Field Service Medical 2023 Recap: Key Takeaways From Syncron

Last month, Syncron attended and sponsored Field Service Medical 2023 in San Diego, a conference for leaders in medical technology customer success, service and support. As the only interactive, peer-led conference for senior service and support leaders in the medical technology industry, it was a great opportunity to hear what’s top of mind for service leaders, what challenges they’re facing and what insights they have about the future of the industry.

We found these leaders are focused on aligning service organizations with growing customer expectations and the integration of next-generation service. They see the benefits of leveraging advanced technology and are interested in creating a roadmap to scale up and commercialize new service offerings.

Servitization, data transformation and sustainability

The two-day conference kicked off with a keynote presentation from Chetan Makam, senior vice president and general manager, global blood solutions at Terumo BCT. Makam’s keynote, “Bigger, Better, Stronger – How Our Service Organization Became Its Own Product!” focused on how service organizations are making the transition to becoming a product. As more businesses become commoditized, the need to differentiate through the services they provide is critical to success and many times more valuable.

Later in the morning, there was a panel discussion, “How Centralizing and Connecting Your Product Can Help Your Service Organization Maximize Profitability,” hosted by John Liebig, head of global customer service and quality management at BD, and Salvador Accardo, vice president of services, power conversion at ABB. The discussion delved into the journey of moving a service organization from reactive to proactive—and even further to conditional and predictive service models as outcome-based service offerings get commercialized—emphasizing that IoT plays a critical role in the future of service. Follow-up discussions focused on challenges with equipment-as-a service offerings and the need to understand this is fundamentally a new way of doing business versus just the evolution of service. The panel also explored the role data plays in this journey. Although data is critical to connecting assets in the field, an overload can hurt your organization. It’s better to be prescriptive about what you want to track and connect and understand the value it brings to your service organization and end customer.

The first half of the morning wrapped up with an interactive case study from Jeff DiLullo, SVP, head of service and solutions delivery and field operations at Philips North America. His actionable insights illustrated how service organizations can practice sustainability by minimizing their carbon footprints while simultaneously increasing profitability.

With a focus on service growth, DiLullo’s forward-looking session explored how service organizations can plan for growth, how they can develop and commercialize new offerings, and ways to bring them to the market.

Moving beyond traditional service offerings with workforce enablement

Throughout the rest of the morning, participants broke off into various deep-dive tracks, including “Commercializing Service Beyond Traditional Offerings,” during which Syncron presented. Our interactive workshop focused on enabling the workforce as new service offerings are brought to the market. Some of the topics included:

  • Does the workforce understand why these offerings are valuable to the business and the customer?
  • How do we train and develop soft skills to help technicians and engineers develop better relationships with their customers?
  • Is a technician or engineer really the best salesperson?

Third-party contractors and a hybrid workforce as a new path forward

This year it was interesting to see a mix of technology and workforce vendors sponsoring and supporting the show. Service organizations are still working through workforce challenges and attracting new talented professionals to a business is no easy task. Many booths featured organizations that offered technician forces as third-party contractors. There seems to be a shift in how medical technology companies are operating, and many are opting to hire these contractors to do field work on their behalf.

In exploring this idea with other service leaders, they expressed that this concept wouldn’t have worked at their organizations several years ago because of the risk involved. However, the thinking seems to have evolved. Service organizations see the benefit of a hybrid workforce with some internal employees as well as partnering with third-party companies as an extension of their field teams.

There are great solutions on the market today to help enable your workforce. Many medical technology companies have made considerable investments in field service solutions and now they are exploring different platforms to help them bring new service models to the market.

At the Syncron booth, we noticed interest in our technician enablement and pricing solutions, which makes sense when you consider these trends. Shifting to a value-based pricing strategy is critical when selling outcomes.

Lot’s more to consider as the medical technology industry explores new ways of supporting the future of service. It’s clear there is a focus on growth and continuing to develop value added partnerships with customers.