Archive for March, 2008

The difference between support and service

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Are support and service synonymous in your organization? You would be among good company if it were. Many organizations view these business functions as the same. Of the ones that do differentiate, few actually leverage them for the opportunity they offer. Let’s look at the differences.

Support is what product manufacturers do to keep the product running as advertised. It involves repair, maintenance, parts, and all the other work required to keep the machine performing its intended function. Most manufacturers have founded their warranty and contract business on support.

Service is work done for others as an occupation or business. Think of it as anything over and above “keeping the machine running as advertised.” We can call them “Value-added” services.

Many manufacturers confuse the two. I argue their differences are distinct.

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This stuff is plug & play, right?

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

Most equipment manufacturers invariably want to benchmark themselves against peers within every aspect of their business and remote service is no exception. They often are not trying to determine how much catching up they have to make but really want to confirm a suspicion that they are no further along than anyone else even after one to three years of trying. It is an unfortunate but comforting feeling when they report amongst the managers that everyone else is struggling too and no is really living up to what they have led the world to believe.

This implies a couple of important things. First of all, most are having difficulty implementing remote service. And, industries are getting to the point where companies see the need to benchmark themselves on their remote service capabilities and extent of deployment. This is a good sign as it indicates a maturity turning point.

Buy why do so many struggle?

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The most expensive field service call ever

Sunday, March 30th, 2008

NASA is the best remote service organization in (and out of) this world. They have to be. Field service calls are way too expensive.

Listen to the narration. He talks about the field service engineer (astronaut) fixing a loose power supply cable. Look closely at the long boom. That’s a person hanging upside down from it. Next time you hear an FSE complaining about working conditions, you can have them watch this.

How would you like to submit the travel expense report with 5.3 million miles! :)