Maintenance, Test & Measurement, Calibration


Field services – beyond break-fix to invaluable organisational insight

April 2022 Maintenance, Test & Measurement, Calibration

Given the seasonal demand cycles imposed on production and manufacturing operations, many industries such as consumer packaged goods (CPG) use this time of year to shut down for much-needed maintenance and repairs. Conversely, CPG organisations also ramp up production during the holidays and peak periods such as Easter, when the demand for consumer goods is high.


Choene Ramotshela.

During these times, in-house production, maintenance and technical teams must perform optimally as both scenarios go beyond the norm of daily operations. To this end, expert assistance can go a long way in supporting overtaxed in-house teams, particularly when operations are restarted or reach peak capacity.

A valuable partnership

An outsourced field services team can fill an important gap, assisting organisations not only during emergencies but also in critical scenarios such as providing spares, additional technical support and 24/7 callout availability, as well as aligning maintenance schedules with planned intervention when there is a contract in place. These can provide peace of mind to operations running at full steam or emerging from a shutdown.

Moreover, an OEM field services team with certified engineers will have valuable insight into the equipment, and will likely have worked in similar scenarios throughout the industries it operates in. These teams therefore provide problem-solving expertise that can save time and ultimately operational and manufacturing costs.

An outcome-based evolution

Historically, the provision of field services has been a reactive industry. As mentioned, when an issue arises, the maintenance or site manager will require assistance and the field services team will repair or replace equipment, or provide alternative solutions.

The move towards digital environments is becoming a major driving force behind field services. For example, most CPG organisations and other manufacturers generate an enormous amount of data. Armed with this information, organisations can take steps to improve daily operations and sufficiently prepare for increased production rates and maintenance periods.

The field services market is then well positioned to meet these organisational needs by moving beyond traditional operations and maintenance towards outcome-based services. An outcome-based model entails servicing operational technology (OT) equipment throughout the entire product lifecycle and using the resultant data to help organisations meet their goals.

Therefore, instead of calling on field services as problems arise, a company can partner with a services company to perform preventive maintenance, install connected products, monitor asset health and make recommendations to optimise operations, including modernisation.

The move to digitalisation

At the core of this outcome-based model lies digitalisation. At Schneider Electric we’ve partnered with BASF to assist the organisation in achieving higher uptime and productivity at its substation in Texas in the US.

By remotely monitoring connected assets throughout the facility using our EcoStruxure Asset Advisor architecture, our services team has 24/7 visibility into the electrical distribution equipment’s health and efficiency. With this data, we provide BASF with customised advice and proactive recommendations to help prevent equipment failure and optimise maintenance strategies, thus meeting their pre-determined business goals.

Since the beginning of our partnership, BASF has met its intended outcomes, including decreasing the mean time to repair equipment by 15% and increasing the mean time between planned outages by 20%.

Ultimately, field services isn’t just a break-fix solution; it’s now an industry that provides proactive and preventive strategies to help industries such as CPG meet their manufacturing and production goals.


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