Collaboration - part 2: Teamwork as a revenue driver - 5 advantages for your service

Published: 2022-06-21 Updated: 2022-08-30
Subject: Operators Manufacturers

Digitization, shortage of skilled workers, home office - the transformation of the working world is in full swing. Significant changes in everyday working life are already apparent. This can be seen, for example, by taking a look at the way employees work together today and how knowledge is transferred within the company. Find out what advantages it brings to the aftersales area of machine and plant manufacturers when they use digital tools for this purpose.

Collaboration and knowledge transfer in changing times

Before companies embraced new work, artificial intelligence, cloud software, digitization and the like, most of them were organized hierarchically. Information and knowledge were passed on from the top down. 

Exchanges took place predominantly between colleagues within a department. At least the experience and knowledge gained by employees remained with the company for a long time, because frequent job changes were not the rule. 

Modern collaboration thrives on flexibility

Today, the dynamics are completely different: 

  • Even career starters can show numerous stations and experiences in several companies on their resumes. 
  • Young people who are now starting their working lives are experiencing an agile working world in which the boundaries between individual teams are blurring. 
  • Modern work is characterized by fluctuation, part-time models, methods such as Scrum and, above all, digital work tools. 
  • Communication and knowledge exchange no longer function from the top down, but are networked, cross-team, real-time and dynamic. 

However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to retain and utilize the knowledge of older colleagues in the company. Above all, there is a lack of successors who can learn from the experienced professionals before they retire. And there is a lack of tools to manage the knowledge and use it collaboratively. 

In addition, many job descriptions are changing due to demographic change and digitalization. For example, service technicians are now expected not only to solve individual problems, but to take a holistic view of processes and optimize them. This far-reaching transformation presents companies with enormous challenges.

Benefits of digital collaboration in aftersales service

In the first part of our series of articles, we looked at the connection between collaboration and knowledge transfer and established: Networked collaboration and the smart management of knowledge are the basis for resilient companies. 

An important tool for achieving this goal is a modern service information system. It allows valuable aftersales knowledge to be bundled and used throughout the company. But what concrete added value does this bring for aftersales employees? We summarize the five most important benefits.

1. Strengthening aftersales as an interface

As collaboration in the enterprise becomes more agile and decentralized through home offices and remote services, the networking of employees, processes and information is more important than ever. Digital tools enable this new type of collaboration. They facilitate coordination between departments and the exchange of knowledge. 

If aftersales knowledge can be successfully integrated into these new processes, the entire company will benefit: The aftersales department is not only an important link to manufacturers' customers. It also forms an information interface to internal departments such as sales and production, which can use aftersales data to optimize their own processes.

2. More transparency for everyone 

Process optimization requires transparent data. In aftersales, transparency is created when information from other systems such as ERP software is accessible to service employees. Transparency for the company arises when, conversely, aftersales data flows into such systems. 

This gives service technicians and all other departments an overview of

  • Service orders
  • Typical sources of faults in machines and components 
  • Spare parts that are ordered particularly frequently

3. Simple planning

In addition to company-wide data utilization, tool-based collaboration also simplifies the planning and coordination of aftersales tasks. Before a service technician devotes himself to a new order, he no longer has to spend hours searching through e-mails and paper catalogs for information - he can find it in the service information system with just a few clicks.

4. Teams are more efficient, flexible and satisfied

A central knowledge and data platform that all employees can access across departments promotes the flow of information. This enables technicians to perform their tasks more efficiently and save time. As a result, they deliver first-class service. 

For service staff, decentralized working has not just been a reality since the home office boom. However, with the help of modern aftersales tools and trends such as augmented reality, they can not only work decentrally, but also more flexibly - as a result, they are now able to provide even better assistance to those customers who operate remote or hard-to-reach plants.

5. Higher customer satisfaction

When the internal processes at machine and plant manufacturers run smoothly, this not only pleases the service staff, but also the customers:

  • They receive targeted support more quickly if a component in their plant fails. 
  • Delivery bottlenecks and waiting times are avoided because logistics knows which spare parts are in particularly high demand. 
  • Solutions for end customers are found more quickly and spare parts are identified accurately because service technicians can access all relevant information immediately and without effort. 
  • Digital collaboration tools therefore not only make the work of service staff easier, but also increase the first time fix rate - and thus customer satisfaction.

What are the disadvantages and challenges of collaboration?

For all the advantages that collaboration and the networking of knowledge in the company offer, there are also challenges:

  • Acceptance: Older colleagues in particular, whose wealth of knowledge is especially valuable due to demographic change, must be convinced of modern collaboration. It is important to involve them and all other employees in the change at an early stage. Intuitive solutions that fit seamlessly into employees' everyday lives are also conducive to acceptance.
  • Human factor: Interpersonal communication takes a back seat when service technicians draw their knowledge from tools instead of exchanging information via e-mail or in conversation with colleagues. That's why it's important to foster a corporate culture and provide opportunities for face-to-face meetings despite remote work. 
  • Knowledge base: In order to network knowledge in the company and make it usable, a foundation must first be created for this. Both the know-how of newcomers and the wealth of experience of older colleagues must be incorporated into the knowledge base. Those who start now to consolidate both in the company will protect themselves from the loss of knowledge that accompanies fluctuation and demographic change.

Networked collaboration and communication simplify cooperation between support staff and service technicians and also increase transparency for other departments - thus offering effective levers for optimization. 

In the third part of this series of articles, you will learn about important strategies that will also enable your company to benefit from the new type of collaboration. 

 

Basis for networked knowledge 

In the digital spare parts catalog, you effortlessly bundle relevant knowledge about spare parts:  

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