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Predictive Service [Part 1]: The Evolution of Predictive Service

Does this sound familiar?

You’re on deadline. You go to use a device. And sure enough-it fails.

That’s not too surprising, right? That’s what devices and copiers do; they print, jam and break.

And when a device breaks, everything becomes a fire drill. Chaos erupts. Productivity shuts down.

So you call your print service provider, pleading for immediate help. The response? You wind up waiting four, maybe eight hours for a tech to arrive. Worse-you could wait for days.

This is a reactive service.

Reactive service is the first of four print management service levels, culminating in predictive service:

  1. Reactive service: you call a service provider after a device fails.
  2. Preventative service: devices are put on a regular maintenance schedule.
  3. AMS (Alert Management System) service: devices send service alerts to you.
  4. Predictive Service: service happens before anyone or any device alerts you.

1. Reactive service

Reactive service occurs when you call your service provider after a device goes down.

What typically happens in a reactive situation?

  • The tech visits the customer and decides repairs are needed.
  • The tech goes back to the office.
  • The service provider prepares an estimate for the customer.
  • The customer says yes or no to the repairs.
  • Parts get ordered.
  • The tech goes back to the customer and repairs the device.

That’s not an efficient process, is it? That’s because reactive service is disruptive. It’s disruptive for the:

  • Customer
    Community
  • IT team (because they have to supervise the service provider)
  • The customer’s end user

Think about when a company with 400 or 500 devices has problems-it can get chaotic in seconds!

2. Preventative service

Preventative service occurs when a service provider comes out to your organization on a regular schedule, for example once a year. Technicians perform preventative maintenance and use the necessary resources to keep your whole fleet up and running-whether the devices need service or not. A more strategic way to handle preventative maintenance is through activity-based cleaning.

Activity-based cleaning uses page volume to determine the maintenance schedule.

For instance, if a printer printed X pages before needing service, every three months a tech gets dispatched to check those machines that have printed the same page volume and haven’t had a service call. In this case, the maintenance and cleaning are based on the device’s activity, which is less disruptive and more effective for the customer.

3. Alert Management System (AMS) service

In the Alert Management System model, automation enters the picture. Instead of looking at the page volume, which uses a little bit of analytics, AMS looks at the alerts that the devices are feeding the network and reacts as quickly as possible to fix any issues-before the end user experiences problems.

Here’s an example: Let’s say the maintenance kit light goes on. Before AMS, people usually ignored the maintenance kit light until the image quality was horrible-then it became an emergency. Eventually, a service call was placed.

With AMS, we can detect the maintenance needed before the machine displays any problems. This approach is hyper-reactive because it uses data and analytics to look for patterns.

Since AMS looks for patterns, paper jams become more predictable. AMS enables the device to communicate problems to Flo-Tech’s server. Then, our server makes the decision about what to do. If a service call is required, it automatically creates that call.

In short, AMS:

  • Is (somewhat) hyper-reactive
  • Eliminates human interaction
  • Looks for patterns
  • Is not totally predictive, but moves toward a predictive model

4. Predictive Service

Predictive Service takes all of the known historical device data and projects when a component or a device is most likely to fail. It sets thresholds prior to a device breaking down.

Flo-Tech’s Predictive Service evolved out of the reactive service environment in which a tech would arrive to an account, service the device, and then leave. But because the customer has such a large fleet of devices, the tech would often get called back into the customer’s office soon after the service, requiring service for a different device.

One day, one of our technicians said, “It’s great knowing which machine is jamming today, but why don’t you tell me which machine is going to fail tomorrow? That way when I’m there, I don’t have to park and go through security again-I don’t have to do all the things that inconvenience the customer.”

That’s when Flo-Tech set out to develop Predictive Service

We developed Predictive Service so we can dispatch a technician who is properly trained, has the right parts and has time to fix a device-before it ever fails. Predictive Service looks at the device data and says, “Okay, we installed this part, which we know usually lasts about 50,000 pages. By monitoring the device (or predicting the page volume trends), we could say this component is probably going to fail by this date.”

You’ll learn more about Predictive Service and how it can help your organization reduce downtime by 80% (or more) in
Predictive Service [Part 3]: How to Reduce Device Downtime by 80% (or more). But before we dive into the world of predictive technology,
it’s important to take a closer look at how AMS works and how it helped shape Predictive Service; that’s coming up in
Predictive Service [Part 2]: 5 Key Benefits of Alert Management System.

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