People are the core of after-sales service organizations, making up the workforce that keeps engines running and processes improving. And, despite a natural resistance to change during the evolution of any business, it’s crucial for everyone in the organization to buy into the value of evolving with the industry. Manufacturing as we know it is shifting to a more service-driven way of doing business, and organizational resources and talent management processes are predicted to be some of the key drivers in the survival of this shift for OEMs.

But, even though now is the time to start the transformation toward servitization, maturing from a break-fix mentality to one that focuses on maximized uptime and ‘service-as-a-product’ doesn’t happen overnight. Advancements like data and automation may have initially been introduced as a way to streamline the workforce, but, it’s more important than ever to empower the actual people who will carry their companies into the future.

That’s why we sat down with academics, customers and industry leaders to learn who in the workforce is most poised to help transform businesses for our newest Orange Paper, 2019 After-sales Service Predictions: Powering The Journey To Servitization Through Maximized Product Uptime.

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“Process has to be driven by people,” says Nate Chenenko, Manager at Carlisle & Company, “and, without process, you can’t use technology. Organizational alignment is more important than ever; you have to start somewhere to make sure you have some data, but you also don’t need to roll out the entire program all at once. There are small moves that your team can make to be more prepared.”

So, during this evolution, where should manufacturers start? Below are three people most poised for service transformation in the organization, according to our respondents:

1. The Research and Development Leader

“The research and development side of the organization is moving into a trend of sustainability. Maintenance isn’t the only thing you can guarantee, anymore; you can minimize impact, waste, and, ultimately, your footprint of pollution. By working closely with R&D, you can build more sustainable equipment through things like recycling and refurbishing. Accountability and traceability are the keys to sustainability, and, we need to be ready to be accountable to the process.” – Carlo Alberto Carnevale Maffè, Professor of Strategy at Bocconi University

2. The Service Technician

“The service technician’s job complexity is going up because the complexity of machines is rising. I like vintage cars, and there was a point in time when it could be a simple weekend hobby. But now, you’re seeing less and less of that because the cars are more complex and there’s computer autonomy within the cars – 20 to 30 million lines of code are in your car on average. The need to take that car to a trained technician is paramount, and by increasing scope capacity and training of service technicians, you improve service levels.” – Kurt Ranka, Principle Director at Accenture

3. The C-Level Executive

“Because there are so many parties involved [in the entire after-sales service ecosystem], there isn’t just one area most poised, but instead needs to be a full team developing processes to make the whole thing work better. Chief Executive Officers have that kind of control, because without them on board, it would be hard to get everybody else on board. But, the whole point of servitization is to expand yourself up through the value chain, which means more people and more processes and systems. Good change management does not have a start or end point.” – Nate Chenenko, Manager at Carlisle & Company

But, while these three people are key change agents in any organization, there are still going to be some challenges and opportunities that come along with this process when it comes to change adoption across the workforce.

“The ecosystem of people that provide technology, processes and service is expanding at an increasing rate,” admits Ranka. “That makes it even harder to make a big change to an organization, like pricing, forecasting, etc. Once you’re bringing in new technology and new thinking – job security becomes a panic. The case for making these changes is becoming more of an uphill battle because you have to explain why organizations need to make these changes and how to adopt those changes in the workforce.”

So, the key to change management success during this shift is simple: “It’s about abandoning old attitudes,” says Ranka, “being open to new ideas that are out there from a technology standpoint. It’s asking, ‘How do I sort through this big complex maze and pick the ones that are going to benefit my business?’ After-sales service is already profitable as-is – which can be a barrier to change – but, it’s more important than ever that we change the way we do business.”

In the coming year, manufacturers will reckon with the need to assess all areas of their organizations to ensure that each function is fully prepared to make the shift to servitization and maximized product uptime. That’s why it’s crucial to create proactive plans to put the right resources in place to address any deficiencies up front. And, by starting with these three people, OEMs will be off to a solid start.

Download our new Orange Paper to learn more about what these thought leaders predict will be major manufacturing trends in 2019 and beyond, and what resources and technologies will be needed to win.