The Service Community: Bringing Service Leaders Together

Jul 20, 2020 • The Service Community

The Service Community is a completely independent non-profit organisation whose sole purpose is to help share knowledge and best-practice amongst service professionals within the UK. We host two meetings per year which are held at the offices of one of our members during which we will share a selection of presentations from community members as well as engage in peer-to-peer discussion groups and industry networking. 

The Service Community is run by the industry for the industry in a sponsor-free environment that allows for productive and engaging discussion with our peers from a wide variety of industry sectors but always focused on the key issues we face as service leaders. 

Membership to the Service Community and attendance to our meetings is free of charge for service professionals but registration is required. To find out more contact

13 may 2021

Competencies for Successful Service Businesses

On 7th May, the Service Community hosted a Virtual Practitioner discussion on the competencies required for developing and sustaining a service business in the industrial and engineering environment.

To stimulate the discussion, a team of mature MSC students from the Cranfield ‘Through-life Engineering Services (TES) ‘programme presented the results of a research project they have undertaken to examine the competencies required to implement and maintain TES Thinking. The outcome of their research was a framework which looked at the competencies required to deliver activities defined in the first ever BSI standard for services, PAS 280.

TES Competency Framework

They identified core competency that all employees should have. Each competency consisting of behaviours, knowledge and skills.

Competency assessment example


In addition, they looked at specialist competencies in each of the areas of:

  • Organisational Capabilities
  • Value Streams
  • Execution Processes

The Cranfield presentation can be downloaded in “Slide Deck’s from previous presentations"

This presentation was an excellent catalyst for group discussion with 6-7 professionals to discuss two questions. Here are some of the key perspectives that were discussed:

  1. What have been the biggest challenges you have experienced in terms of people & competencies?
  • Curiosity is critical for innovation and exploring risk
  • Big difference between organisations in terms of how they approach risk. Eg Defence higher risk than an SME, and the reason they spend so much time in the planning phase of their services versus general industry.
  • SME budgetary have constraints impacting on documentation/training
  • CAPEX vs OPEX thinking i.e. business competencies are often missing
  • Cultural issues: UK manufacturers have a tendency to sweat assets even when an analysis shows an overall cost saving from a service investment.
  • Long tenure/Mindset: Can take time to change. For example from electro-mechanical to cloud based solutions
  • Management level business skills (importance to customer) vs working level
  • Focus on product vs service aspects – what is the offering e.g. outcome based, etc. vs risk
  • Conventional mindset vs strategic/commercial aspects of solutions – SHIFT IN MINDSET
  • Ensuring consistency of TES processes
  • Building Engineers and Technicians behavioural and communication skills, especially listening to the customer


    2. What are the key development actions you have taken or will take to enhance the competencies within your organisation?
  • Obsolescence: move to an open approach (like Germany) to information exchange
  • Impact on safety & how to manage Life extension of complex assets
  • Management of IP and commercial confidentiality
  • Data skill set to support the digital transformation efforts
  • How to prepare technical people to handle customers directly
  • Moving to even purer service offerings e.g. from equipment maintenance to cyber or data analytics
  • More autonomy to make decisions – driven more by values and behaviours
  • Present a compelling view of company strategy for Services
  • Knowledge/Gap analysis of a companies Service proposition
  • Model good behaviour of the best technicians
  • Incentivise soft (sales) skills


So a very enjoyable and interactive event. If any of you would like more information on the research from the Cranfield team, their emails are:,,,

Date for the diary: The next Service Community Event will be 30th September 2021 at the Henley Business School at the Henley-on-Thames campus.


01 apr 2021

Details of the Next Service Community Meet-Up:

Next Community Event: 7th May with Cranfield University

'Essential competencies to introduce, implement and maintain a service business' We invite Service Community members to join our Virtual Experience Exchange on the May 7th at 2pm BST which will give you a chance to explore with peers and Cranfield University the 'Essential competencies to introduce, implement and maintain a service business'. You can register using this link to our eventbrite registration page

Event Background & Agenda

It is a sad fact that frequently managers take it for granted that their teams have the competencies required to set up, implement and sustain their service businesses. They focus too much on technology and ‘hard’ skills rather than on building organisational capability. This is an opportunity to get new perspectives on the capabilities to be developed through discussion with your peers from the Service Community. To stimulate the discussion, we have expert input from a recent study from Cranfield University, in which many members of the Service Community contributed. The study was undertaken by small group of mature students undertaking the MSc in Through Life Engineering Services. This is not a normal student project, in that each person on the programme is in their own right a service professional working in organisations such as Rolls Royce, Thales, Network Rail and the Ministry of Defence. For this reason they are able to bring a fresh perspective to this area.

The agenda for the discussion will have 3 elements:

1. Expert presentation by the Cranfield Team: They will present the outcomes of their findings based on input from the 42 experts in various fields and industrial sectors in which they identified the essential skills, knowledge and behaviours found from their study, along with other skills, knowledge and behaviours that should also be considered.

2. Smaller more intimate group discussions: We will then split into smaller facilitated discussion groups to share experiences and perspectives on the presentation.

3. Key takeaways: We will come back together to share our key learnings.

To register for the event use the eventbrite registration page.

