3 Stages in Mastering the New Field Service Landscape
Field service and mobile technology were born for each other. But, like all couples, sometimes they have to go through a rough patch until their goals are perfectly aligned.
Managing technicians in the field used to be a must simpler process in the old world of standard office hours, 40-hour employees, and predictable schedules. Back office organization could be done with the simplest software, a desktop calendar, or even on pen and paper.
Those days are well behind us.
We live in an accelerating business environment of stiffer competition and higher customer expectations. There are all kinds of multi-variate complexities that go into putting the right person in the right place at the right time.
It’s time to get a handle on field service. Below you’ll find insights into which field service management tools your company needs at a bare minimum and what you need as you grow.
The three stage of field service tools you should consider are:
- Basic functionality
- Advanced solutions
- Next-generation options
Stage 1: Basic Functionality for Effective Field Service Management
First thing is first, it’s time to forget about manual processes. There are basic automation solutions that can easily automate your scheduling and dispatching operations. In a recent survey by Field Technologies, field service companies deployed these common functions:
- 67% dispatch/work order assignment software
- 77% service/work order management
- 16% basic scheduling software
- 86% parts/inventory management system
By automating the elemental functions at the heart of field service, you will be able to cut back on operating costs, reduce labor commitments, and run a more efficient back office. Customers perceive this standardization as more professional and the companies that provide more consistent, reliable services gain a strong competitive advantage.
Stage 2: Advanced Solutions for the New Mobile Workforce
After you have covered the essentials and secured your foothold in the market, the next step is optimization. That’s how you will expand your customer base and grow brand recognition.
Top actions that tend to move the needle in terms of profitability include:
- Raising the percentage of jobs that can be managed in a day
- Reducing time spent on calls by ensuring that technicians have the information they need
- Using scheduling optimization platforms to schedule the right worker at the right time by taking into account skill sets, customer histories, estimated travel times, vacation schedules, and sick days to create the best possible schedule
- Providing visibility to customers about arrival time and insights into what’s happening in the field
Now you can optimize the scheduling process to give your back office more time for productive work.
Stage 3: Next-Generation Field Service to Get Ahead of the Competition
Customer expectations are upgrading faster than companies can keep up. The secret of getting ahead is proactive data analysis to identify emerging trends.
New tools enable your business to be more flexible to changing market conditions, forecast demand, and equip workers with the information they need to leave customers satisfied.
Some of those tools include
- Internet of Things (IoT) performance analysis sensors built right into equipment
- Wearable computers that send real time video back to the office instantly
- Machine learning/AI programs that learn customized best practices for your company
These are not far off possibilities. These tools and more are available now and are in use by market leaders.
Rolling with the Changes
Things change, people change, but there’s a bright future for your relationship with the new mobile workforce. Nail down the basics, optimize to grow, and then use data to see what’s coming next. Field service is evolving rapidly, but you can evolve with it and take the lead in this new world. Download our latest ebook from our partners at Field Technologies and get all the details on How to Master the Field Service Evolution.