In Field Technologies’ The Future of Field Service 2018, one of the major questions asked is where field service is headed in 2018. To gain an in-depth view the editor, Sarah Nicastro, carried out Q&As with leading field service analysts to get their thoughts on the top three challenges field service organizations are facing right now. The analysts give their insight based on the research they are conducting and conversations they are having with field service leaders and there are commonalities in what they report.
The three challenges Nicastro outlines from her discussions are first the increasing demands, from multiple sources, and both internal and external, being placed on field service teams.
There is a demand from the business itself for the field service teams to create more revenue. There has long been a focus on how to shift the service part of an organization away from being simply a cost center and this appears to be gaining momentum. Customer expectation also continues to grow and the pressure of increasing demands from customers is being felt by the field service organization.
Alongside the relatively newer demands of revenue-generation and customer expectations, is the existing and again increasing pressure to maximize the efficiency of field operations. “There is an increasing pressure on the sector to make the most out of every technician. This means making sure that each technician is getting to jobs in the most efficient manner possible, increasing the efficiency with which each job is completed, and enabling technicians to complete more jobs on the first visit,” says Spencer Gisser, research associate at VDC Research.
Next Nicastro reports that the analysts agreed on the issue of an aging workforce found across many service organizations and the impact of this. The aging workforce has been an ongoing concern for the field service industry. “While the aging workforce is something we’ve been talking about for some time, what is different now is that the talent pool for the next wave of workers is shrinking and thus becoming more costly, and therefore, the impact of lost knowledge and customer relationships built over the years and decades by retiring technicians is keeping service leaders up at night,” says Aly Pinder Jr., director of member research and communities at The Service Council
Finally, the successful use of technology is a big challenge field service organizations are up against. While most have embraced the use of mobile at this point, many struggle with getting the benefits expected from the technology and translating that into positive customer impact.
“Determining the field service organization’s relationship with technology is a major, ongoing challenge,” says Jeanine Sterling, industry director for mobile and wireless at Frost & Sullivan. “Are field service management solutions viewed by the organization as a help or a hindrance? Just how innovative does the organization want to be? What level of back-end integration is just right? This is an exciting and innovative time, but it can also be overwhelming to keep up and determine what’s truly best for your specific organization,” Sterling concludes.
At FieldAware, we have found working with many companies in different sectors that some of the same challenges are true whatever the industry or the size of the organization. What we are able to do is to help those organizations looking to invest in their field service, find how best to maximize their investment, tackling the big general challenges and any specific ones being faced.
Whatever your reasons for looking at investing in field service, our findings are that the following principals help to maximize any investment you make.
Integration means better use of your existing systems
Field service organizations often use a mix of different solutions to carry out their work as there can be many different parts to the workflow. This can often mean that systems are used in isolation and data from one system doesn’t always ‘talk’ to others. Integrating your fields service with back office systems (such as accounting systems, ERPs or CRMs) means that the worker out in the field has access to the job history and customer records. Knowing the details of the job like this can make the difference between being able to sort out the problem first time or not. This means delivering better customer service, as well as reducing the need for further visits to fix the problem and all systems are updated seamlessly.
Get up and running quickly for a better return
With any new solution, how fast you can be up and running is key. A solution which integrates easily with existing systems will be far quicker to implement – a great benefit in any technology choice. Being up and running in days, not weeks, months or even years, means your business is not affected and you get a better return on your investment as it starts straight away.
Keep it Simple
Managers and technicians all report that the difference between good and bad technology choices is often how easy it is to use. Taking time to learn new, complicated ways of working can mean that workers don’t like them and may go back to the way things used to be done or patch together their own way of working round it. With a solution that is easy to use alongside existing systems, the implementation is easier and the quicker people start using it, again the better the return on the investment.
For the best results, you need a solution that meets your business needs. FieldAware helps field service companies with this decision-making of where to invest. To find out more on how FieldAware is simplifying field service with innovative field service solutions – view our 30-minute webinar.
Or for more information on Field Technologies The Future of Field Service 2018 – download the full report