Proper job management and worker deployment are critical to a successful field service operation. Digital field service technology and schedule optimization can help businesses circumvent manual processes and streamline field worker dispatch to maintain exceptional customer service and differentiate their brand amongst competitors, explains Brad Hawkins, SVP of Products and Solutions at ServicePower.
In the field service industry, companies must excel in all major key functional business areas to achieve success. Exceptional customer service, informed field workers, and an organized, rapid response are just some elements organizations must possess to maintain a quality reputation and differentiate their brand from competitors.
While many factors make up successful field service workflows, properly managing jobs and worker deployment is central to a high-achieving and profitable field service operation. Schedule optimization technology can help businesses circumvent manual processes and streamline field worker dispatch to increase the number of jobs completed per day while improving the customer service experience through higher schedule adherence and increased first-time fix rates.
Coordinating Jobs for Efficiency
Field service requests can range from single residential repairs to onsite insurance adjudication to multi-job commercial installations. Keeping numerous requests organized is essential to an efficient operation, and field service management software (FSM) offers tools that eliminate the downtime between jobs and maximize worker productivity. Schedule optimization technology allows providers to create job dependencies that streamline a succession of work orders based on priority and order functionality. Suppose multiple tasks are dependent on the completion of the prior assignment. In that case, FSM technology can assign consecutive shifts and ensure that a field worker is scheduled to be onsite once a prerequisite job is completed. The ability to group jobs based on order dependency improves the time required to complete successive assignments and optimizes field worker time.Â
Not only can scheduling software coordinate job dependencies, but it can also flag orders contingent on equipment parts. It is essential that when a technician arrives on-site, they are equipped with the knowledge and tools required to perform the job well. Suppose a service request depends on the availability of a specific part. In that case, FSM software should ensure that a technician is not dispatched or assigned to a particular job before the piece is delivered or restocked. Should a provider aim to schedule a job without the proper parts or previous tasks completed, the system will flag a request in jeopardy, alerting managers that this job cannot be completed before addressing the preconditions. The largest complaint from customers is that technicians cannot resolve problems in one visit. This process improves technician efficiency by only dispatching workers when it is known that they are equipped to finish tasks, increasing both operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Employing Smarter Systems
Scheduling optimization significantly impacts field service productivity overall, including company Return On Investment (ROI) measurements like utilization and service-level agreement (SLA) achievement rates. Service schedules are complex, and maximizing their productivity requires careful consideration of several factors, including route logistics, weather, traffic conditions, product information, and the technician’s schedule. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities allow technicians to save valuable time by predicting the best route between jobs through latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates or by addresses so that more jobs are completed per day. AI also ensures that each schedule maximizes technician utilization based on experience and capacity without overburdening them. These carefully constructed schedules mean more jobs can be completed with fewer technicians in the same amount of time.
Additionally, FSM technology increases the visibility into operations with collaborative dashboards, notifications and real-time communication between customers and field workers, sending automated alerts to consumers regarding the worker’s location or work status update. These intelligent capabilities increase transparency. Customer portals integrated with the complete scheduling optimization system allow clients to control the job process â€“ making appointments following their schedule and updating work logs with photos of the equipment. This information is communicated within the entire system, and technicians can be assigned based on time of day, the skill set needed and location of the customer request, ensuring that the customer is delighted with every interaction.
Many myths exist about field service management technology that focus on high adoption price or integration complexities. However, it is a tool that can help an industry that relies on positive customer service but is bogged down by manual processes. In many cases, field service is the primary touchpoint between a business and its customers, meaning brand and reputation relies heavily on an efficient way to manage the businesses’ key commodity â€“ its technicians. By optimizing scheduling and planning for workers and their jobs, field service software will provide increased ROI for those who aim to enhance performance, mitigate costs, and provide exceptional customer service.
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