Are you converting field service work to depot work in response to COVID-19?

Eric Markwardt
Eric Markwardt Member | Enthusiast ✭

Hi Everyone,

I'm wondering if anyone has any experience or thoughts on converting existing field service contract work to depot service in light of the pandemic. For example, if you have equipment that is small enough to be reasonably shipped back to a depot for semi-annual maintenance vs. sending a service engineer on site, how are you approaching this?



  • John Ragsdale
    John Ragsdale Member | Guru ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hi Eric; I just checked the Field Service Benchmark to see if there was anything relevant, and found one data point:

    What percent of ALL depot repair work is done on items returned directly by CUSTOMERS vs. items returned by FIELD SERVICE ENGINEERS?

    Industry average:

    59% of items returned directly by CUSTOMERS

    41% of items returned by FIELD SERVICE ENGINEERS

    So it looks like the majority today are already customer direct returns, so I'd say doubling down on that makes sense as no field techs will be going onsite for the foreseeable future in many locations.

  • Eric Markwardt
    Eric Markwardt Member | Enthusiast ✭

    Hi John,

    I'm familiar with the Benchmark, but that data is not quite what I'm referring to.

    Specifically, what I'm wondering is the following:

    There is a standing contract to perform (2) on-site visits on instrument "X" annually. Due to COVID-19, the customer is opting for the service provider to not come on site and execute the repair. We then have the choice to either

    a). Not perform the service and force a forfeit of the the visit (which most companies) are opting not to do per the rapid response surveys

    b). Convert the on-site visit to a depot/in-house visit to get it done

    I'm looking for inspiration on item b). and if there are any other ideas or experiences from the group during the pandemic to get the backlog of on-site commitments completed despite barriers of entry to customer sites.


  • VeleGalovski
    VeleGalovski Member | Guru ✭✭✭✭✭


    I think the best comparison here is to an "Advanced Exchange" program, which can be done one of two ways:

    1) Send the customer a remanufactured instrument from inventory, and they send there instrument to the depot and you would remanufacture and place into inventory.

    2) Send the customer an Return Material Authorization (RMA) and conduct a like-for-like repair.

    In option 2, the speed of shipping is critical given that the customer is without the instrument for "Return time + repair time + Shipment back to customer". Option 1 is the preferred method: the customer is never without an instrument and the RMA return time is not as critical since it goes back into inventory.