Companies managing field service operations face many challenges, especially recently. Every day, thousands of entrepreneurs try to provide their services in the fastest way with the highest quality to maximize the customer’s experience. At the same time, the customer expects to “do more with less”. To satisfy both sides, the company must have internal processes as efficient and reliable as clockwork.
Increasing productivity by improving and optimizing the processes through simultaneous reduction of workload will give you a competitive edge.
This cannot be done with pen and paper – you need a specialized tool.
Many companies have already implemented a field service management software and benefit from its functionalities which are used in many critical points for work management in the field.
Field force management productivity rule: A minute saved is a penny earned
Focus on the most important issue of the business: resources. This includes absolutely everything that makes your business work – from dispatchers, field technicians, assets and inventory, to your employees’ knowledge, experience, skills and most importantly – their valuable time. Now you need to ask yourself, are you making the most of your available resources?
Roots of the problems
Dispatchers become quickly overwhelmed with a growing number of tasks and technicians. With the increasing number of customers and work to assign, it can get messy very fast. Add the management of inventory and spare parts by the same person and we have the recipe for chaos.
What's more - your field technicians also lose their precious time on activities that could have been avoided. Driving extra kilometers from one location to another because of poorly ordered tasks in the schedule or sudden cancelation of visits which causes gaps in timetable - this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Automation: the cure for the chaos
All those time-consuming activities hinder overall productivity. The problem is not the lack of organization skills of your key personnel – they are just simply not equipped with the right tools that would help them increase their efficiency, namely, a good field force management software that can take care of process automation. Most task allocation cases are repetitive – they can be easily replaced with an intelligent dispatching algorithm that considers all essential resource information including availability, skill level, current location, priorities and distance between tasks. The system can even find unforeseen time gaps and fill them with queued tasks in real-time. The result of all this is a full schedule for all employees. Your dispatchers may focus all their energy on more complex issues and field staff is no longer bothered with idle time. You will save time, money and a headache.
Field force management: reap the benefits of increased productivity
By enhancing digitalization, productivity is automatically increased. Here is a list of 5 main areas that can be improved through the use of field force management software, which will help you to boost your company’s efficiency:
1. Mobile technologies
The majority of workforce management class systems offer field force applications for mobile devices. It allows companies to maintain work continuity while ensuring the health and safety of field technicians by reducing physical contact with other employees. This is possible thanks to mobile access to all crucial information and reporting of work progress straight from the field. This eliminates the constant checking-in at the office. FMS tools are dedicated to facilitating the field process as much as possible so your technicians can fully focus on their work. Improved visibility of the workload and real-time optimized schedule is now literally in technician's hands, which can contribute to the enhancement of the first-time fix rate.
2. Artificial Intelligence
Today’s software uses sophisticated AI-based dispatching algorithms that can find the most qualified technician for the task and can analyze all possible routes between locations to make even more optimized schedules. It improves your capacity management and increases the number of successfully completed tasks per day.
3. Cloud solutions
In the past, field force management systems were exclusive, expensive and reserved for large companies, but this is no longer the case. Now, SME companies can also benefit and increase their operations’ efficiency thanks to a wide range of FSM software available in a cloud model. The market is competitive, so many options are extremely affordable. Having a basement full of servers is no longer an excuse for not investing in a solution that will allow you to profit from enhancing your field productivity.
4. Information analysis
In order to keep up with competitors, you must take everything into account. From planning the schedule for the next week to predicting the workload for the future, you need to gather past data and make the most of it. Which technician is the best for a given task? Next quarter a big campaign for your services will be launched, so should you hire more specialists? All information can be valuable, but it is impossible for one person to manage it all. Fortunately, this technology can do most of this for you. It can keep track of your employee’s skills and certificates, make the workload forecast for the upcoming months and calculate the statistics for you. Meanwhile, you can focus on more important matters.
If your company uses more than one system, you should consider creating one digital work environment instead of jumping from one software to another. Otherwise, your employees may waste their precious time digging into various tools to get one piece of information. By linking all of the systems together, you will not only speed up your daily operations, but also boost their quality – enabling the systems to “talk” with each other ensures that your data will always be up-to-date.
Field force management: productivity has never been so key as now
The nature of field service is changing – it’s even more mobile today than it was few years ago. Sure, it is still all about going out to provide services, but with the right field force management software, it can be done simpler, faster and more efficiently . If you just tell the workers residual data about what to do, when they should do it and where it is, you can only expect the work to get done. But if you expect better results such as resolving issues during the first visit or completing more tasks per day, you should understand that your team needs the support of the right tools to make the most of their work. Start making changes now and benefit from the improvements that a specialized field force management system ensures.