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Field Services

What Is Equipment-as-a-Service (EaaS)?

How Field Service Organizations Are a Vital Player in EaaS Success

5 min read
By Kevin Bowers
There’s one overarching theme that ties all of our Field Services members together: they are charged with servicing equipment or hardware on-premise. Because of this, every time Equipment-as-a-Service (EaaS) comes up with those in the Field Service industry, it gets ignored or underplayed. Usually we get one of two responses: executives dismissing the idea because they think it refers to a cloud-based offer, or saying they already do it, but confusing EaaS with a subscription or rental.

Let us tackle the second misconception first.

What is Equipment-as-a-Service?

George Humphrey put it best in a blog he authored, “Putting Services In XaaS”:

'Do you know what the S stands for in XaaS?' They look at me like it’s a trick question, mostly because it is. I ask this question to provoke deeper thought on the obvious answer. I tell them it doesn’t stand for 'subscription.' It doesn’t stand for 'solution.' It stands for service. Your technology, as a service.

We find members say this when they have some revenue from subscriptions, rentals, or leases. EaaS is not a subscription. It’s not simply a method to make money or moving from CapEx to OpeX purchasing models. Equipment-as-a-Service is about the value-added service around the piece of equipment that happens to be on your customer’s premises. In its purest form, it is a piece of equipment on premise where you provide the technology-as-a-service and help your customer achieve THEIR outcomes. They want outcome-based services.

The Shift to Outcome-based Services

This is the segway into the first statement. Of course, your medical device, photovoltaic inverter, flow meter, etc. will never move to the cloud. There will always be equipment on-premise. The play is to tie value-added services to your on-premise equipment, thus achieving an EaaS offer.    

In conversations with your customer, have you heard any of these comments?
  • We only want to pay for what we consume or use.
  • We want a guarantee of performance and business outcomes; if you can’t meet that, you pay us.
To put it bluntly, if you have heard these or not, it means the customer does not care about your product. If you have not heard them, you will. Make no mistake, this shift is coming for all OEMs. Customers want value added to the product. They want to achieve outcomes, and they want you to enable that. They do not care about feeds and speeds of the product.

Challenges for Field Services  

Now you may be wondering, is anyone successfully executing outcome-based EaaS offers? The answer is yes, but it is hard.

Nothing worth doing comes easy.
― Theodore Roosevelt


In "The State of Field Services 2021," we summarize the challenges.
  • The technology is on site.
    • If things happen, you may have to go on site. Do you have the support density to get there quickly and solve any issues? Resolution time will be on your dime.
  • The technology is not adequately connected.
    • To be efficient, proactive, and insightful for the customer, you need telemetry.   Many members have trouble getting positioning that value proposition.  
  • The technology was sold by the channel.
    • You may not even know where the equipment is. Or you do, but your channel partner is not equipped to support EaaS.
Despite these challenges, OEMs are succeeding in developing and landing EaaS offers. To be successful, it makes sense to start small. You do not need to go all in. The offer does not even have to be the entire piece of equipment. It can be portions of a process or the equipment.

Overcoming the Obstacles: Example of EaaS Offers

I came from the machine tool industry, so let’s look at an example for this very traditional industrial equipment vertical. The offer is from Trumpf, one of the largest suppliers of fabrication machines in the world. The offer is called Trumpf Power by the Hour. They offer a laser cutting machine as a CapEx sale with a 2kw or 6 kw Laser. However, the machine itself is equipped with a more powerful laser. If the customer gets a new job that requires a higher power laser to cut the material or just wants to cut a thinner material faster, they can enable the additional laser power and pay by the hour for that extra laser power. If they use it enough, all the payment-per-hour go towards the full purchase of the option upgrade in the field. It’s a great stepping stone to their true EaaS offer called Pay per Part.  

“As a part of the service offering, the production process is fully tailored to the customers’ requirements. The performance promise of the offering includes access to a fully automatic laser cutting machine, a storage system, TRUMPF’s production know-how, and the necessary service components, as well as equipment maintenance and the required raw materials.”

- Source:  Trumpf.com

This second offer checks all the boxes. The offer includes utilization and adoption components, services, and even raw materials.It starts from the input of production to the output of a finished part–a great value-added service.

These are just two examples. If you spend a bit of time searching the internet, you will find many versions of EaaS landscape maps or articles that talk about upwards of 40 different manufactures making these EaaS offers.

Why Field Service Is the Key

If the customer is now paying based on consumption or per-use, the equipment must work in order for you to get paid. When things do not work, often the burden of restoring the equipment comes to field services. The key, as we mentioned above, is connectivity or what we call Proactive Support Technologies.      

Let us look at some of the data from our TSIA Field Service Benchmark.
Chart of Data from Field Services Benchmark as discussed above and explained below
Source: TSIA Field Services Benchmark

The data shows that 1% of the time, the equipment can self-heal. 99% of the time, it turns into a service incident. Here is where the customer solves it, technical support solves it, or a Field Service Engineer is dispatched. We see from this driver tree that a Field Service Engineer has to go on sight almost 1 out of 2 every two incidents. Each step of the way the data collected helps the OEM make informed decisions about driving towards a quick resolution.

What You Need to Focus On

The two best metrics to look at are First Visit On-Site Incident Resolution Rate and Resolution Time. First Visit On-Site Incident Resolution Rate is the percentage of on-site incidents that are successfully completed during the first visit without requiring a follow-up visit. Resolution time is the amount of time from first contact until a successful resolution. To get this time down, technical support and field support must work together well and have a smooth hand-off to dispatch. You have to resolve it quickly but correctly the first time. You cannot afford to go back.    

First Visit On-Site Incident Resolution Rate shows you if you had the right Field Service Engineer, the right skills, the right tools, and the right part on-site the first time if needed. Do this, and you will start seeing revenue flow again. The below figure graphically represents these and a few other metrics we capture in our benchmark.
Key Field Services Metrics Flow Chart outlining importance of Resolution Rate and Resolution Time as discussed above
Chart of Resolution Rate and Resolution Time

 October 14, 2021

Kevin Bowers

About Author Kevin Bowers

Kevin Bowers is the director of field services research for TSIA. Prior to joining TSIA, Kevin held various senior leadership roles at DMG MORI USA, the largest global machine tool company in the industrial OEM marketplace. Throughout his 20-year career, he has held executive positions in sales operations, service, spare parts, training. Kevin is fluent in Japanese and he also sits on the board of directors for NIMS (National Institute for Metalworking Skills).

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