5 Hacks for Best Field Service Management and Optimization
While managing a field service workforce there would be many bottlenecks that you would have to, eventually, overcome in order to ensure smooth functioning of operations. There are various ways to look at these bottlenecks. Two popular approaches are:
Based on your business acumen and philosophy, you could take one of either side, as given above. You can either choose to solve a problem or you could take the situation as an opportunity to propel your business ahead. One of the solutions, and quite in-demand, is field service management and optimization through automation. You can use a digital setup to create a network for your workforce. This network may, then, be used to generate more control or create more opportunities, based on your approach.
“From now on, the fundamental message is that it is no longer about optimizing current operations by introducing a digital aspect, but about rethinking processes (internal or client processes) based on the possibilities that digital can offer.”
— Jean-Paul Mazoyer, Head of Group Information Technology, CreditAgricole
And on that note, let’s look at 5 hacks that might make your field service management more streamlined.
At any point in the past, if you have asked yourself, “Can I make my field service managers more accountable for their actions?” then you can probably relate to this problem. One major drawback of having people on the field is that there would, by definition, be lack of control over their immediate actions. On-field team monitoring, then, helps you to have direct control over the functioning and direction of your field service workforce. You can assess the workflow of any day in real-time and create a plan of action accordingly.
The field service system may be the face of your company for your customers or business partners. Proper field service management would then ensure that there are more instances where the field service rep can be properly directed to address a particular situation or crisis in an appropriate manner. Suppose your representative has to spend just that little more time to convince a client. However, the representative has to meet with another client within an hour. Real-time monitoring of that situation would allow the manager to assign another representative to that client or reschedule the upcoming meeting.
On the field, there are many instances where your representatives needs to take a decision at that instant itself. Perhaps a prospective customer wants a discount approved. Maybe your field service representative doesn’t have the authority to approve a discount. In such a situation, with proper sales team supervision technology in the hands of your representative, you can direct your representative to act accordingly. And voilà, you just saved a sale!
Learn and adapt
Experience is a vital aspect of your workforce, your entire field workforce. Irrespective of attrition, you would like that the experience or knowledge gained should stay in the company. Field service management and automation can help achieve this and more. Let’s suppose you have a business development executive who visits clients for scheduled follow ups. The client then claims that they dealt with another executive who knew their requirements better. Your current executive would then just have to access the database of clients through his or her mobile device to check any comments or notes the previous executive might have left there. Problem solved. Of course, your current executive would then leave his or her own comments regarding the meet.
“Mobile technology helps us provide the right data to the right decision maker at the right time, in the right place and on the right device.”
— Michael Restuccia, V.P. and C.I.O., PennMedicine
Documentation, documentation, documentation.
Your field service representatives may end up spending a sizeable amount of their time on documenting their various activities, developments and accomplishments. This time could, however, be better utilized in actually furthering those activities, developments and accomplishments. A proper field service management system would allow your workforce to update the system with various details as and when they happen. A service request or sale could be added to the system instantly. The back-end would then have that much more time to process the same. Moreover, all this could be done without the use of paper. So, environment wins too.
“If you think of mobility only in terms of the front end, then we’ll fall short of expectations. Because it’s the back-end systems, too, that are too old to keep up with today’s demands.”
— Dr. Rainer Sommer, Head of GI IT Germany at Zurich
According to the CSC Global CIO Survey: 2014–2015, 62% of Asia-Pacific organizations, across all industries, have invested in Enterprise Management Systems. This trend is on the upswing and is unlikely to be a bubble. Organizations are accepting the merit of various technology assisted enhancements for workflow and best field service management and optimization.
“Forces such as social, mobile, data and the cloud now have an impact on every aspect of business, and we as IT business professionals can help harness those forces to benefit our operations and our products”
— Diane Schwarz, V. P. and C.I.O., Textron