Service lifecycle management (SLM) describes the strategy and software for managing the maintenance and repair of products and maximizing the profit opportunities from these activities.
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SLM requires looking at service as an ongoing process rather than a discrete event or series of events.
SLM software typically includes the following functions:
- Workforce management, for scheduling service workers.
- Call center management.
- Reverse logistics, which deals with returning items needing servicing or disposal.
- Parts planning and forecasting.
- Enterprise asset management.
- Contract management.
- Knowledge management, for ensuring that service providers have relevant information at hand. It provides details on the current status, available configurations and service history of a product. This component of SLM software can also contain content management tools for creating training documents and instructions for servicing specific products.
SLM software is often integrated with, or a component of, product lifecycle management (PLM) software. In addition, the internet of things is helping to automate the collection and transmission of data from sensors that can gauge product status and diagnose problems. Such integration can provide workers with engineering and manufacturing data to help them provide better service. Conversely, service staff can provide information that may be useful to designers and engineers in the early stages of a product's lifecycle.
SLM can help to reduce the costs of service and parts and minimize unnecessary returns of faulty products. It can improve the operational efficiency of service by making critical information available throughout a product's lifecycle. It can also help boost the quality of service, which can lead to better customer satisfaction.
SLM processes and software also strengthen the profitability of service calls through features such as upselling replacement products and parts, renewing service contracts, handling payments and tracking warranties that are candidates for renewal.