5 Action Items to Improve the Productivity of Your Field Service Engineers
One of the primary concerns of service leaders in the productivity of their field engineers. Due to a lack of monitoring capabilities, it is frequently unknown what is causing productivity issues in the field team. Another issue that keeps service leaders on their toes is low team motivation.
While service leaders look forward to having a team of self-motivated field service engineers, performing maintenance jobs with self-driven honesty and integrity, it is known to all that teams don’t stay driven all of the time. They don’t react appropriately in all situations or take the best course of action with minimal supervision, or always work in the best interests of customers.
In many situations, field service productivity appears to be an unattainable goal, especially when the goal is to drive productivity among all the engineers in the team. However, many companies with field service operations claim to have increased productivity by 30 to 60 percent by implementing long-term changes in their operations. What changes have they adopted?
Here is a list of five productivity action items that businesses have implemented to increase productivity and operational profitability.
Save on Time
While many field service crew members complain about the extensive use of field activity tracking and monitoring tools, field service companies see it as a necessary evil.
The issue arises when there is a conflict between the goals of tracking and monitoring. This conflict arises as a result of managers’ failure to focus on critical details rather than positively motivating service engineers to achieve the desired outcome.
As with the increased use of technologies, service leaders have access to high-end field service management designed for managing and remotely monitoring field activities. Service leaders should use this as an opportunity to identify productivity gaps, such as time spent on specific activities or difficulties with inventory or resource allocation. This can significantly improve productivity by identifying these gaps and facilitating proactive measures to address the gaps. However, getting hands on the right field service software is important. Depending on their business-specific requirement, service leaders may find a ready-to-use third-party app or may require developing software with unique features. Thus it is important to rightly assess and make the decision around build vs buy software.
Many field service engineers blame managers for improper task allocation and incomplete field job details, which result in a lower first-time fix rate and poor customer satisfaction levels.
Managers, on the other hand, are not entirely to blame because they, too, struggle with humongous paper-based processes that have little or no visibility into daily tasks, work order progress, field team scheduling, and approvals for invoice and payment processes.
While many field service organizations have moved away from paper-based processes, the tools they use for planning and managing field service operations are still not fully integrated into comprehensive processes. It is critical to use field service tools that connect all operational processes so that managers have complete visibility into field activities. They can analyze the real-time scenario and make more effective, evidence-based decisions with operational visibility.
One of the reasons for a drop-in field service engineer productivity is a lack of information on the job site. Most service technicians complain that they were not fully informed about the type of service request, equipment type, and dues held, resulting in service delivery delays.
In another case, a field service engineer expressed his dissatisfaction with his inability to access service handbooks and troubleshooting procedures in order to complete a repair task. Surprisingly such bottlenecks can be considerably mended by enabling service professionals to employ an automated field service management tool.
The issue is that not every service tool is capable of providing offline access to data and documents, which is essential for delivering uninterrupted service. This is due to the fact that engineers are frequently required to work in terrain with low or poor network connectivity. However, accessibility is not solely a software issue. Mobile phones used by field service personnel are also a problem, which leads to the next action item, i.e hardware.
A field service engineer must be provided with the appropriate tools, spare parts, inventory, and mobile phones to resolve a service request. Field service mobile phones play an important role in service delivery here. It’s because consumer-grade phones aren’t built to be used in rough terrain. The best mobile phones for field teams are those that can withstand extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, as well as dust, storm, and water submersion for at least 30 minutes.
When it comes to tools, field service managers must make certain that the right technician has the right tool for the job. While sophisticated field service scheduling software is required, managers need to ensure that the field crew is also equipped with the right hardware to support the software in any terrain.
Reduced Administrative Tasks
Although the field service industry has moved away from manual data collection and management processes, not many field service engineers would agree that a field service CRM solution is convenient.
Most solutions are brittle and cluttered, which adds to the burden of record-keeping, managing call logs, visit-in and visit-out timings, and so on, consuming field service engineers’ valuable time. To reduce manual data upkeep, it is critical to use a field CRM that is simple to use and has AI-backed features.
With the passage of time, field service management has evolved. The use of digital tools has made it easier for service managers to increase productivity and efficiency while not overburdening field teams.