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Remote Diagnostics for Improving Field Service Productivity

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131553D
Original Publication Date: 1982-Nov-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-11
Document File: 8 page(s) / 33K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Donald F. Blumberg: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

Remote diagnostic techniques range from telephone assistance to the imbedding of sophisticated mechanisms in on-site equipment. They can all boost efficiency by reducing field service calls. The rapidly escalating cost of labor in field service operations calls for a dramatic reappraisal of the policy of dispatching a service engineer on every customer call. An analysis of customer calls for service in more than 20 electronics, data processing, and telecommunications-based service organizations suggests that a very significant percentage of these calls do not actually require the assistance of an on-site field engineer. There are a variety of reasons for this: (1) The problem, as initially reported by the customer, corrects itself.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

This record contains textual material that is copyright ©; 1982 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact the IEEE Computer Society http://www.computer.org/ (714-821-8380) for copies of the complete work that was the source of this textual material and for all use beyond that as a record from the SPI Database.

Remote Diagnostics for Improving Field Service Productivity

Donald F. Blumberg

Decision Sciences Corporation

Remote diagnostic techniques range from telephone assistance to the imbedding of sophisticated mechanisms in on-site equipment. They can all boost efficiency by reducing field service calls.

The rapidly escalating cost of labor in field service operations calls for a dramatic reappraisal of the policy of dispatching a service engineer on every customer call. An analysis of customer calls for service in more than 20 electronics, data processing, and telecommunications-based service organizations suggests that a very significant percentage of these calls do not actually require the assistance of an on-site field engineer. There are a variety of reasons for this:

(1) The problem, as initially reported by the customer, corrects itself.

(2) The problem is caused by the customer's failure to follow certain procedures.

(3) The problem is due to a software error or an operationally related "soft" issue that can be corrected by the user without "fixing" the equipment directly.

(4) The equipment problem is very minor, requiring a simple adjustment or corrective action that could be ace complished by the user or systems operator directly, perhaps with a part or consumable supply item that i; available at the equipment site or could be sent directly tc the user site.

In a typical set of calls received at a customer servict center (see Table 1), approximately 35-50 percent do not require on-site assistance. These could be corrected by

telephonic exchange of technical information or by ship ping a part or supply item to the site. These data were developed by Decision Sciences Corporation after review ing call completion data from more than 20 companies. II most companies all calls were handled by dispatching

field engineer to the site. The actual pattern of disposition of calls (on-site versus remote fix) is consistent, however for those firms that have implemented remote diagnostics and technical assistance centers.

Perhaps equally important is a change in the attitude of users of sophisticated electronic and electromechanical equipment, a willingness to do more of their own maintenance and repair. DSC has conducted numerous surveys of the requirements for installation, maintenance, service, and support for users of data processing, telecommunications, medical electronics, and of fice equipment. These users identify a number of different channels for the delivery of service after installation. These include

providing t...