A large part of understanding packaging equipment and machinery is to see a demonstration and test it and having a good relationship with the supplier’s field service tech. Social distancing has prevented field service as it was before the pandemic. However, it did bring old technology to the forefront and new technology as well.

So how do you keep a relationship with your service tech? Contactless service can work. 

Remote service is not new, but COVID-19 has pushed it forward as an innovation to make sure plants and operations can run without shutdowns.

Fred Susi, vice president, Software Business Unit at Videojet Technologies, discussed remote services and how they apply for printing, in the article “Remote Service Keeps Productivity in Line” in our November 2019 issue. One thing that resonated upon reading this piece again, is that, beyond sensors on equipment, remote service allows you to give your supplier direct electronic access into the unit’s software controls. This enables the supplier’s service team to address issues for you — and allows you to teach your staff how to optimize your system to prevent or quickly solve future challenges — all without the team having to visit your facility.

This is a time of greater efficiencies, says an article from Ernst & Young. Here are three things that might make the transition to contactless communication smoother.

  1. If you haven’t yet, move work remotely to minimize field interaction. You can reach your customers via smartphones and apps to allow fewer workers in the field.
  2. Eliminate work by using automation and remote monitoring. Artificial intelligent visual analytics and internet-enabled sensors redefine how to monitor and maintain the machinery.
  3. Adjust processes/procedures specifically for the pandemic. With greater efficiency, reducing exposure and contact becomes easier. (For example, automated material tracking.)

If you’re the customer, ask your field service contact about these suggestions. Companies still need to recognize how to receive and handle equipment in a way that’s different for field workers. 

We need to find smarter and more cost-effective ways of working now, as these situations will likely stay for the future and bring more operational innovation. 

Happy Holidays!