Today, R&D targets are diverse: design for cost, design for manufacturing or incorporating new functionality required by the market. An aspect that is frequently forgotten is design for service. How can we make our products more serviceable? How can we make it easier for service engineers to perform the required tasks to get a device operational as quickly as possible? Even better would be if we can avoid device failures by performing preventive maintenance, or even go as far as to assess the device’s condition and go toward predictive maintenance. It is much more difficult to add these functionalities to a product or system once its development is completed than to incorporate these service-related functions early in the R&D process.
ABB has included service requirements in the standard R&D process. Service is required to provide inputs to R&D, and the product development process has to support service in setting up the required capabilities and resources to be ready to service a newly launched product from day 1.
In addition to providing service capabilities to existing offerings, we are observing new technologies that make entirely new services possible. Take for example the technologies that enable ABB’s Internet of Things, Services and People strategy. New types of sensors allow the collection of data that was not available in the past, and data that is already collected in our products and systems can be analyzed to provide new insights into the health or operation of a plant. Cloud-based infrastructure lays the foundation for new software-as-a-service business models. In the new world of the Internet of Things, Services and People, technology provides the capabilities to establish new levels of service cooperation with our customers by sharing the ecosystem of services enabled by new technologies.