Locking in the future of field service

Are you ready for the consumerisation of aftersales?

There is no end of business services that have been influenced by rising consumer trends; social media has become an essential marketing tool, mobile shopping and payments is as prevalent in a b2b environment as it is b2c and smart devices are becoming the go-to tool for most industries in place of static computers and laptops. Another emerging trend is rapidly transforming field service and aftersales as we know it – the rise of the smart locker.

It’s difficult these days to go anywhere without passing an array of outdoor lockers at some point. The past few years have seen a silent invasion of these self-service delivery locations with new installations being completed almost every day. Just as consumers have become used to quickly and easily ordering goods, they now want an equally quick and easy delivery – even when they’re not at home. The ease of the smart locker means they can access their goods at a time to suit them, driving up delivery and service standards and setting new expectations for acceptable customer service.

Just as smart lockers are helping to transform the home delivery market, they are also beginning to consumerise the field service industry. By using lockers and boxes as intermediary stock locations, businesses are realising they can quickly drive efficiencies throughout the supply chain, allowing them to serve their customers more rapidly, thus boosting customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

Here’s an example… A major manufacturing company is running its normal Monday morning shift when a machine unexpectedly goes down. The company is manufacturing components for medical devices and has a tight delivery schedule that it must adhere to. In addition to the inconvenience caused by machine downtime, this also means that the company risks not being able to dispatch its next batch to the customer within the required timeframes. The normal time it takes to either find the right spare part, deliver and install it or send off the damaged component for repair and return, could take anything between 5-10 days, resulting in thousands of pounds worth of lost production and missed delivery deadlines.

Instead, imagine the boost to productivity that could be achieved if, instead of phoning multiple parties in a complex supply chain, the spare part could simply be deposited in a nearby locker where it will be picked up in hours and sent to where it needs to be; whether that’s a repairer, warranty provider, or recycling partner. At the same time, a new part is left in the locker to be picked up overnight or the next morning, enabling the business to have its machine up and running the very next day, therefore meeting critical delivery deadlines.

Such a process is quickly becoming the norm in field services. Indeed, CHH CoNeX has been partnering with companies such as well-known field services provider ByBox for a number of years, helping large field engineering teams to become more efficient by reducing the distances engineers need to travel to collect essential equipment and spare parts. It’s the solution to several of the issues OEMs face when it comes to reaching out to end customers: equipment availability, secure conveyance and timely and reliable, guaranteed deliveries.

These intelligent locker systems are smart as they are convenient, ensuring security for users. There are several ways to authorise access to an individual: through private pins, QR codes, digital signatures and more. When a locker transaction is complete, it automates a notification to the sender to keep a record of locker activity.

Growing Demand for Managed Services

At CHH CoNeX, this is an aspect of our service provision that has been rapidly growing with several new large contract wins to the value of £3 million in the past six months.  As a vital part of our full managed services delivery, we utilise the extensive locker networks as a platform through which we can supply tools, PPE, consumables and equipment to field service engineers all over the country. This not only helps engineers to access the products they need immediately, it also reduces downtime in the field and ensures greater productivity for our customers.

A key responsibility for CHH is to manage stock levels for our customers throughout locker networks, ensuring field service teams always have the equipment they need, when they need it. By integrating our enterprise solutions with those of our customers and partners, we can access complete visibility of stock required and deliver consumables to a remote location, using smart lockers to safely and securely store goods ready for collection by an engineer. This enables us to work closely with multiple businesses, serving thousands of engineers across the UK, with a delivery performance of more than 95%.

As the world continues to be influenced by consumer behaviour, outdoor locker networks are being used for all sorts of field service repairs – from telecoms infrastructure projects to mobile product repairs, as well as accelerating the pace and convenience of retail deliveries.  With these networks continuing to grow and partnerships developing across entire supply chains, outdoor locker networks are about to become even more essential to the future of field service and aftersales.

If you need to improve productivity and delivery service levels in your business with our innovative managed services support, email me today spencer.franklin@chhconex.com