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The world of field service is rapidly changing. As the businesses are influenced by faster and more efficient digital platforms, the expectations surrounding service—including response, convenience, and value— are also rising. Eickhoff, for instance, is a globally-operating, family-owned manufacturer of mining equipment, founded in 1864. Building machinery designed to withstand extreme climatic conditions, Eickhoff’s mining equipment require planned maintenance from time to time. Until a few years ago, Eickhoff’s field services were essentially managed through a mix of commercial and home-grown solutions. However, with the rising use of technologies to improve the timeliness and quality of service, Eickhoff’s leadership team realized that they need to change their field service management (FSM) ball game. They believed that advanced, integrated FSM software would make the workflow much easier. In particular, they wanted to manage all operations through a single repository of data rather than replicating data through multiple systems. Taking a step toward their aspiration, Eickhoff invested in an FSM solution that was able to intelligently manage the overall service lifecycle, optimize all processes and touchpoints, and deliver flawless service while placing the focus on customer satisfaction. Most importantly, the FSM solution was able to centralize all of Eickhoff’s equipment maintenance data on the cloud—thereby helping the family-run business take their leap of faith into the digital universe. While the story sounds fascinating, there is one name that single-handedly made Eickhoff’s massive transformation journey a success— IFS Field Service Management.
Developing and delivering enterprise software for companies with service-focused operations for decades, IFS is a go-to name in the field services landscape. And, as the field services realm increasingly moves toward a more outcome-based revenue model, IFS is poised to continue cementing its position as “a partner of choice,” providing true end-to-end field service management—by automating and optimizing field operations throughout the service lifecycle.
But, How Did It All Begin?
In 1983, a small group of engineering college students set out to develop software that would revolutionize how companies around the world do business. Their new company, IFS, quickly earned a reputation for reliable, innovative software offerings. IFS also became known for its relentless devotion to customer service. When the company landed its first customer, the young entrepreneurs literally pitched a tent and camped outside the company’s headquarters, working double shifts until the job was done. While the tent itself is long gone, its spirit continues to live on. Innovative solutions, willingness to understand customers’ industries and their challenges, and an eye for solutions that stand the test of time are what IFS and its people are today.
Developing and delivering enterprise software for companies with service-focused operations for decades, ifs is a go-to name in the field services landscape
Explaining the industry concerns, Darren Roos, CEO of IFS, mentions that the present field service management challenges have moved further beyond the traditional realms of ensuring a technician’s good on-site response time, greater efficiency, and better utilization of resources. While they are still not undermined, today’s FMS solutions should also have the caliber to drive greater revenue, maximize ROI, and control overall service overhead. “Core technologies like ERP and CRM are really falling behind in their ability to drive additional profits,” says Roos. Furthermore, most organizations today recognize ‘service’ as a true differentiator in their market value proposition and are therefore eager to leverage their relationships with customers by offering an outcome-based business model. By embracing technology to anticipate service needs before they manifest as problems, they are taking a proactive and predictive approach. IFS FSM natively incorporates functionality to support this transformation, turning service into a profitable revenue stream while increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.
“Simple, but powerful,” is how Roos prefers to describe his company’s FSM offering. An end-to-end field service management solution, IFS FSM offers a holistic approach to managing service operations and a range of customer engagement options that enhance the end-user experience. Cloud or on-premise, IFS offers complete flexibility to the client to let them choose how they want to deploy, license, and configure the solution. “It’s your business, so it’s your choice,” asserts the CEO.
When it comes to the robust applications of the software, IFS FSM is intuitive, easy to configure and built for powerful integration: from customer engagement to scheduling optimization through to sign-off and invoice. Utilizing business rules, the software can automatically price the work, make exceptions for customer or business processes as necessary, and allow a client to keep their key managers informed of service execution while proactively notifying customers on the delivery of their service.
IFS FSM’s distinctiveness can be further substantiated through its robust end-consumer engagement solutions. Providing enhanced visibility throughout the service lifecycle gives an added edge to consumers to communicate directly with field technicians and monitor their progress. “This also takes away many other pain points of call centers both in terms of ensuring service efficiency as well as reducing the number of negative customer interactions,” explains Roos. IFS FSM provides web portals to facilitate customer self-service, third-party service provider support, and contracted field service dispatch and debrief. Using these modules, a company’s customers and third-party repair vendors can track items anywhere in the process. Together with that, the field technicians can check their schedule, dispatch notes, make updates to orders, and more.
A Quantum Leap in Field Service Management
The latest version of the software—IFS Field Service Management 6—now comes with embedded integration with IFS IoT Business Connector, and offers a reimagined user experience to deliver a more connected field service. IFS FSM 6 enables automated technician dispatch for routine service and repair task, allocating service tasks based on conditions observed in IoT data to send the right technician to the job at the right time. IFS FSM’s extended offering for service management, including the WorkWave suite of solutions, offers a breadth of other capabilities such as powerful planning and scheduling capabilities, enhanced service-revenue-generating functionality, omnichannel customer engagement, and next-generation cloud configurability.
"Throughout ifs’ 36-year history, the company has been helping brands transform their manual process through state-of-the-art digital customer-friendly services"
In addition, IFS FSM 6 brings to market major extensions of its class-leading functionality with more buying and deployment choices in the cloud, and back office capabilities. That said, the new version empowers users with interesting features such as enhanced capabilities for reverse logistics, spare parts management, and depot repair. Coupled with these, enhanced functionality for warranty, contracts, and pricing management enable IFS to provide entirely new business models for companies that deliver services primarily through distributors. Highlighting the unique selling proposition of the revamped software, Roos notes, “IFS FSM 6 redefines configurability for cloud-based field services, giving customers the freedom to tailor data fields, workflows, and interfaces to their unique field service environment. Virtually eliminating the need for costly customizations, our new version makes it easy to optimize user behavior.”
What’s Next for IPS?
Throughout IFS’ 36-year history, the company has been helping brands transform their manual process through state-of-the-art digital customer-friendly services. Of late, the company has been intently driving its efforts in the last-mile area. “We are seeing an emerging market in last-mile, which would help our customers increase their market share and grow their business,” says Roos. Moving ahead, IFS is confident that their innovative, end-consumer focused approach is driven to make their FSM software a trailblazer in the field service arena.
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