A recent study conducted among field service leaders, by Field Technologies Online posed the question, what are the biggest challenges that your field service organization is currently facing? The top 5 included: keeping up with increasing customer demands (46%), improving employee engagement (30%), and remaining competitive (27%). Perhaps not surprisingly however, the number one concern for field service leaders is ensuring that their field workforce is operating at optimal efficiency and productivity (53%).
Keeping field service crews on time, correctly skilled and with the right equipment and tools is a common struggle for many organizations. Add to this, extenuating circumstances such as customer no-shows and job cancellations, achieving 100% efficiency is simply not a realistic goal, however most companies are striving to reach somewhere between 87-90%. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common issues that impact operational efficiency in field service organizations, irrespective of industry:
Studies consistently show that organizations with a large unionized workforce, lose out on significant productivity compared with those who employ contractors to carry out service work. Paid by the piece rather than hourly, contractors often work up to 3 to 4 times faster. Underused resources can quickly compromise the bottom line so it’s important for companies to carefully consider their employee vs. contractor strategy when looking at improving productivity and reducing idle time.
Back office issues
While there are many efficiency gains to be made on the frontline, it’s not always technicians on a job site that are fault. From dispatchers tied up on calls, to laborious paperwork and manual data entry tasks, inefficient back office processes can significantly slow service delivery down, resulting in accumulated time wastage, leaving technicians “waiting on work”, idling on the side of the road while they’re waiting for the next job from the service department.
The right technology can be a powerful tool to help automate workflows, optimize schedules and ensure the smooth running of daily operations. Legacy systems which are slow at processing or re-optimizing orders can also negatively impact technician productivity, increasing the time it takes to dispatch work. Lack of support for the latest 4G LTE mobile devices can also result in frustrating and unnecessary delays, limiting technicians’ ability to receive real-time updates such as work orders, schedule changes or access to customer information.
Eliminating repeat reports (i.e. improving first-time fix) took the number 4 spot on the list of challenges identified in the survey, with 30% of field service leaders citing it as a cause for concern. Reducing the number of costly repeat trips and truck rolls ties in directly to the biggest challenge: the drive for optimal efficiency and productivity. There’s a delicate balance to strike between efficiency and quality and the most common complaint among operations employees about efficiency is that it affects quality. Giving technicians sufficient time to do the job the right the first time, following proper test protocols and customer sign off procedure, putting programs in place to ensure the quality of the completed work, or capturing test results can all greatly help reduce the need for repeat trips.
Want to know more? Contact us today to find out how Gogh Solutions’ operations review can help identify and reduce inefficiencies in your field service organization.