The ‘Blue’ Service Support Engineer

by NIck Frank on June 25, 2011

“To act in a ‘green’ way costs money, but blue is when ecology becomes economy”

….so stated a senior European manager from Canon Netherlands at Noventum’s recent Service & Maintenance ‘11 conference. In Japan, the colour green is associated with cost, and indeed many corporations see the environmental issue as one of legislative compliance. Blue however is associated with economy & profit. Back in the late 80’s at the height of their battles with Xerox, Canon saw that ecology was about eliminating waste through finding a better, more sustainable ways to do things, which in reality saved money and improved competitiveness.  They now apply the ‘blue’ philosophy to all all aspects of their business including Service & Support engineers. The question is whether this is a trend or a fad?

Fiercer competition and an increasingly active concern within our global society for environmental issues has led leading companies to take a more holistic view of sustainability; Ensuring the long term future of a business through doing the ‘right’ thing. In other words making it a priority to look after their people, their know how, their environment, the local community, so keeping them ahead of the game. This has led to a profound shift in these company’s values & their brands, so influencing the ‘customer interface’ teams and ultimately the person at the sharp end, the Support Engineer. In effect sustainability and the notion of blueness will become the norm.  The organisations who recognise this now, will not only gain initial advantage from their brand position in the market, but most importantly improve motivation & retention of their own service staff, through closer reflecting the trends we are seeing in society.

Within this evolving environment, we explored they key sustainability challenges that Service organisations and their Support Engineers face;

  • How to ensure the ‘Customer Interface’ teams reflect the evolving brand values around ecology that have been driven by the coming to power of ‘Generation Y’.
  • Emboldening the support engineer to play a pivotal role in validating the values of the business, and supporting their customers ‘sustainability’ challenges
  • The ‘ Be Blue Challenge’: become leaner and more responsive, supporting customers to also be ‘blue’.
  • Managing the support engineer as a scarce resource, as  Western Europe faces up to the growing technical skills shortages. Indeed it is the recruitment, retention and training challenge that may be the toughest of them all.

We conclude that the Support Engineer of the future will have to

….last longer in the organisation

……………… trained to support their customer’s sustainability challenge

………………………….and will be part of a ‘Blue’ Service organisation



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