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Toyota digital platform helps field service reach new heights

Employee with tablet in warehouse

Only a few years ago, field service apps were basically digitalized manuals. They were much lighter and easier to search than their thickly-bound predecessors, but they lacked simple things such as note-taking, so many technicians kept a copy of the binders anyway. Move forward to today, and our collaboration has redefined the possibilities for field service.

I’m Yalle Elehu, a Digital Advisor working in Sweden. Microsoft Digital Advisors bring their expertise, as well as Microsoft’s resources, experience and innovation, to empower organizations to reach their digital aspirations. We partner to drive a program of change to build our customers’ digital business, and our website can be found here: Microsoft Digital Advisory Services

When we started collaborating with Toyota Material Handling Europe, we were determined to make a significant impact to the business, and grow the organization’s opportunities through digital. Our journey started by visiting several Toyota technicians in their daily environment with customers in different countries, to see the action firsthand. Most recently, we jointly presented to the industry and Toyota’s customers at Hannover-Messe (HMI).

On the road to Hannover, our team brainstormed ideas, envisioned scenarios, visualized, and prioritized these ideas based on the value each project would create. We turned ideas into prototypes, failing fast and investing in the best ideas as we considered what technology could make possible for Toyota’s business.

We recently launched the connected field service (CFS) project, providing technicians with much more than a digitized manual. The solution provides the specific location of the equipment that needs servicing, its maintenance records, and of course, the maintenance instructions related to the job at hand. It provides technicians with the right information at the right time, wherever they are. As a result, customers receive better support more quickly. In the future, the solution will provide technicians with optimized maintenance schedules and preventative maintenance recommendations, and it will use predictive abilities to recommend interventions that will fix equipment before it breaks down and causes a service interruption. As the work becomes more predictable, the technicians are benefiting as well. Their days have fewer interruptions, and they can schedule training, improving the quality of service and their job satisfaction.

“Far from being a ‘mere’ technology provider, Microsoft is our close partner, providing advisory services from the envisioning phase and business case development to design, deployment, change management, and more.

Joakim Plate, Director, Service Market, Toyota Material Handling Europe

Toyota Material Handling Europe shared their digital 2028 vision at Hannover Messe 2018 (HMI), the worldwide industry trade fair held in Germany. We showcased how Toyota is enabling the factory of the future by evolving its traditional lean processes. We demonstrated how AI capabilities like Microsoft AirSim and mixed reality will enable new customer conversations and autonomous pallet drones to recognize patterns, automate processes, and learn the flow in a manufacturing factory floor. We know that the story shared at HMI addressed many of the challenges the industry is facing because of the immense amount of interest demonstrated by Toyota’s customers, and even its competitors.

Event booth at HMI

“We were overwhelmed by the level of interest that this generated,”
Axel Wahle, Marketing Director, Toyota Material Handling Europe

I can’t wait to see where this journey will lead us next.

For more information

Toyota Connected Field Service Story

Toyota HMI Story

Microsoft case study

Microsoft HMI blog

Toyota Case Study Video (Microsoft)

Industry article on Toyota and Microsoft Collaboration