Industries across the globe are getting smarter by implementing robust enterprise solutions for managing their business. The big enterprise systems might be successful in managing the end-to-end operations of the company and by providing the entire information collated in the form a balance sheet during the year ending process. Likewise, Field Service Management organizations provide maintenance and repair services for their customers as part of post-sales service or attend to emergency breakdowns through phone support. But, how many of these big companies realize that millions of dollars can be saved by implementing a mobile strategy at the operational level, rather than at strategic planning level limited to post-mortem reports. Yes, implementing enterprise solutions for getting a holistic view of business is an efficient tool, but the P&L statement can be made more attractive by saving quite a few dollars more. So, how do we achieve this?
Let me start with a real-life field service technician story. I have been observing the technician who comes to service the coffee vending machine at our office. He represents a popular coffee vendor in the country. He replaced a plug point, heater coil and serviced the entire machine. He was not able to replace the filter, since that part was out of stock. He called quite a few of his fellow technicians to inquire about the part. He scribbled all those details on a printed work sheet and took signature from the admin for billing later. All manual and paper driven!
What the field service representative was doing was in-efficient & unproductive in this era. There was no connectivity between the job execution and planning process, as well as there was lack of communication between the systems, the service dispatcher, field service technician and his co-workers. The company would be facing various issues, typical to that of a Field Service Management industry such as:
- Unable to get real-time updates of the job created, spare parts availability, resources availability
- Duplication of effort resulting in unplanned jobs and overtime hours
- Reduced profitability through unnecessary increase in service costs
- In-efficient invoicing process, resulting in payment delay
- Overall resulting in low customer satisfaction
How to Empower Field Service Workforce
Bringing the field service technicians and the system integrated using a mobility strategy will be the best solution to tackle the problems of disconnect and lack of real- time information. Listed here are some of the key parameters field service mobility solution should support:
- The mobile application for Field Service Management should be an industry specific mobile solution, as well as functional specific mobile solution for tasks shared by specific groups.
- The field service technicians should be enabled with a mobile app which guides them through daily tasks list to help them plan the tasks in future. The mobile application has the ability to alert technicians on new tasks and services created by them.
- Technicians can create a new task or service for unplanned work and at the same time ensure all their co-workers and supervisors are informed in real time.
- With an integrated GPS module and map module enabled in the app, field service technician can easily locate customer locations, find routes and identify jobs in same location.
- Real-time reporting of materials, labor and expenses ensures faster billing.
- On completing the job, field service technicians can generate instant work & charge summary and get this signed-off from the customer. And the field service technician can also generate an invoice and email a copy to the customer then and there
- The mobile application should allow the technicians to check the parts availability, make requests for parts from co-workers and place an online purchase requisition.
- With knowledge management functionality, technicians should be able to search through the service and job history, and easily identify previous tasks which were similar. This helps them to understand the problem better.
- Offline capability supported by native applications should be enabled to help field service when there is no data connection (say in non-urban areas) and should sync back the jobs updated when data connection resumes.
- Increased profitability by reducing unplanned work, overtime, expenses and travel
- Increased collaboration and communication through real time updates
- More responsiveness and ownership for technicians
- Faster job execution and increase in work force productivity
- Delight customers through professionalism
To learn more on how to empower your field service executives, read about mobile field service suite.
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Sr. Consultant- Enterprise Mobility, RapidValue Solutions