Last week, I had the pleasure of attending Field Service Medical Device in San Diego, CA. The event provided an endless supply of in-depth conversations regarding the pains that Med-Tech companies were facing in the field. One topic that came up again and again was the need for engineers to have better access to technical information while on site.
One service director I spoke to was lamenting the amount of time his field service engineers spent searching for the correct piece of information. He made a great comment that probably rings true for a lot of medical device field service organizations: if you put an experienced field service engineer in a room with a broken piece of equipment, most likely they would eventually get that broken machine up and running again. However, he continued, that’s not how field service works.
Efficiency is the Name of the Game
The attendee makes an excellent point that I’m sure we can all agree with: When it comes to MedTech field service, efficiency is the name of the game… and efficiency doesn’t happen without access to knowledge.
Did you know that field service organizations incur $1.68M of unnecessary costs per year due to lack of access to knowledge? It’s easy to read this statistic and think the solution is simply to give your engineers access to knowledge. However, simply giving them all the knowledge they need isn’t enough to deliver efficient service.
Many organizations recognize that their engineers need more efficient access to knowledge. However, too many focus on the publishing and creating of new knowledge. While the creation of new knowledge certainly has its place within an organization, this is definitely not the most effective approach.
In KMWorld’s 2016-17 Knowledge Management Survey, 56% of corporate executives said the main challenge to developing and delivering a knowledge base is the fact that knowledge sharing is not integrated into their staff’s daily work regime and the required information is locked up in enterprise silos. Couple this with the fact that it takes 12 days for field service organizations to create just one new knowledge base article and you can see why creating new knowledge is not the efficient solution it might first appear to be!
If Creating New Knowledge Isn’t the Answer, then What Is?
A much-more efficient approach for field service organizations intent on getting knowledge to their engineers is to focus on the delivery of existing knowledge which already has been created and validated by internal departments.
Virtually every corporation has an enormous amount of valuable explicit knowledge locked up in departmental silos in the form of paper based documents, PDFs, product and installation manuals, service notices, training materials, part lists, images, 3-D renderings, exploded diagrams and databases.
In short, why recreate the wheel when all the information that your engineers need to do their job efficiently already exists?
Of course, it simply isn’t enough for field service engineers to have access to the information needed to fix a piece of equipment. They also need to be able to quickly search and locate the information they need while on site, know that that information is up-to-date and compliant with current regulations, and have access to it no matter what their location’s connectivity is like. After all, when you’re in the basement of a hospital trying to get a critical piece of medical equipment up and running, the last thing you should have to worry about is how good your wireless connection is.
By working with a Knowledge Management company that specializes in taking the wealth of knowledge that exists within a corporation and transforming it into a single knowledge base that is mobile, current and easily searchable, organizations can bypass the exhausting and time-consuming task of creating a knowledge base from scratch.
Or, as our knowledge experts at AnswersAnywhere like to call it: Speed to knowledge!