Mobilizing field force
Business is becoming increasingly mobile and to better manage employees in the field, Enterprises want visibility more than ever, to what is happening on the ground. Field service management solutions enable enterprises to get information from the field staff on real-time basis along with host of contextual data and thus make the process more intelligent, the employee more efficient and the customer happier. Field service management opens up newer opportunities to review and improve your business operations and offer a more “informed” top-down assessment of current business.
Challenges in field service management:
- Meeting customer expectations: The whole customer engagement paradigm has changed over the last few years. Customers today expect certain level of preventive maintenance and compare service quality across industries. Today, service satisfaction not only determines customer loyalty, but is imperative to ensure continuous revenue.
- Spare parts Inventory management: The onus to update spare part utilization today lies with the data entry team, which is prone to errors, missing service papers and erroneous service reports among others.
- Real time view and communication: Not knowing the location of the field staff on real time basis put a huge disadvantage both in terms of productivity and cost. Location information clearly helps prioritize and allocate service calls in an optimum way, and drives cost and customer satisfaction goals.
- Capturing voice of customer: The actual voice of the customer is not getting across to the right stakeholders in the enterprise since it is dependent on the field staff to capture and share it proactively.
- Service delivery optimization: Allocation of service tickets allocation to right service engineer, which goes beyond not only finding resource with right skill sets and limited workload, but also includes elements of location proximity to customer and spare parts availability. This will help harness better results for both customer and organization and avoid un-necessary travel and delays.
The right solution:
Field service management mobile application can help enterprises respond to the above challenges.
There are two key components for this solutions that work together seamlessly:
- A smartphone and tablet based application, which primarily retrieves assigned work orders, captures data and uploads data back to server.
- A web portal application, which can have a host of functionalities right from user management to ticket assignment, analytics, re-allocation etc.
Field service management mobility application allows context based execution, which the manager has access to the following parameters up-front and uses them to assign the best possible field engineer for a given situation:
- Skills and certification levels of engineers
- Current number of open tickets at engineer level
- Recent work done by each engineers
- Real time location of complete field force
- Recent overtime assessment
- Priority of current task
- Priority of new task
- Availability and location of spare parts
There are multiple advantages of using this application that result in reducing costs and improving efficiencies:
- Reduction in manpower cost – there is no longer a need of separate manpower for data entry. Entire service report can be synchronized and various analytics can be pulled from web portal.
- Improved productivity – there is no need for field executives to collect work order physically from office. The mobile application acts like a single point of reference for various information like customer contact, products, service details etc. and the work order can be downloaded as and when assigned.
- Reduction in travel cost – A field executive is able to now plan his route accordingly and is not required to visit the branch on a daily basis, thereby resulting in saving of fuel allowance.
- Improved customer satisfaction-As the allocation & update is on the move through the mobile application, it helps in improved turnaround time to customer resulting in better customer satisfaction
- Voice of customer – Helps track voice of customer by capturing image, audio and video recording along with customer co-ordinates.
- Authentication of the field force feedback – The application helps to track the individual track for the day which gives a cross check whether the executive has traveled the required path for the calls or not. Also data uploaded are time and location stamped.
Tips for decision making:
When is the right time for an enterprise to invest in this solution? Enterprises ticking a yes to any three of the below parameters will want to look at this solution right away:
- Your organisation has multiple field executives, who continuously need to be co-ordinated and guided
- You’re looking to increase the average number of calls per field executive per day
- You’re expanding on product line and geographies
- Customer satisfaction is the most important agenda driving your decisions
- You want to bring down the operation cost without compromising the quality.
Mobility solutions allows enterprises to achieve the benefits of efficient field service management without the traditional complexity, cost and management overhead. Historically, such solutions were requiring high initial capital investments, relied on proprietary hardware and software, sometimes failed to deliver reliable communication network or access to critical business information and faced limited integration with mission-critical field service systems.
The landscape is changing over the last few years with high adoption of smart phones and tablets along with better and high speed communication network coverage. The cost for such solutions have come down significantly and the math is working our right now regarding return on investments. It is imperative to equip field engineers with tools which will not only make their life easy but has significant impact on customer satisfaction and enterprise bottom line.