Training Top 125 Best Practice: Bell and Howell’s IoT-Enabled Services
As Bell and Howell continues its transformation into a next-generation services organization, it made the strategic decision to leverage newer emerging technologies such as the “Internet of Things” (IoT) and advanced data analytics to further enhance its service capabilities. The company’s vice president of Customer Support Services, who has been at the forefront of developing Bell and Howell’s award-winning technical training program and orchestrating the integration of new technologies and technicians, researched multiple companies and platforms capable of enabling it to serve customers more efficiently by harnessing the power of IoT.
Ultimately, Bell and Howell opted to partner with PTC to leverage its Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platform, PTC ThingWorx, which allows the company to gather data, remotely monitor equipment, and proactively resolve issues.
As this was new territory for Bell and Howell, the success of these new and innovative services is dependent on the organization’s ability to properly train its staff to not only to use the new technologies, but understand how they work.
Bell and Howell enlisted PTC to train initial subject matter experts (SMEs), which included the Network Operations Center (NOC) and engineering team members. All participants were required to complete a two-week product training class on the robotic-based product and a three-day remote monitoring training class. This was essential to ensure a solid foundational knowledge of the product and the services being deployed with that specific product.
During that class, participants learned about the complex interworking of the machine, including topics such as error messages, what those messages mean, what to look for with those messages, and how to remotely access and repair the machine. The newly trained NOC members were required to shadow the SMEs on the remote monitoring services in the NOC to reinforce the learning in a mentoring atmosphere.
After training 58 percent of its Technical Service Engineer (TSE) team on the new IIoT platform in 2017, Bell and Howell was able to fix 42 percent of service calls remotely, eliminating the need for on-site service. The end result is increased equipment uptime for its customers and increased service efficiency for its workforce.
In 2017, these new IoT-enabled services resulted in an average of one hour of troubleshooting time per service call, which translated into significant cost savings. By the end of 2017, Bell and Howell successfully rolled out these services to more than 500 products in the field.
The success of these new services also helped pave the way for Bell and Howell to explore additional revenue-generating opportunities through the PTC ThingWorx platform, including plans to offer advanced data analytics services and augmented reality (AR) enhanced solutions in 2018.