In review meetings with your field technicians, how often do you hear them pointing out the operational efficiency problems as the root cause of their underperformance? As a leader or manager, you may think that they are just making excuses to hide their own flaws in productivity and efficiency.
But, at the same time, you also know that their operational efficiency problems are not solely dependent on their performance. It is equally important to optimize the business processes for resolving operational efficiency problems. Without process optimization, the employees will not have the right environment or set-up to work efficiently irrespective of their best intention and dedication.
This blog has highlighted five major operational efficiency problems that every field service business must resolve in priority, to provide the field workforce the right environment to achieve their complete efficiency.
1. Scheduling accuracy: Accuracy in job scheduling is important for the field workforce to work with optimum efficiency and productivity. Scheduling accuracy refers to various aspects, such as:
- Availability of the technician: if a job is available to a technician, but he is not available at that particular time slot, then how would he do that job. It is not his flaw but a flaw of a scheduling conflict.
- Skill-set: If the technician is not matched to a job that aligns with his skill set, then there is no point in questioning him as to why he couldn’t do the job efficiently
- Proximity to the job site: If a technician is assigned jobs at locations that are far from each other, then the technician is sure to face a productivity leak where most of his time will get wasted in traveling.
Field service management software can automatically identify who is the nearest available rightly skilled technician. Thus the tool ensures scheduling accuracy and empowers the field workforce to be productive.
2. Technician utilization: Using a field service management system allows the manager to have real-time visibility into field activities. The smart analytics of the software provides a detailed insight into the performance metrics of each field employee, their work engagement, availability, etc. Using these data, the manager can utilize the technicians in the most optimized way, and make sure no one is overburdened or sitting idle.
3. First-Time Fixed Rate: Infield service, it is crucial to improve the first-time fixed rate. It helps in improving customer experience, and also it controls the overhead travel expense that results from repeat visits when the first-time fixed rate is poor. Field service management software helps in improving the first-time-fixed rate by facilitating skill-based job scheduling. When the rightly skilled technician visits the job site, there is a high chance that he will resolve the problem on the first visit itself. Besides, using the field service management app on his mobile device, the technician can access the enterprise knowledge base from the job site and check the troubleshooting guides and pre-recorded videos, in case he gets stuck in his job.
4. Paperwork: The field technicians need to record field data at different touchpoints. If all this data capturing is to be done with pen and paper, then it is nothing but productivity leaks. Field service management software digitized the paperwork, and also automated it to a major extent. This saves time for the technicians, and they can focus on their real jobs.
5. Access to information: One of the prime challenges that hamper the operational efficiency of the field workforce is poor access to information. Being on the field jobs, many times the field technician doesn’t have access to the right piece of information at the time of need. They usually have to depend on back-office staff to access the information. This causes a gap in their productivity. Businesses should invest in field service management solutions that can make information flow a real-time process for their field employees. Real-time automation communication like job schedule reminders and notifications, mobile access to the enterprise knowledge base, and mobile collaboration tools, are some of the much-required mobility solutions that ensure access to information for field employees, even when they are on the move.
Field businesses can’t beat the market competition without taking the aid of automation facilitated by tools like field service management software. Automation is the way to get rid of slow and error-prone processes. Also, it is the most effective way to reduce the productivity leaks faced by the field workforce. All those jobs that are repetitive, mundane, based on paperwork, and can be handled without or with minimal human intervention, should be automated and made more seamless.