Today’s advanced industrial products have increasingly complex maintenance and service requirements that even the most skilled service technicians struggle with. Service information can be inaccurate and difficult to understand, while service manuals remain time-intensive to produce, distribute, and update. Field technicians must be extremely efficient for their organizations to be successful, but they face multiple roadblocks that can unfortunately result in frequent repeat visits and frustrated customers.
Augmented reality provides a new answer to these challenges. Specifically, AR can serve digitized service information–enabling technicians to experience instructions and guidance in ways that are more comprehensive, while also being less obtrusive to the work at hand. There are the three ways that augmented reality can increase productivity for maintenance and service teams.
Better technician comprehension
Field technicians hold the keys to success for service teams. To be effective, they need to be able to access up-to-date service information that is easy to understand. Using an AR-enabled mobile device, tablet, or headset, field technicians can overlay digital service instructions onto a physical product—allowing them to access the most recent and accurate service information without having to consult a physical manual. This eliminates the issue of having to produce and distribute manuals that may be perpetually out of date, while also minimizing the need to look away from work to find and read printed materials.
AR provides technicians with a better way to absorb the information they need, as well as a more timely and cost-efficient way for organizations to broadcast and distribute it. Because of this, technicians can feel more confident, and be more productive, when carrying out service procedures.
Expert real-time guidance
As veteran workers near retirement, service organizations need to find creative ways to reduce turnover and retain the existing workforce while managing a collective knowledge transfer. AR-powered remote guidance allows wiser, experienced worker to assist field technicians, without leaving their office environment. This virtual assistance establishes a lower-strain work model and can increase job satisfaction—particularly for aging workers who may not be as inclined to assume the high-mileage role of on-site guru.
Instead, remote experts can use AR to troubleshoot products from the perspective of the field technician, providing annotations and instructions in real-time within the same software. Expert technicians no longer need to travel from site to site for service organizations to leverage their expertise. Field technicians also benefit by having a go-to person for questions or issues that arise, making the workforce more flexible and productive.
Higher first-time fix rates
When field technicians need to make repeat service visits, or bring in additional resources, everyone loses. The service team’s reputation takes a hit, as does the customer’s operations and margins due to prolonged equipment downtime.
With digital step-by-step instructions and remote expert guidance as tools, field technicians can service products faster and with more confidence, resulting in higher first-time fix rates. Completing procedures successfully the first time means that they can move onto the next job faster and have more time to cover additional calls. Service organizations can also benefit from AR by increasing SLA compliance and minimizing penalties, while satisfying customers and renewing more contracts.
If you enjoyed learning about how AR can make service teams more productive, check out this complementary infographic on the four ways that AR makes service organizations more successful.