It’s been a great week here at Field Service USA 2017, live blogging and recapping some of the week’s best performance workshops, interactive working groups, and content sessions throughout the event.

Yesterday, we heard from Sarah O’Brien of Sears Holding Corporation on leading change and business transformation in field service, Mark Bloom of Salesforce on delivering conversational field service to elevate the customer experience, and then Terry Diaferio and Joseph Molesky of the Tennant Company on what it takes to set the vision and strategy within your organization to turn service into a growth engine.

The speakers today have been just as passionate and informative, inspiring us to find the best tools in field service support and customer experience to enhance our organizations. This afternoon, Frank Bibens, President of Global Services at Vertiv, joined Syncron CMO Gary Brooks on stage for a fireside chat to dive deeper into how service plays into competitive tactics to macro-level business trends.

Take a look at the Q&A below between Brooks and Bibens as they discussed service as a strategic growth driver and revenue lever:

An increasing number of forward-thinking companies like Vertiv view service as a strategic growth driver and source of competitive differentiation. Why is service becoming so strategic to manufacturers?

Bibens: For one, it makes up a huge part of revenue. It’s huge. When we look at economic downturns, service really helps to calm the tide. We’ve never had a year that we didn’t organically grow our service. Simply put: service is an easy place for us to make some cash. It’s not only profitable, but a very strategic part of the business, as well. Lastly, it’s customer experience that service can provide over the entire lifecycle.

Service is definitely a hidden profit lever – but is it giving your business a competitive advantage?

Bibens: Yes — when the PE that purchased Vertiv, they surveyed our customer base and found that our service organization was the best in the business. They really viewed service as a strategic offering.

It seems there a fraction of companies that use service as a growth driver, and then there’s a group that is lagging. Why do some manufacturers cling to the past and ignore the need to adapt, and change operating models to embrace the service opportunity?

Bibens: The operating model for a manufacturing environment is different than a service environment. It’s high capital, low single digit returns on capital.  It’s’ a different model – it’s difficult for manufacturing organizations to recognize those differences. It’s important to understand that you need to create a separate profit and loss center. It’s definitely a different way to do business.

Field Service has undergone a tremendous transformation over the past decade and will likely accelerate over the next decade. When you look into your crystal ball, what do you see for the future of service for Vertiv?

Bibens: I think that it will be an ongoing process. We’re really hyping predictive diagnostics – in fact, today they are launching different systems and are making great strides in developing the technology and computing power that’s available today.

Technology is flying at us and we’re always looking to develop our own technology and create our own to improve the customer experience in today’s digital world. I’m excited about the way technology is changing and in the coming year’s we’re really going to see some changes in the way that we deliver services.

Stay with us as we continue our coverage of the content from Field Service USA, and make sure to follow us in the app and on social to get the full event experience!