Technology Record - Issue 23: Winter 21/22

122 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om V I EWPO I NT The value of the service supply chain L E S L I E PAU L SON : P TC Digital service supply chains are key to enabling original equipment manufacturers to provide successful customer experiences Ingrained in original equipment manufacturer (OEM) management teams is the need to streamline and improve the efficiency of the engineering and manufacturing life cycles. The focus is well-placed when it leads to well-designed manufacturing products that exceed customers’ expectations. However, many of these teams overlook a bigger opportunity: the service life cycle. A well-designed, well-manufactured product will last many years, or even decades. There is a lot of revenue and high profitability within reach if the OEM can capitalise on the potential of the service life cycle. One example shows that for every dollar in equipment sales, an OEM can experience up to $12 in the sale of service. It’s challenging to deliver service for years or decades successfully. It requires an optimised service supply chain. Fortunately, digital technologies can facilitate this optimisation if appropriately employed. Early adopter OEMs created service life cycle management programs, but these are now outdated, with siloed applications as a result. Digital thread programs leveraging exponential technologies are a more contemporary alternative as they capture and organise data and make it available to the entire enterprise spanning engineering, manufacturing and service. The digital thread has never been more important. Customers demand more from the products and services they use. This evolution in customer demand drives ubiquitous market demand for asset uptime and availability. For an operator, always having the right asset for the job is extremely valuable. The single greatest leading indicator for a customer to repeat purchase is the answer to this simple question: when the asset required service, did it get fixed the first time? The rich data from the digital thread helps OEMs maximise equipment uptime, utilisation and availability. It’s such a competitive market, OEMs must deliver on their SLAs or risk brand equity bankruptcy. There is a lot of technology available today to improve service delivery. An organisation can have up-to-date and accurate product information, access to real-time or near real-time product utilisation data, and utilise augmented reality for expert on-site repair procedures. But there is one unmistakable aspect to service delivery, having the right service parts in the right place at the right time. Without it, all the other technology investments are for naught! The service parts supply chain is an excellent example of how a digital thread strengthens with more and better data including, historical, current and predictive data. The more signals that the algorithms have, the better the forecasts, the better the optimisation, and the better the planning, which leads to maximised asset uptime “There is tremendous value in the service life cycle that the digital thread can unlock”