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Field Service USA is only days away - Part 4

By Geof Wheelwright on April 19, 2019

Throughout this week, we have been featuring insights from speakers and attendees to next week's Field Service USA conference in Palm Springs, California.


Today, we conclude our pre-event series with some great tips from speaker Charles Hughes, vice president of technical site services at Acuative. Here's how he answered our questions:

Q) What was the most valuable thing that you took away from the conference last year - and was it something you were able take back into your role at Acuative?

A) That could be a long list, but since you specified the most valuable, I will narrow it down to one. As we transition to an outcome-based service organization, the insight I was able to gain from the speakers and peers at the conference helped my design and align my organizations effectively. Our service offering isn’t just about uptime, but there is a focus on meeting schedule and being easier to work with, particularly in our deployment work. Understanding how others have approached the same issues was a big boost to my team.

Q) If there was anything you would do differently in your visits over the years, what would it be?

A) Without a doubt, effectively managing your schedule is key. You are hit on two fronts. First, the conference has so many quality sessions and speakers and they often overlap so you have to choose which ones you can attend. Second is the day job. The better you can disconnect from the daily job so you can focus on the conference the more you will get out of it. I am as guilty of not doing this as much as the next person, so I get it is not easy. At the minimum, do not bring your laptop into a session and try to stay off your phone as well. There are ample breaks to play catch up.

Q) What's the number 1 field service challenge you are hoping to find answers to at this year's event? Which elements of the agenda do you hope will provide that answer?

A) I will have to answer with two on this one. I am still focusing on Outcome Based Services as it relates to the customer experience. Additionally we face a challenge common to the industry- finding and retaining top talent. There are several sessions on the customer experience day one of the main conference where leaders from Syncron, AT&T and Lenovo are sharing some insight I am looking forward to. Several workshops on day 2 address talent management and tools that improve the quality of the worker’s day.

Q) Field Service USA is an interesting event in that it provides focus around a role and a type of work within a company, rather than a particular market. Given that you work in the technical services industry sector, do you find that you get something more out of talking to people across different industries that all are grappling with how to improve field service - or does it seem less relevant than an IT industry-specific event?

A) I have been to IT focused events and they tend to spend too much emphasis on bits and bytes. Field Services is more nuts and bolts, delivery of service. We are service professionals and whether it is a tech going to swap out a router, install a phone system, change air filters or change a windshield, we all face similar challenges. How do we get the right tech, with the right skills and part to the right place at the right time. I find it valuable to see how multiple sectors approach similar problems.

Q) Did you visit the vendor hall at Field Service - and, if so, what did you find the most useful aspect of it? Also, given that the Expo offers solutions that cover everything from AR and VR technologies to Field Service Management software, AI, IoT and workforce management, is there an area you are wanting to know more about as you head to this year's event?

A) Definitely! I enjoy having so many solutions available to review under one roof. It is a very effective use of my time and is much more effective than a webinar or conference call in the office. I really value the opportunity to not only review and ask questions, but to also hear questions others are asking. Sometimes that gives me insight on an aspect I may not have considered.

We are always looking for solutions to improve our workflow management.

That concludes our Field Service USA preview. We look forward to seeing you these - and invite you to come meet with us while you're there and we can compare insights on your experience of the event!

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