Making the Move to Mobility: Why It Is Essential for Field Service Organizations
Scan a regular day of your life and try to figure out how many times your efficiency towards any job has been backed by the ‘mobility’ offered by your smart devices. You reach office on time because you got to map the less congested route, your daughter is travelling alone, and though miles away you are keeping an eye on her safety by tracking her location, your son calls you up with some academic concern, and despite being on-the-move, you managed to search and share good content on the topic to help him out. So, mobility keeps you connected and lets you efficiently handle multiple jobs.
From our day-to-day personal anecdotes, we can easily make out that mobile-based solutions help us in becoming more efficient, but is mobility equally effective in transforming the operational efficiency of field service organizations or is it just a buzz word echoing under the technological wave.
Mobility: Facts & Figures
The findings of a ‘mobile field service’ survey conducted by Aberdeen Group on 220 organizations reveal that:
- Enterprises defined as best-in-class, exhibited 90% average first-time fix performance while for other organizations it was only 70%.
- Similarly, the best-in-class organizations exhibited 76% average level of workforce utilization while for others it was just 54%.
- The competitive maturity assessment of the organizations showcased that the firms enjoying best-in-class performance are nearly two times more likely to have a mobile application for their field services as compared to others
- Through mobile deployments, they are more than three times likely to integrate field data with enterprise system in real-time as compared to others
- Best in class organizations reported experiencing nearly two times improvements in their field service productivity.
Many organizations are incorporating mobile-based technologies through field service management software for exploring new possibilities to solve some of the key tactical challenges pertaining to field services.
Competitive Maturity – Benchmarking Requirements for Creating Service-Led-Differentiation
Mobile solutions are not just limited for back-and-forth communication between field and back office, rather it is a pervasive solution that has come a long way since its humble beginnings. First, it is to understand what are your requirements to achieve best-in-class performance in the domain of field services.
- Can something be done so that your field agents waste less time travelling on the road than agents from other organizations?
- Won’t it help your field agents deliver better services if they are provided with the facility of integrating field data with enterprise systems in real-time?
- Can you do away with the complexities of pen and paper culture and facilitate automated data capturing and uploading?
- Can collaboration and visibility across all levels of the organization be made more real-time and transparent?
- Can the capabilities of a field agent go beyond the routine work of standard maintenance?
Mobile-based solutions offered by field service software can support a field engineer to transform into a revenue-generating agent by equipping him with automated contract renewal and quote generation capabilities, onsite inventory visibility, real-time access to enterprise data, real-time connection with back office, etc.
Not just mobility enables you to develop and nourish a service-ready workforce, but it also provides solutions to all key business KPIs such as field workforce utilization and productivity, field workforce monitoring, order-to-cash cycle, cross-sell/up-sell services and customer satisfaction. In nutshell, Mobility helps you create service-led-differentiation by delivering automated solutions for many of your requirements.
The Grass is Greener on Your Side
Mobility as a technology has a lot to offer and it’s up to you how to score on it. Field service organizations must brainstorm around realizing the depth of capabilities needed in field service management software to meet their requirements targeted towards field service empowerment. Organizations, which have been successful with mobile deployments have reaped the benefits of mobility to enhance their operational efficiency in various ways, such as:
- Automated job-scheduling, based on filters like location proximity, technician availability etc.
- Real-time visibility and updates to all stakeholders
- Strengthened collaboration among field engineers
- Reduced long billing cycle times
- Improved workforce utilization and productivity
- Managing a shift from reactive maintenance to proactive maintenance
- Offering a remote resolution of the problem
- Service agents empowered with the right information at the right time
- Reduced reliance on paperwork and elimination of unnecessary administrative tasks
- Centralized data storing and real-time knowledge sharing capabilities
So far, mobility has been the most impactful technology to disrupt field service management. Field service, by its very nature, is an on-the-move job so the mobility-imposed flexibility is much needed for the whole system to function, especially when there is ever-increasing pressure on efficiency and productivity to reduce costs.
Leaping from Traditional to Mobile-Based Approach – What to Expect?
What can you expect, if as an enterprise, you switch to mobile-based solutions? What potential solutions can field service management software offer to overcome your field service management challenges.
The traditional approach in field services often leads to manual data entry errors, low technician productivity, lack of performance visibility, inaccurate capture of repair costs, expired maintenance contract, missed opportunities of potential sales (cross-selling/ up-selling), etc.
For such challenges, Field Service software can offer potential solutions such as on-site access to a knowledge portal for referring past resolutions of similar issues, electronic data capturing, dynamic scheduling, access to standard operating procedures for diagnosis, Google Map integration, service request status update and alerts, automated capture of repair-related costs, access to contract information, automated suggestion of follow-up services, and much more.
Empowering Field Service Agents
Enabling field agents with field service app helps in increasing their efficiency and productivity by providing them the support of automation in performing key activities such as service ticket assignment, allocation and acceptance; timesheet filing; expense report creation and submission; routing/navigation information and others. This helps in improving both service and dispatch cycle times, thus making the business processes more efficient, paperless and user-friendly.
Inventory management is critical for field services and a high costing goes into the holding of the spare parts in the inventory and this often erodes the profitability. But through mobile-based solutions real-time spare parts requirements can be captured and even real-time inventory visibility can be maintained.
Reduce Invoice Approval and Billing Cycle Time
Long billing cycles bother customers a lot. But mobility facilitates onsite billing, capturing of customer signature and electronic transmission of billing details. Through Field Service Management software, better customer experience can be delivered in a lot more ways. Just through one tap, customers can instantly access service history or check out information around maintenance contract, warranty coverage, etc. They can make real-time service requests and have real-time visibility into the scheduled technician’s location. At their convenience, they can make payments on their site and quickly voice their experience through automated feedback mechanisms.
Mobility is a pervasive solution which is here only to evolve further as its stakes are still increasing by embracing new tools and features. It is a ‘must-to-have’ solution and not just a ‘good-to-have’ option for a field service organization, especially if it is seriously looking for a way forward to achieve competitive maturity over its counterparts. However, its adoption is not finite, rather organizations have to keep advancing their Field Service Management software by integrating new mobility-centric models to remain competitive in the field service industry.
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