One Mission; One Team – How Two Different Services Organizations Leveraged Third Party Resources into Their Field Technician Force (Part 2)

[This is the second in a two-part Case Study-based series of Blogs that describe how two different medical instrumentation and device companies, with two different sets of challenges and needs, found success through the use of outsourced, third-party field maintenance services. Part 1 is archived in this Blogsite.]

Case Study 2: Robotic Surgical Systems Company

In a similar scenario to the first Case Study, a leader in the fast-growing robotic surgical systems segment found itself facing a slightly different set of opportunities.

For a number of years, the Company had been servicing all of its own equipment in an increasingly geographically dispersed area, with client hospitals typically located primarily in the Northeastern U.S., Southern California and the Mid-West.

Before initiating its relationship with MMS Field Service 360, the Company had found itself regularly needing to fly its engineers directly to the customer site from various locations across the country. In many cases, if an installed system went down late in the day, some customers still wanted to receive an on-site visit the same day. However, that was generally impossible, as it would necessitate a field technician to book a flight at the last minute (i.e. at an inflated cost), and fly sometimes between three and four hours just to get to the city where the system was located.

The Company knew it had to consider making some changes (i.e., moving away from servicing all of its customers’ installed systems itself). The primary driver for considering a third-party services organization was that it would be expected to eliminate the need for the Company to have to hire and deploy its field technicians locally, or have to resort to using groups of sub-contractors – something that it did not want to do.

Once the Company signed its agreement with MMS Field Service 360, its newly “acquired” field technicians were fully trained and given Company logo shirts to wear for their customer site visits. As such, most customers either did not know – or did not care – that they were not actually Company W-2 employees. In the words of one satisfied customer, when the MMS Field Service 360 technicians show up, they’re just “another one of the qualified field techs that service our systems”.

The Company is “very pleased with the way things have turned out with MMS Field Service 360.” Its customer satisfaction ratings have gone up significantly, mainly due to better response time – that is, in most cases, going from next day to same day on-site support.

From a customer perspective, the majority of the Company’s customers now know their field technicians by name, and have since developed a “good personal relationship with each of them.” In addition, costs have gone down considerably as a result of the improvement in logistics – that is, no more last-minute flight bookings, hotel reservations and dollars spent for travel and related costs. As a result, according to the Company’s services management, “We’re saving big time!”

Overall, the relationships built between a third-party services organization like MMS Field Service 360 and its customers provide substantial benefits by allowing them to deploy their most qualified and seasoned technicians in support of larger and more complicated installations, while leaving the MMS Field Service 360 technicians to focus primarily on their core services such as PMs and the smaller- to medium-sized installations.

Overall, the Company believes that the joint MMS Field Service 360 field technician teams are “working better than we could have thought, on both a technical and personal basis.”

In both case studies, who would have thought that the best way to build customer relationships would be to work together with a qualified third party services organization to provide total customer support? However, the only way in which this model can truly work is if both components of the field force work together in terms of “One Mission; One Team!”

For more information, or to receive a complimentary copy of the companion case study, please visit www.mmsfs360.com; or contact Paul Miller, Managing Director, MMS Field Service 360 at (631) 963-4282 or via e-mail at pmiller@modmedsys.com.

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Invitation to Join Our Complimentary Warranty Management Webcast on February 11, 2015

We invite you to join our complimentary Webcast on “Effective Warranty Management for Improved Customer Satisfaction and Profitability” on Wednesday, February 11, 2015, from 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm EST.

Bill Pollock, president and principal consulting analyst at Strategies For Growth (SFG℠) will be the featured presenter, sharing data and insight from the firm’s recently completed Warranty Chain Management Benchmark Survey.

The Webcast will be hosted by Tavant Technologies, a global Warranty Chain Management solution provider.

To register for Webcast, please go to the complimentary Registration Landing Page at: http://info.tavant.com/Warranty_Webinar.html

Also, in case you missed it, you may use this Weblink to access our feature article in the latest issue of Warranty Week magazine: https://lnkd.in/bT-wZJF.

Finally, be sure to register for the 2015 WCM Conference, March 10 – 12, in Miami, Florida where I will be presenting a three-hour pre-conference Workshop on Tuesday morning, March 10, entitled, “Leveraging Effective Warranty Management into Improved Customer Satisfaction and Profitability in 2015,”

To register for this workshop, please go to: http://www.warrantyconference.com/workshops.html.

I hope to see you at all of these venues!

One Mission; One Team – How Two Different Services Organizations Leveraged Third Party Resources into Their Field Technician Force (Part 1)

[This is the first in a two-part Case Study-based series of Blogs that describe how two different medical instrumentation and device companies, with two different sets of challenges and needs, found success through the use of outsourced, third-party field maintenance services. Part 2 will follow in about one week.]

