Quality of work and productivity of the field technician at the client site influence customer satisfaction and profitability – the two tenets of a great business.
Service can be defined as “all actions that have the objective of retaining or restoring an item to a state in which it can perform its required function.” In today’s competitive world, operational efficiency, asset ROI, and safety considerations demand focus from manufacturers to ensure that their product is functional and utilized to its potential.
The aftersales services division ensures operational efficiency of the assets by performing preventive, routine and break-fix maintenance activities. For complex products, maintenance is as challenging as product development because both require high precision. In most cases, instructions are available as text-based procedures or manuals, which in turn demand skilled technicians who understand the sequence of activities. leave much room for improvement, especially in the case of complex products.
Challenges with the traditional way of organizing Field Services
- Text-based, complex maintenance procedures are difficult to interpret for inexperienced technicians.
- Translations of maintenance procedures are often misinterpreted.
- Novices train hands-on with real equipment leading to longer downtime.
- With a short product lifecycle come more frequent design changes. This demands more frequent updates to technical publications. A programming-based development approach would be financially unviable and time-consuming.
- The product design is completely disconnected from the service view.
Technology as an enabler
With ubiquitous connectivity and millennials joining the field force, organizations are exploring viable use cases for adopting new-age technologies for their field service business. Many have adopted mobile technology to assist field technicians and move towards paperless operations. They access work order- and equipment-related information through mobile devices. Few organizations have pushed beyond the obvious digital choices to explore more complex implementations using AR and VR.
Based on Capgemini’s research, one aerospace company explored new technologies to adapt existing virtual reality program to meet the needs of their operations engineers. They were seeking more from the validation activities in aircraft maintenance. For many years, the OEM offered a full-scale, immersive experience based on the aircraft’s digital mock-upcreated using camera’s and sensors set up on the body. With VR technology, the OEM has created a portable kit that includes a virtual reality mask, touchpads, and two infrared cameras, allowing users to work in a similar immersive environment without leaving their desks.
Similarly, technicians at an automotive organization are using AR glasses to project step-by-step bulletins and schematic drawings across the line of vision while allowing remote experts to see what the technician sees and provide feedback.
What comes next?
At Capgemini, we help our clients explore integrated solutions for their maintenance operations. Our NextGen Maintenance Platform digitizes the maintenance, repair and operations activities using cutting-edge technologies for smart authoring, advanced planning and simulation, AR/VR, AI, and model-based V&V.