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An Alternative to On-Site Service Technicians

System Integrator Interstates introduces its Smart Hands service to remotely address maintenance activities that can distract from your employees’ core job duties.

Ben Langton

Regardless of your facility’s size, you need to be able to respond quickly to any equipment maintenance requirements and technical failures. Most companies solve this by hiring a technician certified in the appropriate technology. However, because technology is always changing, significant resources are required to keep those technicians’ certifications current. In addition, the job market for technical resources is highly competitive, bringing into question how long those technicians will likely stay on the job.

One alternative has also been to embed a technician from a service provider. But this approach can also create issues, as questions arise if there is sufficient work within the scope of their contract to justify the expense.

Interstates has created another alternative through its Smart Hands service, which makes the functional knowledge of our system integration experts available to your in-house technician(s) to help them accomplish tasks with high accuracy and oversight.

In this arrangement, the Smart Hands technician is an employee of the facility that is the designated contact with the service provider. The technician will have a primary responsibility at the facility, often tied to some aspect of operational technology. They may even be the functional expert for some of the infrastructure.

It’s important to note that a Smart Hands arrangement is a team effort. That is, different experts may become involved based on the platform and extent of the disruption encountered. However, any technicians deployed will be certified and experienced. In addition, they all have access to a full arsenal of tools to understand the challenge and quickly bring it to resolution.

The advantages

The primary advantages to using Interstates’ Smart Hands service include:

  • Quicker response times: Disruptions happen. Having remote access to a team of industry experts who can quickly help resolve them is far more efficient and effective. This eliminates the delays and expenses of waiting for an expert to travel to your location.
  • Improved data security: In addition to disruption response, Interstates’ Smart Hands service can help protect your data by performing regular maintenance checks and data backups. Your facility will be protected from events that could cause shutdowns that could take days or weeks to recover from.
  • Higher productivity: With your technology assets protected by Interstates’ Smart Hands service, your skilled workers don’t need to perform maintenance activities that have very little to do with their core job duties. Instead, they can focus on the tasks that drive efficiency and generate revenue.

The process of Interstates’ Smart Hands service begins like any support call. Our team will determine if the activity can be completed virtually or if it requires an additional level of support. Examples of tasks that may be escalated to  Smart Hands include racking and stacking servers, hardware replacement, testing devices, fixing errors, and setting up and maintaining backups.

Benjamin Langton is a senior offer manager at Interstates, a certified member of the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA). For more information about Interstates, visit its profile on the Industrial Automation Exchange.

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