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Service Bubbles: The Next Line of Defense for Track and Trace – Part 2

In Part 1 of this blog series, I outlined the threat of Track and Trace to your field service business and I introduced the concept of a service bubble and how it would help you mitigate that risk. In Part 2 I will outline how service bubbles can be set up and managed using FieldAware’s standard configurable functionality.

Service bubbles are small, self-reliant groups of field resources that service a fixed selection of customers. They minimize physical contact among members of your field service organization who are not within the service bubble.

FieldAware enables you to efficiently and effectively set up and administer service bubbles so you can gain both the increased operational resilience and protection against the impact of extensive numbers of your field resources having to self-isolate at the same time and minimize any negative impact on productivity that this structure might cause. 

How do you set up Service Bubbles?

There are three ways service bubbles are created. You can use one type or a combination of options depending on the demands of your different services areas.

  • Physical Service Bubbles. These are defined by small service areas with individual resources and crews working within them. You build up these smaller areas until you achieve complete coverage of your original service areas.
  • Logical Service Bubbles. These are created by using permits to allocate different customers to different resources. Once configured, a customer is only serviced by a pre-determined resource.
  • Shift-based Service Bubbles. These are created by allocating different resources to work at different times of the day. This is achieved by setting the working hours for each resource to reflect their correct shift hours and adjusting their shifts over time. 

You can also use permits to further limit which resources can work at a customer location. By doing this you minimize the number of resources that have to self-isolate if a customer tests positive for COVID-19 and the Track and Trace investigation identifies your resources as having been in close contact or on site.

The smaller team sizes associated with service bubbles means you have to take into account the skills that are required to service customers in a particular area as you want to avoid having to send experts into different service bubbles to resolve complex problems.

How FieldAware helps

FieldAware helps you increase the effectiveness of your field resources to minimize or mitigate the need for experts to have to travel from service bubble to service bubble. This has the benefit of keeping the integrity of your service bubble strategy intact. It minimizes the risk that Track and Trace poses on your operation, while increasing first-time fix rates and shortening average job completion times which today reduces operating costs, increases operational resilience and improves the quality of customer service.

This is achieved through:

  • Skillsdefined against all your field resources. Once a Skills Rule is enabled in the Schedule Policy your planners and the Smart Scheduler will only assign jobs to resources with the prerequisite skills. 
  • Remote support and coaching provided through Augmented Reality. sing their smart devices and even Google, your experts can remotely assist team members to see what is happening on site and help technicians fix more complex problems or successfully work on systems they are not familiar with.
  • Knowledge management capabilities. Technical manuals, specification sheets and more give your field resources access via the smartphone to customer and asset history so they can learn what has happened in the past.

To enforce these configurations, you need to set up the Service Area, Permit and Skills rules in your Scheduling Policy. These are automatically accessed via the Scheduler Board and Smart Scheduler. When your planners drag and drop jobs to resources which are either outside their service bubble, or they don’t have the permit to go on site, they will be alerted to those rule violations and a compliant schedule will be created.. The Smart Scheduler optimization engine will publish a schedule of work that is both compliant to your service bubble rules plus optimized to ensure your team is working as efficiently as possible.

Communication with your customers is always important. FieldAware enables you to establish an open dialogue with your customer throughout the service experience. This can begin with confirming when the field resource will be showing up and providing the customer with clear guidance on your COVID-19 site visit requirements. When the engineer is traveling to the site, they can confirm they are on their way and enable customers to track the engineer’s journey right to their door. Once work is complete, you can collect customer feedback that will help you respond proactively to service issues as well as share the feedback to your delivery team.

What happens when field resources have to self-isolate due to Track and Trace or they test positive for COVID 19?

If the remaining resources in the service bubble can still meet their service responsibilities, then no changes are required.

However, if this is not possible, you need to provide additional resources to bolster that service bubble. If you are using Permits you need to add these to the appropriate new resources.FieldAware enables your resources to be assigned to multiple service areas, so simply add the affected service bubble area to an adjacent team and they will be instantly considered for scheduling jobs in both their original and new service bubbles.

The affected resources require updates to their status to unavailable. The Scheduler Board will automatically update, allowing your planners to see which resources are unavailable for work so they will not assign them work until their status is set back to available.

Once Track and Trace is suspended and you no longer require the operational resilience of service bubbles, you can revert back to your original service model by simply assigning your resources back to their original service areas and removing the permits from the customer record. Once updated, your system will automatically revert back to your original service model.