Here is a brief overview of the Service Community Event which was held this month at the Cambridge University and hosted by the Cambridge Service Alliance which is part of the Institute of Manufacturing.

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Service Community at Cambridge

Many thanks the Cambridge Service Alliance for hosting the Service Community event on the 19thApril, where just under 40 service professionals shared their experiences on a wide range of service topics.

In the morning Dr Dr Florian Urmetzer  ran an insightful workshop on ‘Service transformation and ecosystem mapping’. He spoke about that fact that companies themselves are less mission critical and increasingly it is partnerships and ecosystems that deliver long term value. In particular ecosystem thinking which enables companies to create and deliver more value than they can do individually. One of the key learnings to come out of the workshop was that by looking at the ecosystem of actors in the industry chain, it is possible to develop innovative ideas on service propositions and risk reduction.

The main event proved to be equally insightful.

Our host Dr Mohamed Zaki , CSA Deputy Director, spoke about Impact of Big Data and Machine Learning technologies on developing Customer Experience in manufacturing companies. We discussed how the simple use of quantative measures developed by tools such as Net Promoter Scores or Customer Satisfcation Survey can be misleading when trying to understand customer loyalty. In fact to gain a truer reflection of a customers feelings, it is important to analyse qualative data such as the comments from these tools, twitter feeds, email correspondance etc. Machine Learning is proving to be a good technology to identify the patterns that tell us that Customer Friction is being developed, especially where there is a reasonable volume of data. With digital technologies come more touch points to be monitored and understood.

Ashley Weller, UK Service Director at Mars Drinks then spoke about his personal journey in developing a Trusted Advisor Culture. He identified three key themes:

  1. The Why: People have to understand why the change is beng made and how it aligns withthe business goals as well as their personal goals. He talked about the importance of recognition for the service business, and creating an environmnet where employees are encouraged to take risk and try out new ideas.
  2. Shrink the Change: Bring it down to a personal level, let go of the past and focus on the future . Especially how to create mutual benefits. His was not an overnight programme, but was spanned 3-4 years. To make it more manageable he planned Sprint Projects with very specific objectives and deliverables, so that the team could feel success.
  3. Continuous improvement: we talked a lot about reward and recognition for achieving goals, focusing more on teams than the individual acheivements. That in terms of the population there are laggards that will not make the change and have to be managed out of the business. So his focus was mainly the fence sitters and to move them to be Supporters of his programme.

The Digtal Manufacturing manufacturing tour looked at some of the work the IfM are doing especially in the area of Virtual Reality technologies. Professor Duncan McFarlane explained how the IfM are identifying the Digital Support Systems that address the manufacturing challenges around the areas of Productivity, Sustainabiity and Resilience, Distribution and new data enables services.

Adil Kabel: Technical Support Manager, at Fuji Film then spoke about personal experiences of piloting Augmented Reality solutions in two service regions in France and the UK.

The 1st pilot was with a glasses solution, which found they were surprisingly easy to use and allow both hands to be free. But there is an element of digital fatigue(after 15mins technicians are pretty tired) and to equip each engineer can be expensive. In the following discussion, other practioners with experiences of virtual reality said they limited the solution to expert users only and used them in very specific scenario’s where there was significant benefits. However the key inhibitor was probably On-Site Connectivity.

A 2nd pilot using a smart phone was shown to be a better solution, with less fatigue and more practical as all technicians already have a smart phone. But again the biggest draw back was the site connectivity and dealing with customer security concerns.

In conclusion while there are definite benefits, the connectivity concerns nee to be addressed in order to maximise the value of the solution.

Stephen Darkes Snr Process Analyst – Global Systems Remote Support at Oracle gave the last presentation of the event, with a discussion around the Benefits and Challenges of Self Service models. The majority of industrial companies are just really starting to move down the path of self service, it was fascinating to hear how an industry leader has made self service a core part of its Support Strategy. He broke self service down into 3 activities:

  1. Knowledge Self Service: Customers need fast and effective solutions. This knowledge base provides pre-defined solutions that help customers to pre-discover problems. Knowledge Capture is a core process which involves creating the solutions, and then keeping them up todate!
  2. Community Self Service: product -specific forums allow customers to ask questions and start discussions. They must be persistent, searchable, social and collaborative in order to suceed. Often gamifications through ‘points’ brings an element of engagement to the process
  3. Part-Installation Self Service: More recently Oracle has developed a deep strategy around Customer Replaceable Units. This strategy has been carefully thought out and benefits both customers and Oracle. Customers in that they choose when to make the installation making their life simpler. For Oracle it eliminates the need for a field visit