyone is on their way to a ‘product as a service’. To achieve this, you must first look for the optimal service business model to take the customer by the hand. And to map out the different wishes. Research shows that almost half of a customer’s expectations are immaterial. This means that knowledge, relief, and cooperation are just as important as the supply of machines. But how can you make your customers smarter, without destroying your own business model? When a factory transforms into a smart factory, there is a lack of knowledge about the complex, underlying technology of that user-friendly dashboard. Outsourcing is one of the usual options. An important challenge here is to gain good insights into the challenges of your customers, which pain points they experience and where they need support.

Creating strategic support and space for service innovation

In the second presentation, manager and agile coach Joris discusses his experiences at Yokogawa, the provider of innovative, industrial automation solutions that give plant managers more control and improve the productivity, efficiency, and sustainability of their plant. Especially the latter is a challenge in our not always clean industry. Yet it is high on the agenda at Yokogawa and its customers.

How do you initiate the digital transition?

First, the ‘burning platform’ must be identified. Then you set out a clear vision (the ‘why’) after which you start working on leadership, empowerment of the organization, a focus on motivation and communication. Joris has chosen for a pilot with 3 squads. These teams work with an agile method on new business models around themes such as energy transition, smart sensors and the prevention of barn fires. In practice, you create a framework for creativity, speed, and space. It was, however, an iterative process. So accept that not everything succeeds.

Leadership is necessary and short term results. What struck him afterward was that the roll-out of the squads 1-on-1 was in line with the traditional change model!

Adopt new service after a successful startup phase

Imagine that a squad is a speedboat and the organization is a supertanker. How do you integrate such a speedboat in your mother ship without it going to swim? By setting up the speedboat alongside your existing business operations and then slowly integrating it and giving you plenty of time to scale up. And by first testing it in the market with one customer and then rolling it out, using the customer’s knowledge to improve the products/services. Overall, internal and external communication about the course is therefore essential. And something doesn’t work? Dare to say no. Dare to fail. Then stop on time or change your course.

A shared vision: Develop pro-active maintenance with infrastructure

In the third presentation, Marco Vos, Service IoT Project Manager and coach, discusses IoT pilots of Marel (a global provider of advanced processing systems and services for the poultry, meat and fish industry) with a focus on task-based and real-time data for predictive maintenance.

How do you put a new concept on the market in such a way that it generates extra income?

In the food industry, the market is very diverse: From conservative to progressive. Many customers have the daily operations well under control so there is no immediate need to transform into a smart factory in the short term. One of the forward-thinking customers was approached to take on the IoT together and investigate the impact within the industry. It is also a challenge for Marel to embrace this new digital world. Because digital services were added to the traditional way of providing service, which has a direct impact on today’s business. That is why they have developed new service processes and generate turnover from them in a different way.

How do you ensure that new services are effective?

By linking the pilot to performance – more operating hours and a guaranteed return – and a bit of anxiety reduction, there was a customer for whom the IoT could be implemented. A special feature of this pilot was that the data worked as a mirror for them and these new insights were sometimes experienced as confrontational. Despite the fact that the data they wanted to collect had been agreed in advance. This involved a bit of guidance, whereby you include the customer in real-time data-driven process analysis and help him to interpret the data correctly and use it to further optimize his process. This is possible by keeping the pilot’s small and involving the customer in all aspects from the start.

Experiences from practice

I found it an exciting master class in which various experience experts shared their practical experiences with the directly applicable technologies that are available. Their best practices showed what successful steps they have already taken and what obstacles they have overcome.


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