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SOFTWARE UPDATE NEWS ABOUT DIGITAL MANUFACTURING TOOLS AND SOFTWARE


Cloud-Based Field Service Apps Cut Downtime Manufacturing Engineering: How important is the soft-


s


ware element in handling fi eld service operations for discrete manufacturers? Mike Pandl: Field service software plays an increasingly important role for discrete manufacturers and their custom- ers, particularly for those whose products, equipment or machinery are mission-critical. Because fi eld service sys- tems are the central mechanism by which customer service interaction takes place, including calls and other com- munications, schedules, work history, customer, product and personnel data, their importance can’t be overstated. Whether it’s medical, construction or any other type of capital equipment, repairs requiring downtime come at a high cost for customers and manufacturers. Further, leading manufacturers are innovating with servitization—incorporat- ing service as a central component of their product offer- ing—an approach which amplifi es the importance of service performance and visibility. Also common are scenarios where a manufacturer’s fi eld services are delivered through a dealer network. In these cases, software can help manufacturers and their dealers collaborate to deliver a consistent, high-quality customer experience that brings mutual benefi t.


ME: Your company recently released a new cloud-based application, Service Pro for NetSuite ERP. Describe this new MSI app. What does it offer manufacturing and distributors? Pandl: Service Pro for NetSuite is a new ‘Built for Net- Suite’ SuiteApp that offers manufacturers and distributors servicing equipment and machinery assets with a complete,


36 AdvancedManufacturing.org | September 2015


integrated cloud suite for managing their fi eld service work, including repair, preventive maintenance, installations and inspections. Manufacturers and distributors place a high importance on connectedness between their fi eld service and ERP systems, and MSI has responded to this need by building integrations with industry-leading ERP providers, including NetSuite and Sage. For distributors, the Service Pro for NetSuite partnership gives them a robust system before and after a product sale. NetSuite for Distributors helps them manage the sale, while Service Pro’s fi eld service management integration handles the post-sale fi eld service and support aspects, so distribu- tors can benefi t from long-term customer engagement throughout the life of their product. ME: How critical is using cloud-based applications for


fi eld service management? Pandl: For service organizations performing work in the


fi eld, the cloud’s importance has increased dramatically as a connective element for each of the rapidly-advancing technologies that surround a fi eld service operation. Today, a fi eld service management system needs to be able to com- municate automatically with a variety of external technologies such as apps on mobile devices in the hands of technicians,


“Today, a fi eld service system needs to communicate automatically with external technologies such as apps on mobile devices in the hands of technicians, vehicles for GPS location, and business systems such as ERP systems.”


vehicles for GPS location and third-party business systems such as ERP systems for important integrations. Cloud- based systems greatly simplify these efforts. ME: What manufacturing companies are best at imple- menting such service apps, and how can this technology boost productivity and extend machinery life?


Mike Pandl


Vice President, Marketing MSI Data Mequon, WI


www.msidata.com


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