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June 28, 2023 | 8 Mins Read

Live Tour 2023: Düsseldorf Highlights

June 28, 2023 | 8 Mins Read

Live Tour 2023: Düsseldorf Highlights


Sarah shares a synopsis of the topics discussed at the Future of Field Service Live Tour 2023 stop in Düsseldorf on June 21st.

Sarah Nicastro: Welcome to the Future of Field Service podcast. I'm your host, Sarah Nicastro. Today I'm going to be sharing with you a bit of a recap and summary of the fifth out of six Future of Field Service live tour of events for 2023, which we just wrapped, which was in Dusseldorf, Germany. I can't believe that five out of the six events have passed in sort of a flurry of activity and look forward to our sixth and final event, which will be in Stockholm on October 10th, but had a great time in Germany and a really good lineup of speakers, really good attendance and very engaged audience. So let me share with you a little bit of what went on.

So the first session we had of the day was a session on embracing the power of remote capabilities to create modern service delivery models. This was with Nina Li, who is the senior director for Global Enterprise Operations Center at Johnson Controls. So Nina talked a lot about some of the changes that Johnson Controls has made in centralizing its remote capabilities to really start to dig into creating synergy in the customer experience and in the service delivery model of how remote is used, how it compliments and ties in with field service capabilities from a global standpoint. So it was really interesting to hear how they're looking at this, what they've done. She talked about the fact that these centralized remote centers give service technicians some really good opportunity to kind of start a new phase of their careers. That's where a lot of those employees are coming from.

She talked about how to, well, first we talked about why remote is so, so important for Johnson Controls, how it impacts the future of the organization in terms of just being effective and also working within the context of today's talent realities and then also how it impacts both Johnson Controls and its customers in terms of sustainability initiatives and the benefits that exist on both sides.

So we also talked about how teams are interfacing with one another and how the company is working to make sure that the service experience is seamless for customers. We talked about some of the misconceptions that arise when we talk about remote so employees being fearful that it will replace their jobs and customers objecting to the idea of people being onsite or visible less and how Johnson Controls is mitigating those things. And Nina said at the end of the session in response to a question from the audience, the reality is if you're not investing in remote and figuring out what this looks like for your organization, you may very well be out of business in a couple of years. And I think that's a really good point. This is an area of immense opportunity for service organizations and I think it's very much the way of the future. So that's a very good piece of advice to heed.

Next up, we had a session on bringing service into the DNA of a historically product-centric business with Lucas Rigotto, who is the Chief Service officer at GEA. And Lucas shared a lot what his journey at GEA has looked like so far. He's been there for around nine months, and how big of a mindset shift it is to really ensure that service is top of mind and has a voice in an organization that traditionally has been very, very product focused. So he talked about the huge potential that service holds for GEA and the realization of that potential at the top, how important that is to be able to really undertake the change that he is leading within the organization. And really, we talked a lot about how that type of mindset shift and evolution is such a people-centric thing.

So Lucas spoke a lot about how he is spending time with teams, how he is making leaders all the way down to frontline employees feel a part of the shift that's going on. We talked about how incorporating service into a company's DNA does not have to mean that you omit or overlook or deprioritize your product legacy. It's simply a matter of complimenting that and really just talked about some of the things that are challenging, but also some of the things that he is very excited about.

We broke out for some great round table discussions on some of those topics. And then in the afternoon we had our next interview session was on embracing the full potential of cloud-based customer service. That was with Razvan Nanciu, who is the General Manager of CSSD at KYOCERA Document Solutions Europe. So Razvan really talked again about this idea of eliminating silos within the customer experience and looking at service holistically to make sure that functions are working together, to make sure that the customer experience is again, seamless, intuitive, that companies are getting insights that are valuable to them as a part of the overall value proposition. He talked a lot about sort of the commercial side and what goes into considering how you sell service when service is evolving significantly for an organization, making sure that teams are educated and equipped to have those value-based conversations.

