Why is Technical Documentation Critical for Field Service?
Here is evidence from The Aberdeen Group that the shift to field service and documentation is happening. Revenue growth is focused on improved service delivery with the top goals for “best in class” companies:
- Improve customer retention/loyalty/satisfaction = 58%
- Improve service-related profitability = 54%
- Improve quality/relevance of service data = 53%
- Improve service information capabilities = 38%
- Expand the breadth and complexity of service offerings = 32%
- Improve service workforce training = 31%
- Drive/compensate field upselling = 20%
- Boost service workforce engagement = 17%
Field service is directly impacted by the accuracy and quality of technical information – no matter how it is delivered – as such, technical documentation is directly tied to C-level goals.
The causes of ineffective service from the same Aberdeen Group study show the cost of bad or missing information:
- Part(s) unavailable = 29%
- Customer/asset not available for service = 28%
- Improper diagnosis = 19%
- Technician did not have the right skills = 15%
- Resolution was temporary = 8%
IoT fixes some of these challenges while technical documentation fixes the rest with mobile access, augmented reality (AR), and preventive maintenance as a service (PMaaS).
How important is proper technical documentation?
- “25%-50% of a field service engineer’s time is used in finding and understanding maintenance tasks. ” Deloitte, “The Service Revolution in Global Manufacturing Industries”
- “40% of failed service visits of a capital goods manufacturer’s service network were caused by lack of information.” Lehtonen, T. Ala-Risku and J. Holmström, “Enhancing field-service delivery: the role of information”
Proper technical documentation helps solve the following problems:
- Work is becoming more complex. Technical documents help to clarify the complexity.
- Information is becoming more complex. Technical documents explain the information in a way field service technicians can understand and if field service technicians have suggestions on how to improve the technical documents, they can be updated quickly.
- New markets and geographically-dispersed service centers. Consistent, and accurate translations based on Simplified Technical English (STE) ensure all service centers are receiving the same information.
- Less experienced workforce with varied levels of technical skills. Technical documentation can be as detailed as necessary based on the service technician’s level of expertise. We work with clients to identify opportunities to drill deeper in a subject.
- Increasing number non-native English speakers and writers. Again, consistent translations based on STE will address this concern.
While IoT data enhances service in several ways:
- Create new service offerings = 54%
- Customer self-service = 50%
- Product development/innovation = 33%
- New revenue streams = 26%
- Automatic dispatch of field service teams = 14%
IoT creates a framework to offer new services, and foster innovation, and identify new sources of revenue. Technical documentation plays a major part in how the information is created, managed and delivered.
Service and maintenance is becoming all about the connection of information with sensors, the cloud, real time analytics, all collecting and working with other systems such as:
- Enterprise Asset Management
- Decision Support
- Service Information Systems and Parts
Field engineers can create service orders to perform the task at hand according to the work order, this shortens downtime for diagnostics and maintenance because the technical documentation is accurate, up to date, easier to find, and can be enhanced with visual search for a complete interactive experience.