81% of best-in-class companies ensure that lessons learned in the field are captured to be applied to future products. These companies are 42% more likely to have access to real-time service performance data and are 100% more likely to have the ability to design products for improved serviceability. (Aberdeen Group, “Extending the Service Lifecycle to Spread Product and Service Value,” December, 2014).
Obviously, these companies are onto something.
The key to success for these organizations is linking product support and service with engineering departments. By tying together teams that are not ordinarily connected, companies can resolve performance issues, enhance products, and improve equipment reliability, allowing companies to close the loop on service life-cycle management (SLM).
Closed-Loop SLM, is a way of exchanging data that ensures product development and product support share information about performance issues and machine faults. By capturing information about equipment failures, component defects and performance issues from the field, Closed-Loop SLM provides a comprehensive view into product quality and service requirements that benefits engineering, service and support, and field service organizations.
Essentially, Closed-Loop SLM has two objectives—to gather diagnostic information and failure symptoms from the equipment, equipment operator, call-center and field technicians in order to increase uptime and performance; and to integrate information about failure modes and performance issues into Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) systems in order to improve reliability and design. In doing so, Closed-Loop SLM serves as the eyes and ears of engineering in the field. Ultimately, Closed-Loop SLM results in faster diagnosis and repair, fewer unnecessary part removals, higher product reliability, better product designs and lower overall costs.
Closed-Loop SLM enables OEMs to see what is really happening with their equipment in the field, at both fleet and individual-machine levels. Knowing what’s happening, how frequently, and ultimately the cause of equipment problems, means that OEMs can quickly recognize and respond to emerging issues before they escalate into customer support disasters.
According to Aly Pinder in a recent Aberdeen Group webinar, “How Service Drives Excellence in Product Design” (January, 2015), “The process of capturing and analyzing performance data from the field can’t be onerous. Organizations need to be able to find problems quickly, identify the solution, fix the problem and make that answer available to the right stakeholders so they can take future action. This is the future of service excellence.”
What Pinder is describing is a Closed-Loop SLM system. By establishing the vital connection between what engineering has designed, manufacturers have built and customers are experiencing, Closed-Loop SLM becomes an OEM’s key to driving customer satisfaction and product reliability.
To learn more about the Closed-Loop SLM approach, download our recently published white paper, “Engineering’s Blind Spot—Feedback from the Field.”