In the next Executive Briefing within this series, we will be looking more firmly at what the new normal of tomorrow that we are all collectively building today will look like. However, as we bring the first part of reporting from this intense and insightful discussion to an end lets look to some of the early glimpses of what that new normal may be built upon...
In a recent iteration of the Field Service News Think Tank series, the conversation was perhaps understandably dominated by the sheer magnitude of the impact of the pandemic on the field service sector.
“It’s just now sitting there looking at the business not just in Europe or the print industry but across the world and all industry’s that support customers on site equipment are having similar discussions to this Think Tank internally," commented Ged Cranny of Konica Minolta as the group shared their thoughts.
“In the print industry, we were expecting print revenues to be eroded over the next three to five years, not disappear, entirely, but to tail away from the high levels of growth in the past decade that we’ve we’ve seen over the last seven, eight years. This has accelerated, and we’re now talking in months rather than years. So we’ve got some significant challenges coming," Cranny added.
"The reality is we’ve created a golf bag of tools, but we didn’t link internally when we should be using what tool where..."
- Ged Cranny, Konica Minolta
However, as we have seen across the last few months, we have also seen a world adapt and industry has been at the heart of innovation, not least the field service sector which has seen companies, pivot, adapt and adjust. In truth, we have been fortunate as many of the tools required for our survival were there, ready and waiting for us. We just hadn't necessarily begun to use them correctly as yet.
“One of the things that Covid-19 has taught me is as much as the tools I put in front of people, and everybody told me these tools would work," Cranny added. "The reality is we’ve created a golf bag of tools, but we didn’t link internally when we should be using what tool where.
“To use a golfing analogy, we were using a putter off the tee and a driver on the green. We are now finding that were using the wrong tools, or people had a tool that they liked, and they were able to use that tool to get enough done that it kept them under the radar, are people out to chill at the lake, and they got enough that kept them under the radar.
“So, it’s not just about technology. It’s about changing attitudes. It’s about talking to technicians and saying we’re not stealing your jobs - we’re finding ways to make you more efficient and effective in your jobs and to give you a better work-life balance.”
Indeed, despite facing the worst global crisis of a generation, there is still something of a gritted, determined optimism that business, will find a way.
As Tony Chapman, General Manager Customer Services, Siemens commented, “I think there are going to be two clear stages throughout the year. The recovery side of that which we’ve discussed so far, I think the businesses will find a way to recover.
“So I think we’re in recovery mode, we’ll deal with things that as they come along. The business landscape is dramatically changing, and how governments change their position will further affect business. Still, we’ll continue to find means to deal with that as we have done so far and build towards an economic recovery.”
"I believe going into the future the companies that will succeed are the ones that take a much more innovative approach, the ones that focus on speed and the ones who focus on doing things in a different way..."
- Rajat Kakar, IBM
For, IBM's Rajat Kakar, it is the innovation that we have seen come to the fore in many instances that will continue to be the key ingredient amongst field service organisations that are on the path to flourish oin adversity.
“I believe going into the future the companies that will succeed are the ones that take a much more innovative approach, the ones that focus on speed and the ones who focus on doing things in a different way. It doesn’t have to be 100% perfect, but it does need to be fast and effective. This is one of the biggest lessons learned out of COVID-19.
“The companies who were able to adapt, the ones who pivoted, the companies who re-defined their environment - how they were behaving - these are the ones that came out stronger. That’s where I believe where the new norm is heading,” Kakar added.
“Things are happening as they happen at the moment as we absolutely need to make sure that we are flexible and adaptive," concurred Jan van Veen, Managing Director, More Momentum,
“It is also crucial that we develop multiple scenarios so we are still able to plan ahead - I think that’s also a strong message.
"You have to know what to plan for and maybe that’s our two or three different scenarios..."
- Jan van Veen, MoreMomentum
“You have to know what to plan for and maybe that’s our two or three different scenarios. But make sure that you have them at hand and then whatever happens will hit you a bit less hard in the next year or so. I don’t have a crystal ball in terms of whether remote will become a default service approach for example, I think that really depends on on your industry, your clients and your value proposition. But for sure remote will be a more important factor moving forward,” Van Veen added.
The one fundamental thing it seems that we must all consider now is that however we approach the recovery - we are going to be hurled into a very, very service centric economy.
It is a simple matter of economics, the cash-flows simply will not exist for a long time for anything other than a service-driven economy and there are clear precedents for this.
The question is are we as service providers ready to handle that shift and can we harness it to drive forward the concepts of servitization and advanced services that we, as an industry have been discussing for so long?
All members of the Field Service Think Tanks are speaking from their own personal opinions which are not necessarily reflective of the organisations they work for.
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