Rob Ballantyne brought up the idea of Right to Repair, as part of a discussion in Chris Hird’s article, and gave an overview of regulation requirements and digital transformation in How will regulations drive digital transformation requirements for field service companies by Chris Hird.

Rob Ballantyne features in a Salesforce’s podcast on Field Service operations for the next generation of Salesforce Field Service. Catch the discussion here.

Ensure you know your Right to Repair

Now back to the blog. Why don’t we take a look into the concept brought up by Ballantyne, of Right to Repair.

Right to Repair - What do we mean

Right To Repair is advocated by consumers and businesses who request the end to built-in obsolescence but want availability of parts and access to knowledge so that goods, equipment, vehicles and devices can be freely repaired and not replaced.

There are obvious implications and benefits in terms of sustainability and environmental impact behind these requests, as well as in service market dynamics and competition.

We’ve spoken about Right to Repair without providing you with a proper definition of it, so here it is:

“The Right to Repair is a global movement to make sure everyone has the right to fix the products they own. It aims to change [legal] regulations on how these things are made in the first place, to make them easy and affordable to repair, as well as to expand our [customer] rights after purchase.” (Restart)

So, there are some things to expand on from this definition, which Thorin Klosowski does in his New York Times article. He claims that there are 4 key areas of interest from this customer advocated right. (The points below are taken directly from Klosowski's article linked above):

  1. Make information available: Everyone should have reasonable access to manuals, schematics, and software updates. Software licenses shouldn’t limit support options and should make clear what’s included in a sale.

  2. Make parts and tools available
    : The parts and tools to service devices, including diagnostic tools, should be made available to third parties, including individuals.

  3. Allow unlocking
    : The government should legalise unlocking, adapting, or modifying a device, so an owner can install custom software.
  4. Accommodate repair in the design: Devices should be designed in a way as to make repair possible.”

Now, the most relevant and immediate impact for B2B OEM Service departments will be reshaping their business model as they are forced to face increased competition as the market opens up and welcomes third party repair networks and the rising gig economy.

This will, in turn, increase pressure on OEM Service teams and premium Service providers to further differentiate their offerings and strengthen their relationships with their customers.

However, as great as this is for customers, not everyone is wanting to get behind this. Next we’ll learn who are for and who are against your right to repair.

For and against the right to repair

First, let’s reiterate what Right to Repair is using Wired. Wired’s definition will also hint at why some companies would lobby against the Right to Repair legislation.

“Right to repair is pretty much what it says on the tin – it’s about a consumer’s Right to Repair goods they purchase. Some manufacturers would prefer to repair the devices they sell to you themselves, rather than allow you or a third party to get to the bottom of the issue.” Wired

So some problems that right to repairs provokes are that repair services are taken away from the manufacturers themselves in preference to third party repairers and the customers themselves. According to Wired, however, the Right to Repair outline and impact are not enough to convince many companies of its worthiness to include in their product policy.

nonetheless, the Right to Repair has been a law in the UK since July 2022. In the US, some US states have introduced various Bills and legislation this year that enforce and support the Right to Repair principles, but this is also where some companies have the opportunity to lobby against this right as it isn’t set in abiding legislation.

According to US PIRG, the companies listed below were actively lobbying against the Right to Repair introduction in Colorado in 2021:

  • Microsoft
  • Apple
  • Google
  • Meta
  • Amazon
  • Tesla
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • AT&T
  • Lilly Inc.
  • T-Mobile
  • Medtronic
  • Caterpillar Inc.
  • John Deere
  • GE
  • Philips
  • eBay

Their official motives are generally and typically centred around the companies safety concerns to open up repair works to third party or self repairers, as well as, potentially compromising the security and integrity of the device through these self-repairs/third party repairs.

Customer efforts are not lost!

There is some good news for those supporting and wanting the right to repair, as some companies are making an effort to be in accordance with the Right to Repair. A good example of one of the companies who are making way for the right to repair, is Samsung Electronics. As of 2022, they are launching a repairability program, to enable customers to access certain areas, repair tools and documentation for their device, but the extent of this is still limited. It is still a step in favour of the customer. Apparently, Apple will be following suit and has “said it would work to make repair resources available to customers”. Wired has highlighted that Apple “ will make manuals and tools publicly available for a number of its most popular devices”.

Stay up to date with the latest information to see if you’ll be able to work on and fix your own Apple device in the near future using the links listed in the Reference section below.

In the meantime, learn about what Nativevideo is working on in relation to the Right to Repair.

Nativevideo stands by their customers

At Nativevideo we are already working on Right to Repair readiness with Service and Field Service top tier teams.

With them, we are designing and delivering digital transformation with enhanced video communication and visibility in pre-service scenarios, video evidence and documentation from service operations, and video-enabled Service reports for full visibility and trust. Check out our solution, Servicevideo on the AppExchange.

If you are in B2B Service, get in touch with us to talk about Right To Repair readiness!

Learn more about the Right to Repair

Read more about your Right to Repair below, or get in touch with us if you want to explore our readiness to fulfil customers’ rights in their transformation journey.

Relevant article links to read through in you own time:

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