Unveiling the new wave of Manufacturing Service Leaders

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  Revealing the New Wave of Production Services

By Vivek Joshi, CEO and Founder of Etntyle

Recently, one of the key voices in the service industry – the Service Council (TSC) – conducted a study to uncover how service Leaders in industrial manufacturing think about improving customer experience, data-driven operations management and knowledge management. One of the main elements resulting from discussions between service leaders was skill gaps and the need for talent.

The recruitment, management and retention of top talent in industrial manufacturing companies today is a very hot topic among a variety of factors including:

  • Aging Workforce
  • Competitive Labor Market
  • The Rise of Millennials

It It has been well documented that there are concerns about talent shortages in many sectors around the world. According to a recent study by Manpower, 40% of global employers report lack of talent – the same as before the financial crisis. Another important finding from this study is that the number of employers training and developing existing staff to fill open positions has more than doubled from 1 in 1 to 5 in recent years. The good news is that employers are investing more resources in developing their own workforce, rather than looking outward to fill certain skill gaps. Henry Ford allegedly once said, "The only thing worse than training your employees and letting them go does not mean training them and letting them go." This statement, no matter who its true author, will never lose its relevance. There is no manager who does not want to have highly qualified specialists in his team. In addition, investing in one's own workforce has long-term positive effects on employee retention, employer branding and the ability to attract new talent. The bad news is that while this applies to entry-level jobs and middle management, things look very different for leadership and leadership roles.

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Succession Planning

The majority of service leaders who participated in the Service Council study expressed concern at the next era of service leaders able to operate in an increasingly demanding and evolving service environment – aka succession planning.

The TSC study identifies three key issues in succession planning for the service company:

  • Succession planning is not an event: it must happen at all times and be integrated into the human resources and talent process.
  • Future Leaders Must be prepared for the role that will be. Not the Role That Is
  • This is a strategic initiative: Applying Data, Governance and Processes to Leadership Development

Less than half of organizations surveyed by the Service Council have succession planning or one Career path for their front-line service employees. In response to the aging field worker crisis, organizations see the establishment of a succession planning process as one of the key solutions, but very few have embarked on a formal process. The lack of a plan leads to a high business risk.

New executives, new revenue

The human factor is the most important component in planning for the future and growing businesses. Succession planning and the formulation of internal growth plans ensure a sustainable workforce model for the future and create an environment in which the growth of the service business takes center stage. According to the Service Council, achieving these growth targets has moved to the top of the list of priorities. A new generation of service ladders will now be tasked to generate new revenue. This may be associated with new service part or contract sales or with increased up-selling and cross-selling within the existing customer base. Proactive sales efforts are now required not only for the sale of new equipment but also for the aftermarket.

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To gain the full growth potential, companies are beginning to understand the value of predictability and proactivity in their service and support business. This does not prevent the occurrence of reactive service incidents where the organization is supposed to respond effectively. With data and insights, companies can now offer proactive support to prepare and guide their customers to the challenge of a failure, outage, or other incident.

Businesses have already begun to meet these challenges in aftermarket sales. CRM platforms like Salesforce or field service management software like GE's ServiceMax and aftermarket solutions like Ettyle Insyghts are using automation and even AI to tackle the aftermarket. But these solutions require the organizations and their leaders to accept a degree of change. The transition from a reactive service approach to a proactive approach requires people, processes, and training. Only those executives who are ready to change will be able to empower their organization to actively seek untapped sources of revenue, such as the aftermarket, to drive the organic growth they need to thrive.

Accepting Change

In the service industry, executives need to focus on succession planning and internal growth. Focusing companies will not have the resources to survive the future unless they focus on it. Succession planning is just one aspect of leadership that can accept change – a valuable skill. By adopting a leadership style committed to change, companies are agile in the way they interact with customers and internally with their own needs. The ability to continue to drive in a human-centered relationship with a strong service and business vision will continue to be the hallmark of the future service leader.

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About the Author

Vivek Joshi is the CEO and founder of Ettyle, a Palo Alto-based company that helps B2B manufacturers build customer loyalty and increase lifetime value. Etylle's KI-driven Aftermarket Engagement Platform Insyghts collects data from multiple systems and processes that data to identify usage patterns and customer segments, create opportunities, and generate revenue from the installed base.

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