And I think another important point that Razvan made is that there are so, so, so many technological capabilities that are really ready today to be leveraged and that it's important to start with a strong foundation, which KYOCERA did with IFS, but also to be pushing to avoid complacency, to continue to leverage automation capabilities, AI capabilities, to continue to refine internally how effective and efficient you are and externally, continuing to evaluate how you can grow and expand your value proposition and continue to get close and stay close to your customers.

Next up, we had a session on how a predictive approach to spare parts boosts service efficiency with Ivo Siebers, who is the Senior Vice President for Global Logistics at TK Elevator. So some of you may remember that Ivo was not too long ago on the podcast and talked about this project that TK Elevator has undertaken around spare part business excellence. But I think it was a really interesting conversation, obviously sharing what they have done in terms of using predictive capabilities and automation and really making the most of today's technologies in terms of its spare parts business. But there were a lot of elements of this conversation that could be applied to any area of the service business where you're looking to increase automation, become more predictive, really reduce manual efforts. So TK Elevator's story around its spare part business excellence project is really impressive. Before this project technicians had parts available for about 20% of cases, and with the new system and really just being in the early stages of the new system, they're already at 80% availability. So very impressive.

Ivo spoke about some of the elements that maybe surprised him a bit on the journey. So the idea of individuals, humans tend to maybe overshoot on how well optimized we think things are versus the reality, how important data integrity is when you're looking at anything related to predictive analytics. Also, the idea of, again, change management. So he also spoke about facing the emotions from some team members that if they're going in a predictive path, would that impact jobs. I think this is a recurring theme that we need to be very aware of because we sort of spoke at the event that as leaders in this space who know the realities of the talent gap, that's not really even crossing a lot of minds, but for people on the frontline who feel that maybe their knowledge or skills will become redundant if they don't have that reassurance that they are still needed in even a different capacity, that can be quite concerning.

Our last interview session was on balancing today's business needs with preparation for the future, which was with Helge Bruemmer, who is the Global Field Service Manager for Global Service Operations at Alfa Laval. And what we talked about here is really the tight rope that all service leaders walk between meeting the present day needs of the business, including putting out fires that would impact customer experience, hitting business metrics and quarterly annual goals with also looking ahead and putting time into innovation, transformation, service evolution, et cetera.

So Helge shared some of thoughts on how and why that is so challenging and also maybe some of the things that we need to consider to do things differently. So whether that's having a team dedicated to the longer term or making sure that people have the time and ability to look longer term, making sure we're focusing enough. One of his points was on not only the talent topic, but on continual improvement of talent training development. So it was a really good conversation that I think everyone in the room related to because to some degree everyone's walking that tightrope.

We had a couple more round table discussions in the afternoon and then a quick summary and some cocktails and networking. It was a great day. I have been a little bit rundown with all of the travel, all of the events, but this was such a wonderful note to press pause on.

I feel like I repeat this a lot, but some of the feedback I heard is that people just feel so much less alone when they're in a room of their peers and understand that others face the same or very similar challenges. People comment on how much they have in common and how surprising that is when they're in a room with people that are in very different industries of their own. People told me that they were inspired by points that were made, attitudes people presented, thoughts that people shared, and I've said this before, but I just feel so thankful to be in a position to bring folks together. To me, that's what it's all about. I enjoy writing articles and recording podcasts, but there's nothing about what I do that I love more than building community and helping people in similar roles come together in ways that they can stay in touch and help one another. So it was a great event from that perspective and greatly appreciate our five wonderful speakers and everyone that joined and made the day a success.

As I mentioned at the beginning, we only have one event left for 2023, which is in Stockholm, October 10th. So if you are in the Nordics or can get there for that event, go ahead and head to the website to register. I'm sure it will be wonderful. You can also register for the Future of Field Service Insider so that you are getting the latest content delivered to your inbox every other week. Make sure that you can peruse the articles and podcasts and stay up to date on anything relevant to you.

The Future of Field Service podcast is published in partnership with IFS. You can learn more at As always, thank you for listening.