A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and if your business aspires to grow, then your software solutions need to enable, not constrain.
Service-based businesses succeed and fail based on how they manage complexity in the face of increased competition. Best-in-class service organisations today are not only responding quickly to market demands, but they also anticipate needs and proactively add value to their clients. If your business is to compete, let alone grow, then your field service management (FSM) software must help automate and streamline your service processes.
When, where and how a service is delivered, by whom, and under what conditions, all impact your customer’s experience and satisfaction with your business. Mobility and productivity enablement tools, therefore, are important elements in maximising service delivery effectiveness.
One key area where your field service operation can remove constraints that unnecessarily reduce efficiency is automation.
For example, field service software with automation capability can allow you to automate elements of the dispatcher’s role by using information on projects and technicians to create the day’s schedule. Tracking all non-part transactions including labour, travel and expense allocation, as well as facilitating request generation and service order management, are all functional possibilities with the right tools in place.
SOPHISTICATED SCHEDULING AND MOBILITY
A sophisticated scheduling system can use known information about technician skills, shift patterns, business rules and resources to consider a range of relevant parameters to deliver highly valuable, contextualised scheduling information that matches what needs to happen in the field for the business to be productive.
Particularly in a fast-paced environment, a resource which adapts in real-time and utilises GPS tracking to ensure efficiency in everything from drive time in bad weather, to fuel consumption in instances of fuel cost rises, is a real game changer.
In the absence of advanced scheduling tools, should your company have many technicians in the field, then you are likely to need multiple dispatchers to coordinate, on a case-by-case basis, which technician has the right part and the right capability to work on a product. However, with the right field service management application, scheduling and mobility can together allow a dispatcher to handle otherwise unfeasible scheduling tasks as the software can drive recommendations to them.
Changing societal behaviour and consumer expectations on many levels weights a growing importance on businesses that embrace mobility. For example, attracting and retaining the best talent, according to Honeywell, requires an employee value proposition that includes mobility for the 15 million plus Australians that own a smartphone1. Therefore, beyond the direct benefits to field service management operations, embracing mobility is also important in positioning your business as an employer of choice.
Whether employees are using laptops, smartphones or tablets, their field service software should be an easy to use, functional application that supports productivity in as many business scenarios as possible. Therefore, mobile field service solutions should not be limited to a browser-based app. Consider the nature of your organisation’s operations in the field. If technicians could benefit from scanning barcodes for parts details or accessing service level agreements (SLAs) for response time commitments, then mobility can deliver these results.
FACILITATING BETTER DECISION MAKING
Business today is far from static. Internal and external stakeholders need access to accurate information, in real-time, to facilitate business decision making and for their system automation to run effectively. Being unable to make efficient and insightful decisions due to system limitations is like riding a penny farthing in the Tour De France. It is a waste of resource input, it is clumsy and it attracts risk.
The cumulative benefit derived from a system which empowers real-time data analysis and communication should today be considered the baseline for field service software. As an alternative, third-party driven business intelligence projects can be disruptive, complex and expensive, further illustrating the disadvantage of using such disconnected elements.
Automatically generated management dashboards, alerts, notifications and reports provide your business with the operational insight to act on emergencies immediately and forecast and capture revenue more accurately. Contextualised real-time insights also facilitate effective strategic planning as important market trends can be detected sooner and more thoroughly, to help avoid missed opportunities.
No longer do we live in a business world where investing time and money in advanced technological solutions gives you a long lasting unique advantage over the competition. In many markets across Australia, it is now a case that you need to continually evolve to remain competitive, let alone excel in your industry.
This level of digital transformation creates both opportunity and risk for enterprise service providers.
If your company enhances its field service management through harnessing customisable field service management software, then you are in a good position to set a platform for growth. Should your business fail to evolve and remains using software solutions which act as a weak link in your operations, then you run the risk of being left behind in a rapidly changing marketplace. To learn more about digital transformation, read the “Advanced analytics and the digital transformation of ESM” white paper.
1Source: Mobile Mania! Australians Spend on Average More Than an Hour a Day on Their Smartphones, Nielsen, October 2015, http://www.nielsen.com/au/en/insights/news/2015/mobile-mania-australians-spend-on-average-more-than-an-hour-a-day-on-their-smartphones.html
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