The author of this post, Paolo Mauri, was invited as a speaker at the recently held "Smart Services" Expert Group event. Following are his findings which he shared during his talk.
1. What was the Challenge?
In today’s globalized world, customers expect optimum performance and optimum service, wherever they are and around the clock (24/7). A number of players stretch their operations across countries and continents, and expect to find the same service level wherever they are. It is particularly challenging to meet the request on a globally distributed installed base that comprises a wide variety of products and several product generations in three different product lines (food, beverage, and laundry). Additionally, the service must scale in a cost-efficient manner. This creates the challenge of either generating additional revenue by services or creating a highly automated service that scales at very low incremental costs.
2. By which Service-oriented Approach did we Solve it?
Electrolux Professional decided to bundle the services in the concept “Essentia”, the service product. This allows to offer the same, systematic approach to the service offering across markets, distribution channels and products, thus transitioning the company from being product-oriented to solution-oriented instead. Recent acquisitions allow in the meantime to explore the “pay-per-X” market.
IoT plays a pivotal role in this transformation, as connecting the installed base (which was already connectable to a large extent) to the dedicated service cloud enhances the services that can be offered flexibly to a variety of actors, from internal technicians to external users. Various channels and user interfaces are possible (e.g., apps, call center etc.). The services apply to technical support (e.g., remote condition monitoring and support) and also to support the customer in the optimization of their operations (usage, energy and detergent usage, etc.). We decided to co-create the function with the customers, keeping of course an eye on the scalability of the solutions brought to market.
3. What are our learnings?
For what IoT solutions are concerned, we understood at a very early stage that customers need to be somehow guided in the process of finding out what their real needs are, and that customization has to be performed so that it remains scalable.
There is still a difficulty in finding the right price positioning of the connected services, especially when offering through indirect sales or service partners. The hospitality industry is moving rather slowly if compared with other ones, thus not offering an easy benchmarking.
Service networks have different level of digital maturity, so we need to make sure they grow their capabilities in order to ripe the most from connected machines. We decided to co-create the tools for them, rather than go for a top-down approach from central.
This will also help the service provider to change their business model from a merely reactive, to a proactive one.