Without a doubt, organizations that want to stay on top need to be fully familiar with new technologies and modern approaches and concepts to the implementation of AI, ML and augmented reality. Understanding these areas ensures an appropriate level of expectation and business value when implemented skillfully. The aim of this article is to present a concise analysis of market trends and outline their business benefits.
1. Employee-less organizationThe widespread tendency to outsource some work and responsibilities is evident in various businesses, including field services. Organizations seek to reduce their expenses by decreasing the organizational complexity of training, scheduling, planning, dispatching and even motivating technicians.
Field service organizations seem to be open to extensive use of subcontractors based on different approaches: limited budget contracts, task-oriented contracts or marketplace. Different cost management methods provide comfortable flexibility in cost, scope and quality control. Other underlying goals of using subcontractors are to increase productivity and end-client satisfaction.
2. Automation, Automation, AutomationAutomation is one word that pops up in almost every field service conversation. This is an essential feature of every well-recognized FSM solution on the market. With the right scripting and pre-configuration, it is possible to automate task assigning processes. However, that is no longer enough.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning can further improve automation – for example by using heuristic algorithms to solve the salesperson problem during the planning stage. Solutions based on nondeterministic algorithms provide a high level of automation for effective planning without the time-consuming process of manual actions. The benefits are clear in the time it takes to calculate the final routes simultaneously for a significant number of technicians – starting from 10 employees. Real-time planning for a large number of workers takes just a few minutes.
Read more on effective planning and scheduling
3. Self-serviceFor end-customers, customer portal services are expected. This is a long-term trend that is currently significantly changing the way field services operate. A customer portal provides end-clients with more transparency and control over the process, improving client satisfaction and granting further opportunity for savings. For example, self-service maintenance routines give instructions and guidance for a user to perform a basic check of their equipment. In many cases, this is enough to solve the issue.
4. Technician enablement
Field technicians also benefit from incoming technologies such as augmented reality and holo-lenses, which allow the execution of complex tasks with real–time supervision and direct access to a knowledge base.
Every factor that improves a technician’s way of working raises overall efficiency, first-time fix rate and, ultimately, client satisfaction.
There are also other solutions, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, which support field technicians. Using drones for inspection of hard to reach areas also provides huge benefits, and an advantage over the traditional, human-based approach – mainly when it comes to telecommunication and oil and gas areas (read our white paper to learn how combining drones with AI/ML can reduce the costs of field service maintenance).
This, connected with cloud services or an IoT platform can provide full automation of site survey and site inventory processes. In this case, thanks to a wearable that indicates the scope of work to be done by technician and monitors their health state, the job can be done more comfortably and quickly.
Human-less processes, further automation, self-service and enabling technicians are the four trends that every field service organization should look out for in the upcoming months. If you’d like to stay on top of things and discover more FSM trends, sign up for our newsletter and be the first to know about new products, emerging technologies, and more insights from the market.