SAP Field Service Management enables companies to manage their field service activities in a holistic and intelligent way. This results in more efficient service on the ground and far greater customer satisfaction. The Swisscom experts Reto Hildbrand and Hanspeter Groth explain the background.
Text: Andreas Kunkel,
Hello Mr Hildbrand, hello Mr Groth, there is frequent annoyance – not only in Switzerland – with service personnel who have the wrong tool, the wrong instructions or none of the appropriate spare parts with them.
Digitalisation is providing us with good opportunities to put an end to such negative experiences. Tools like SAP Field Service Management mean that field service personnel and customers are better informed and service is coordinated efficiently. The processes are becoming far more service-oriented and cost-efficient.
SAP Field Service Management supports every company in Switzerland that offers maintenance and repair services for more complex products and wants to strengthen customer loyalty. The motivations for this include avoiding the situations you mentioned and strengthening customer loyalty. Studies carried out by Bain & Company have shown that increasing customer retention by only five percent can lead to an increase in profits of up to 95 percent.
Two personal examples: My dishwasher had broken down shortly before the holidays. On-site service and repair were so unreliable that next time I am going to buy a different brand. But when I had a service technician in my home some time ago in connection with another matter, he was able to print out a work order and invoice straight away. That was transparent and – as he told me – also ideal for his company, because completed work and the invoice become a single unit and the number of complaints is thus reduced.
SAP Field Service Management represents the current status, which can then be called up at any time from anywhere!
Correct. All key data for field service is available in real time and clearly presented graphically. All those overseeing operations receive a comprehensive overview of customers, products and service personnel. This way, they can guarantee that the technician in the field has all the relevant information and the right materials at their disposal at the right time. This knowledge management creates more certainty for the company.
The customers benefit too, because they can be provided with self-service solutions as a first step. For example, customers can use instructions that have been prepared so that they are easy to understand, have been adapted for the relevant piece of equipment and can be easily retrieved. A technician does not need to come unless and until a deeper level of understanding is required. And then I can request preferred dates and track their inbound journey.
Added to this are real-time analyses that can support planning over the long term.
Think of service agreements that are expected to be fulfilled on a regular basis – without a lack of resources rearing its head in an emergency. Or intelligent prioritisation in dispatching. Thanks to a wide variety of optimisation algorithms, distances travelled and therefore travel times can be improved and customers can be grouped and looked after more economically.
SAP Field Service Management can be combined with analytics or with artificial intelligence. In the supply industry, for example, this would be done to predict the life cycle for spare parts, plan maintenance with foresight or coordinate routes efficiently.
There are also tools from other manufacturers that are similarly powerful.
Viewed in isolation, that is correct. But then they generally work in conjunction with different system landscapes. So the various systems need to be integrated. And that can become complex very quickly. Especially if the service technician needs an all-encompassing overview of the customer, their individual products and the total life cycle of these products. A very large number of customers in Switzerland use SAP. Therefore, also using SAP Field Service Management gives them the great advantage of getting everything from a single source and being able to utilize comprehensive end-to-end processes as a result.
What are the particular credentials of Swisscom when it comes to offering implementation, adaptation and training for SAP Field Service Management?
What I hear from our customers: In addition to our experience and the strength of our team, it is the fact that we provide extensive advice and carry out the implementation. In an area like field services in particular, the use of the tool is fundamental because it acts as an intermediary between field sales and other IT systems to coordinate, analyse and predict.
The practical experience of Swisscom in dealing with SAP Field Service Management is also important. For example, we recently introduced the tool at a client. That will not only improve the coordination of hundreds of employees in field service considerably but also provide us with further experience with special functions.
In your view, which preconditions are fundamental for efficiently exploiting the benefits of SAP Field Service Management?
With SAP Field Service Management, the obstacles are relatively minor – also with regard to the size of the company. Of course, the greatest benefits are derived when the tool is incorporated in the ‘back-end’ processes, preferably in SAP systems such as SAP R/3 or SAP S/4HANA.
To enable companies to differentiate themselves strategically with the aid of SAP Field Service Management, a corresponding culture is important. The employees should not only want to accept the system but also take pleasure in using the functions. Training and a culture of trust also become more important because field service takes on more individual responsibility for service reports and invoices, for example …
But the implementation of SAP Field Service Management can only be a part of change management. That is why it is not the sole focus of our work. Instead, our task is to provide companies with comprehensive support and successfully advance their transformation at all levels step by step.
Head of SAP Industries
More on the topic: