In part 1 of this discussion series on what CEOs need to know about M2M, I defined the term M2M (Machine-to-Machine) and discussed the role of connected products and assets in corporate strategy. The M2M thesis for this series of articles is simple… if you remotely connect your machines, equipment and assets, you can unleash the machine data into your enterprise and unlock the value of that data. So what is the tangible value of M2M? What are the benefits? What are the hard dollars to the top line and bottom line? What are the soft dollars? At Axeda we’ve defined an M2M value curve that identifies 6 levels of maturity and organizes the major value propositions into 4 major areas:
- Remote Service (Level 3) - focuses on cutting costs from customer service and field service
- Usage Analysis ( Level 4) -focuses on predictive maintenance, driving machine up-time and improving product design
- Business System Integration (Level 5) – focuses on improving efficiency and enhancing business processes often associated with CRM, ERP and PLM systems
- Value-added Applications (Level 6) - focuses on offering complementary end-user applications with your machines and differentiate your product and improve the product experience.
For this article, we’ll cover remote service. If you’re a CEO meeting with your service organizations, here are key questions you should be asking them:
- What service operations can be done remotely?
- What machine information can we provide call center and support personnel to solve problems more quickly, shorten call times and solve cases and issues more effectively?
- What information can we provide field service people to make their customer visits more effective? How can we use machine data to shorten First Time Fix Rates (FTFRs)?
- What machine data can enable us to proactively service machines to drive greater uptime and shorten Mean Time Between Failure (MTBFs)?
Answers to these questions will provide Engineering, Product Management and IT the requirements for capturing the right raw data on the machine. It will help R&D design in the right technical solution in a collaborative way with Customer Service and IT. If you’re a CEO, it is key that you have a long term remote connectivity strategy and understand what information should be monitored, collected and remotely transferred. The savings of remote service are black and white and hard dollars. Many of Axeda’s customers have saved millions of dollars per year by increasing their service efficiency, minimizing field service visits, and reducing call times. Simple remote software upgrades and patches alone can pay for the connectivity project. Recalls are another area for savings. Many recalls are now software fixes. Enabling remote patching of software drives down the cost of those recalls.
In my next post, we’ll continue the business case discussion and move on to level 4, machine data analytics and machine usage analysis. Companies often start with remotes service, but word rapidly spreads to other organizations that the enterprise now has access to machine data and usage information. The next projects after remote service are often about usage analysis, quality analysis and predictive maintenance, typically led by Engineering and Product Management.