A day in the life of any field service organization is subject to change and so the business needs to be able to adjust to what happens in the real world at a moment’s notice. To be able to do this, managers need real-time visibility of what is happening at any given time. They need to know where workers are and what the impact is of reassigning tasks, if a worker becomes unavailable or delayed. They need to find out if any of the day’s tasks are in danger of being missed and what can be done to ensure that commitments or service level agreements are being met. They want to know if they are assigning work to the best person or crew for the job and what dependencies there are on other work being completed for the workflow to be successful.
Ultimately, a key objective for a field service manager is to get the right people with the right skills with the right assets to the right place within a set time and having full visibility is a big part of this.
Field service solutions provide real-time visibility
To improve efficiency, service companies use scheduling tools to streamline the process of capturing and dispatching service requests, saving as much as 80% over the effort of a paper-based process. Real-time visibility comes from the instant access to job status, customer information, location, parts and asset information and notifications all in one place. Office staff can share job information in real-time so tasks like reassigning and rescheduling can happen in seconds rather than hours or days.
Centralizing the scheduling data allows all staff to view it as needed; from service requests and customer histories about a specific asset at a specific location to existing order status of billing questions. The information is centralized so that it is easily and readily available—rather than spread across numerous systems or even on clipboards and whiteboards in multiple locations.
Extending visibility into the field
While the back office processes are essential in centralizing the service operation, only the right mobility solution keeps the field workers connected. There is visibility of the work and day’s performance and the mobile piece allows decisions to be based on real-time activity and updates.
For the back office, a mobile solution which easily integrates into existing systems is critical, so that systems are not used in isolation. An integrated mobile solution means that the two-way flow of data and information is captured just once and in a consistent and efficient way. It means that no data is left unused or delayed while waiting on paperwork submissions or for collected information to be downloaded and an audit trail is in place reducing the chance of any lost or missing information.
The result of the right mobility solution is extending the work of the back office out into the field in a robust and reliable way, connecting the operational workflow and ultimately having the visibility to ensure that service objectives are met.
Visibility of your customer service
Customer satisfaction is a measure of success for many field service organizations. However, the most common customer complaint for service operations is when a technician does not fix the problem first time. This means a return visit which is costly to both the customer and the service organization. The reason for not being able to resolve the issue first time may be due to not having enough information about the job itself, so that when the technician arrived at site they didn’t have the right part or tools, or didn’t have the right skills or enough time allocated to complete the job.
Through field service solutions the right worker can always be allocated to the right job, have the right parts and tools and enough time to complete the task. Through the integration with other back office systems (such as ERPs and CRMs) the field worker has access to the job history and customer records allowing for a more detailed understanding of not only what needs doing, but also what has happened before and why. It is essential for technicians to have instant visibility of this service-related information quickly and easily and turning up to site with this knowledge helps the technician and means an improved customer experience.
Visibility of assets
Field service management technology allows a company to manage all of its assets and its customers’ assets. Through this real-time visibility of assets, mobile workers in the ﬁeld have information across the complete service history of that piece of equipment at their ﬁngertips. In addition, important schematics, guidelines and visual aids can be accessed to inform a technician about a speciﬁc asset.
Scheduled maintenance based on manufacturer suggestions can also be tied to an asset and tracked. Furthermore, assets can be linked to customers, locations and contacts. Dispatch can match assets with speciﬁc employee skill sets. Documentation, including photos and video, can be added to the asset’s service record - directly from the job site, automatically, as tasks are completed and signed oﬀ on.
Real-time visibility provides many of the answers a field service organization will need to better-manage the day to day operations and deal with whatever the day demands. For more information on improving visibility and where to start see our infographic on The Key to Visibility: Twenty Questions to Ask Yourself.
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