In a world where every business is looking to cut costs, increase efficiency and move ahead of competition, field service management becomes critical as it plays an important role in customer satisfaction and loyalty. Field service management however have its own unique challenges as its operations are spread across vast territories and resources are distributed in different locations. Let us look at some of the critical challenges faced by field services managers.
Challenge 1: Customer demand and high expectation
The customer’s relationship with an organization has dramatically changed over the last decade. Now, customers expect their relationship to extend beyond the initial sale. Even beyond the traditional break-fix model. In fact customers today, want a certain level of preventive service. This clearly shows the standards of service that is expected to be delivered. To add to this lays the fact that delivering superior field service is one of the key factors ensuring customer loyalty which in turn ensure continuous revenue. Therefore, field service managers are under tremendous pressure to get it right all the time. This is almost impossible without the right technology at hand.
Challenge 2: Service delivery optimization
Assigning work orders to the appropriate field technicians and engineers is a day to day challenge faced by field service managers. Getting the right person with the right skills is not enough. They are also required to be at the right place at the right time and with the right inventory and tools. If mismanaged, it can lead to increased costs and lesser productivity with more time being spent on the road as against fulfilling service orders.
Challenge 3: Real-time communication and resource location
List of work requests are ever mounting, it is vital for managers to know where their field service personnel are located and what their availability is at any given time. By knowing the location of the field personnel, managers can better gauge how they can prioritize and complete the work. They can also make decisions on whether to bring in contract assistance to supplement the workload
Challenge 4: Rising cost of operations
One of the biggest challenges for field service managers is to manage the cost in an environment where operating costs are frequently increasing. Factors such as time taken to check inventory or find parts, travel expenses, and the need for the appropriate skills can add to the expenses. Missing inventory and inaccurate data add to this human error and you’ll find costs soaring very quickly.
The Right Solution
In an industry where there is a very thin line between a satisfied and a dissatisfied customer, it is imminent that these challenges need to be overcome on a daily basis. Several areas of these challenges can be solved with “Field Service Automation” on a mobile device. The workflow can be streamlined by automatically assigning resources based on their location, availability, competency and job priority.
Enabling field service technicians/managers with mobility brings in the “anywhere anytime” capabilities along with real-time communications. Together it can help reduce travel time, quickly detect location & readiness of resources, and advise on the right skill set for the job.
Thus, with the right automation tools and systems in place, field service managers can overcome stiff challenges and keep expenses under control.
Shuvro Shankha Sarkar
Sr. Marketing Analyst, RapidValue Solutions