If you have any questions please contact Nick Frank at

If you would like to attend the meeting, please sign-up using this link

03 jan 2021

Service Community goes Virtual

It is clear the Service Community’s great strength has been to offer Service professionals a venue away from their normal hectic days, to reflect with other professionals on the different topics that go into growing a service business. However sadly during Covid this has not been possible, so we have taken our community virtual on a temporary basis.

We held two very successful on-line events in November and December where 14-18 Service professionals had a chance to have highly interactive discussions on:

· Blockchain in Service: leading research and analysis from Veronica Martinez of the Cambridge Service Alliance of Cambridge University. So popular was the blockchain event, that Veronica came back and gave us a further perspective later in the month

· Purchasing services in the manufacturing environment: with Tim Bennet relating recent experiences from Rolls Royce

· The case for digital servitization: Dr Chris Raddats from Liverpool University providing pragmatic feedback on his recent research to which Service community members contributed.

We tried to stick to our principals of creating engaging discussions and as such our unique format has received great feedback. The initial 15minute presentation by our industry experts provides thought leadership on the topic. Then 30minute discussion in small groups of 4-5 professionals gives everyone a chance to talk in depth with colleagues. Our expert comes into each breakout session which also creates the opportunity to ask them some direct questions. Then we come back together and the Service Community facilitators help develop the key takeaways.

Our next discussion is planned to be looking at key capabilities needed to sustain a service business, based on research from Cranfield University.

Notes from our oct 2019 meeting: 

On the 16th October 2019, The Service Community was hosted by Atlas CopCo at their Innovation Centre, Deeside. With over 35 Service professionals, the conference room was packed in what is a fantastic facility. At the Innovation Centre you can see the latest technologies in fastening and automation in action. For example the self piercing riveting systems that enable assembly of aluminium car bodies that are now so important in the push to electric vehicles.

The day which started at 11am had five very different discussions, all looking at Services in Industry through different lens’ and perspectives.

The first discussion was led by our host Ian Cockett IAS Business Line manager – Service.  Ian gave us a great overview of how Service is organised in this multinational, multi-product organisation. In particular how they empower local managers to adapt service products to the local customer needs, but at the same time have a standard service portfolio that enables a consistent value proposition to be proposed, especially across global key accounts. He also talked about the key challenges service faces in terms of how to create the Service Super-person who is multi-skilled and customer focused. We gained an insight into how Atlas Copco is beginning to use data to enhance performance and key into their customer’s Industrie 4.0 strategy.

Then Alex Bours and Henk Jonker from DiManEx led a discussion on how additive manufacturing has the capability to disrupt many Service Supply Chains. After a presentation of the different components of additive manufacturing, which went well beyond 3D printing, the attendees split into smaller groups to discuss the potential impact of this technology on their own businesses. What I learned from the discussion is that Additive Manufacturing is fast becoming part of the supply chain landscape. The key being to figure out the value to the customer or the OEM, and then working backwards towards choosing the parts and Additive technology that can create most value for both customer and supplier. Here is there presentation and some of the points captured during the discussions.

After lunch Iain Crosley – Managing Director of  Hosokawa UK went into some considerable detail of how as an equipment OEM they have combined remote connectivity and advanced analytics to improve the throughput of their customers processes. He talked about how they have used it to accelerate the growth of their own contract manufacturing service business as well as developing a whole new business market by offering this knowhow as the Gen 4 software product. Iain gave a particularly valuable piece of insight into digitising the Install base and Back-office processes through his five ‘P’ checklist

  • People: Have your people developed a data driven mindset
  • Process: Have your processes moved with technology
  • Plant: Has your plant layout and infrastructure enabled digitisiation of processes
  • Product: Are your products designed to optimise the use of data
  • Profit: How are you using data to create profit

On the theme of digital, Martin Summerhayes till recently of Fujitsu, gave us a real world insight into how to use advanced Analytics to solve service problems in the rail industry. Essentially this was how to increase the customer satisfaction of a mobile ticketing solution. Having heard about the detailed problem solving process, the attendees reflected on how analytics could improve their service business. I know from my own perspective I took away 3 clear lessons:

  1. Be very clear on the measure of success, whether that be a KPI or a specific measurable outcome.
  2. You do need people with the analytical capability to avoid over simplifying the analysis which leads to erroneous conclusions. A good example would be to take an average of an average
  3. Always check the analysis with detailed interviews of people involved with the problem and be meticulous in your observation. Real insight often comes from mixing the Qualitative and Quantative analysis

And finally we were very lucky to have Phil Wardle, writer of PAS280 for the British Standards Institute. Titled “Through-life engineering services – Adding business value through a common framework – Guide” this is a comprehensive document on how to manage a Servitised business model. Written for large asset users by leading thinkers at Rolls Royce, BAE, MOD and Babcock, it is biased towards Aerospace and Defence, but can be applied to all service business big and small. One just has to look past the jargon and take a different view on the risks to determine the key activities.  After an initial description of the PAS, we had a discussion on how it could be applied to SME and other industrial segments. The fit was good especially in the planning phase. You can download the PAS for free at this link which usually costs 99GBP or down load the presentation here

Many thanks to Oracle for hosting the Service Community in their Customer Centre at Reading. Our next event is provisionally planned for the 3rd of October so perhaps put a place holder in your diary.

If you would like to contribute a presentation or your facilities, please let us know by contacting Nick on

The Service Community is an independent non-profit organisation that Field Service News is proud to partner with and help promote. However, the Service Community is not affiliated with Field Service News and this page is donated for free to help them communicate with their members.