Many services organizations have found that it simply does not make much sense (i.e., either geographically or financially) to provide direct customer service and support to their total customer installed base – especially if it seems to be expanding in increasingly dispersed geographical concentrations all across the country. In fact, one of the more common examples of this is a bi-coastal scenario where the company is headquartered somewhere in the Mid-West, but is being called upon to support an ever-expanding installed base that is concentrated on both the East and West Coasts (and oftentimes, everywhere else inbetween).

In cases like these, the old model of “We should provide direct support to our entire customer base, because we can” is being replaced by “What if we leveraged the field technicians of a qualified third party services organization into the overall mix of our support team?” Companion questions, such as “How much more could we expand our geographic coverage by doing so?” and “What cost savings could we realize by offloading some of our basic support services (e.g., Preventive Maintenance/PMs, or other scheduled services) to a qualified third party?”

For many services organizations, even the thought of outsourcing, or offloading, any component of their field service and support activities would have been deemed blasphemous just a few years ago. Why? Because the outsource model was not yet fully tested; there were not enough qualified third party services organizations from which to choose; and – well, it simply wasn’t done!

However, things have changed in recent years – both on the supply and the demand sides. First, there are now some (although not very many) qualified third-party services organizations offering field service and support on a nationwide basis; second, the stigma historically attached to outsourcing or offloading key services activities has long since been deflated; and third, research has shown that most customers do not care who performs their basic service and support activities – they simply want them to be performed as scheduled, by a qualified and competent field technician, and on a fairly consistent basis over time.

One company, MMS Field Service 360, has certainly taken advantage of this shift in market sentiment by establishing a significant and growing presence in the medical device service and support market. It has listened to the needs of the marketplace, and has built a portfolio of services offerings that are designed to assist services organizations in their ability to “fill in the gaps” in their customers’ service coverage with consistent levels of performance (and subsequent customer satisfaction), regardless of the type of service required, or the geographic location of the customer’s installed system.

We’ve all heard that in Real Estate, the three main selection factors are usually cited as “Location, Location, Location”. However, the selection of the best qualified Third-Party Services Organization relies more on an evaluation of the prospects for:

  • Maintaining a high level of performance quality,
  • Decreasing the costs associated with performing field service, and
  • Increasing existing levels of customer satisfaction

The following Case Study summarizes how one of the nation’s leading medical device and instrumentation companies: a Life Sciences / DNA Sequencing, has been able to achieve high levels of results in all of these categories through the use of a carefully-screened third-party field services organization – in this case, MMS Field Service 360.

Case Study 1: Life Sciences / DNA Sequencing Company

In the first case example, a leading developer, manufacturer and marketer of life science tools and DNA sequencing instrumentation, had found itself increasingly challenged in its ability to support all of its North American customer installed base solely with its existing field service personnel and resources. Management acknowledged that it would need to “think outside of the box” in order to provide customers with the levels of service and support they require to keep their systems running most efficiently.

As a result, the decision was made to offload the majority of the Company’s Preventive Maintenance (PM) calls to a qualified third-party services organization, as by doing so, it would free up its own service engineers to focus on the more high-volume, complex, machines in the field that typically require much more time – and expertise – to support.

For the Company, the key characteristics they were looking for from a third-party services organization basically focused on:

  • Existing medical device service and support experience
  • Ease of training the Field Engineers on the Company’s systems and equipment
  • Ability of the organization to provide fully qualified, certified personnel
  • Consistency of the organization’s technical expertise, skills and experience
  • An already established presence in the most populous North American markets (i.e., where a majority of the Company’s installed base is located)
  • Ability to establish a close relationship with customers and maintain an interactive presence

The Company found that customers like the fact that there is a level of consistency not only in how the PM is performed, but, also, in who performs the PM. This allows each field engineer to develop a close personal rapport with the customer, as well as set the overall tone of the relationship with the customers they support.

By incorporating MMS Field Service 360’s field technicians into its overall support team, the Company is now able to perform a much higher volume of PMs during the year, while also completing them at a much higher frequency than in the past. This allows it to manage its growing installed base more effectively, resulting in:

  • Significant reductions in the historical PM backlog
  • Improved customer satisfaction (i.e., as a result of improved scheduling, more consistent performance, more personal customer relationships and communications, etc.)
  • Improved service contract compliance (i.e., in terms of meeting on-site commitments, etc.)

Overall, the relationship with MMS Field Service 360 has, in turn, helped to build stronger relationships with the Company’s customers, as all of their service and support needs, ranging from PMs, to installations and troubleshooting, are now being met in both a more timely and consistent manner. Company management attributes this improvement in performance, in large part, to the fact that all MMS field technicians are direct, W-2 employees of the company, and that no local contractors are ever used in support of their customers.

For more information, or to receive a complimentary copy of the full case study, please visit www.mmsfs360.com; or contact Paul Miller, Managing Director, MMS Field Service 360 at (631) 963-4282 or via e-mail at pmiller@modmedsys.com.