Field service has historically contributed significantly to the bottom line of many industrial OEMs. In fact, at least since the installed base of plant and machinery surpassed annual product sales in the 1990s (in western industrial markets), industrial field service has been an important contributor to the economy as a whole. Perhaps surprisingly however, we have scant data for this, since economic statistics, both government and private, do not capture field services turn-over in any useful aggregate form and few companies break out service revenues in financial reports. Nevertheless, given the size of industrial installed bases (measured in $ trillions) and given that field service is a meaningful fraction of that, we can discern that this is a large business. But lack of figures necessarily means that, aside from anecdotal evidence, we don’t really know whether productivity, in any form it is measured, is actually improving or not, e.g. through the implementation of technology, in particular field service management systems, which have exploded in both number and new features in the last few years.

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