Why Globalization and Centralization are Not the Same

Having worked together on an exclusive new Field Service News White Paper, Kris Oldland joined Martin Knook, CEO of Gomocha, to discuss the benefits and challenges to the centralized and decentralized approaches to field service.

In this engaging, long-form discussion, the two discuss the modern tools available to field service organizations as we see the emergence of next-generation field service management software and how combining both centralized and decentralized approaches to field service is increasingly possible.

Here, the discussion focuses on the key benefits of the centralized model, outlining why it has become the clear direction most organizations have been heading in for the last decade and where the strengths of centralization can empower organizations to achieve increased profits, enhanced customer service levels, and scalable growth.

This interview is part of the FSN PRO library of premium content. It is available in FSN’s free subscription tier FSN FREE. Make sure you log in to view the complete whitepaper and videos.  


The following is an excerpt from Field Service News’ video: Interview: Centralizing Decentralization, featuring Martin Knook, CEO, Gomocha

Kris Oldland: Many of us would tend to use globalization [and] centralization as synonyms. And that’s largely an error of the financial crisis and the various crisis’s, etc. We’ve seen that conversation and that sort of point, as is often the way Martin, we see these synonyms, synonymous words bundled together when they’re not actually synonyms. And then suddenly, we’re five years down the line, and most people are using them synonymously. And I don’t think they are, as you touched on, we can have centralized business networks within Germany and a centralized approach within France, or within Texas and New Mexico, or whichever it is. That how having a globalized approach will be the same processes that sit atop all those regions and doesn’t take into the fact the nuances. Do you think I’m characterizing that fairly? Do you think those words have been squished together? And they have different meaning? Or what’s your follow up?

Martin Knook: Yeah, have different meanings that come from a different context. As well, globalization and doesn’t necessarily come with centralization. But globalization is still possible, if you work with local partners, to provide your service, then you have a global strategy, where your products and your assets are being sold, produced, and sold and distributed, which could be a very global, globalization, globalized approached. But you’re disconnected from your direct services with, for example, subcontracting, which is localization, where you both need, [and] basically, you marry the two concepts together there. So there definitely are different concepts that you can tie together based on the strategy that [you] lay out for your own organization. And I see many customers, making their best decisions based on how to [provide] the kind of ultimate delivery to the customer into different roles and responsibilities, into different process steps. And that gives a nice puzzle on how you can kind of piece your processes together. But they’re different concepts, but they can’t live without each other. Right?

Kris Oldland: I think the reason why I brought that to the fore is, again, there are very different concepts there. And when we start pulling those apart, we can see, as you said, how they can sit alongside each other. And so, it’s similar with decentralization, localization; these concepts, again, are used quite synonymously. But there’s a slight nuance in there, perhaps less so. So, let’s do the same for the localized service, decentralized service. Let’s build as the steel main case, let’s make the case where we can look at this and go right, this is why there are benefits. I mean, for me, it’s more proximity to customers, I think its proximity to decision making. Obviously, we’ve touched on the regional, regulatory demands, so it’s be able to adapt to that. But really, when I think this through, I think it’s the speed of decision making. And I think that comes from that proximity to the customer base. And I think that’s where we get the more efficiency of service from the customer perspective, and I can see an argument against that as well. But that for me would be the big push that I would want to give the autonomy to even down to the engineer level, which I’ve seen. You know, where is that autonomy? How much do we pull out? What would you what would you push as the kind of the key benefits of the decentralized side of this equation?

Martin Knook: Yeah, hopefully, I’m not jumping into a conclusion on that model. And if I do then challenge [with] questions. Kris, I think the decentralized service operation if you really think most ties on the centralized organization or the corporate organization, and you leave your service teams [to] provide the best service to their best knowledge. So, you really run that as an autonomous cell in your organization, that has the beauty and the potential of your field engineer becoming your truly trusted adviser of your customer. And that’s what I see as the biggest benefit. There is so much of a lifeline required between the customer and end field technician. And I know from some businesses that operate those kinds of security checkpoints at airports, the benefit of having their local team being an autonomous cell, organize themselves, dealing with 24/7 availability, and that resulted in a very direct strong relationship between the customer and the group of technicians, it is a tremendous benefit. Because what you said Kris, there is a huge efficiency gain. But I think, also there is a tremendous positive impact on the trust that your field engineer can build with a customer, it’s like they can integrate themselves a little bit more into the team or of the operation of the customer much more than you would likely want to know or think it’s reasonable, because that brings a kind of a weakness at the same time, right? So it makes a little kingdom in that decentralized service operator, but I think for me to the big benefit from that model is turning your field engineer in a trusted advisor for your customer.

End of Transcript 

This blog was originally posted on the Field Service News blog, Why Globalization and Centralization are Not the Same