Don’t Lose your Service Shirts

by NIck Frank on April 25, 2014

ShirtsThe 6th blog in Nick’s series for Field Service News on the Service Business Model

‘Congratulations! You grew your service business by 25% last year…..but how much money did you make!’

This is the dilemma we often hear when talking to disappointed and frustrated managers. In our experience this is especially true for organisations undergoing rapid change or growth through acquisition. Their Service Delivery Processes have not been built on a solid foundation and they experience large variations in how services are delivered from the excellent to the appalling. Increasingly there are many new service management and mobile solutions on the market that bring transparency to the operations. Although they are a critical ‘enabler’, they do not address the route cause of the problem. We know that for a company to successfully industrialise its back office and deliver a consistent customer experience, it is key to have a clear vision of the:-

  • End to End business processes
  • Service management practices
  • People competencies
  • Performance management systems
  • IT requirements

These building blocks are not only the basis for ensuring the existing service delivery model can be profitable, they will also de-risk the introduction of new service offerings. Take one of the company’s that has featured in this blog series, Bobst SA. Stephan Maerz, Head of the Service Business Unit faced a classic post acquisition situation. Bobst were working with seven different brands globally, all functioning under different management models; services weren’t aligned, standards and pricing were disparate. If the answer to growth lay in their services, they needed a global plan. In March 2012, the Bobst executive team decided to create a single One Bobst brand. In July 2012, they started to define and execute a global service transformation programme. The brand-driven strategy they developed required a globally consistent customer experience, and that meant standardisation.  But unifying operations however, wasn’t so simple. The solution? Create a Book of Service Standards, a global undertaking requiring agreement from every regional and functional head. Modes of working were so variable, the project could have taken years. But by working with a 3rd party with access to proven models and best practice, it took only three months to agree on one model. A lot of people said it couldn’t be done and that a global service strategy would not work on a local level. Bobst demonstrated that by using a component based service factory model, it is is possible to take a fragmented operation and build a common documented vision of how the business should operate. In this way Bobst has built the basis for a sustainable and profitable service business. The next challenge is to build a completely new IT architecture to make the book of standards an operational reality. But that is another story.

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