This article will be part of a series on Field Service covering capabilities, industry trends, best practices and thought-leadership.
What is Field Service Management?
At its heart, field service is simply about the four “Rs” – delivering to the right person, at the right place, at the right time, with the right tools.
Field service management is crucial to project success as it ensures that the field service work is being completed in accordance with customer expectations – within their budget, timelines, and quality specifications. Field service management is, essentially, the last mile of the customer experience.
Field service management (FSM) is arguably one of the most important service competencies to master. After all, in many cases the field service technicians who are working on the job site will be the only face-to-face interaction that a customer will have with a field service organization. It’s also during this time that customers are actively assessing how the field service organization meeting their commitments and how effectively they are delivering the service they promised.
For many companies, delivering high-quality field service work that’s on-time and on-budget, as well as cost-effective and efficient, hasn’t been an easy task. Consider that field service organizations have historically been the domain of dispatchers using spreadsheets, field workers tracking and completing work orders using paper and pencil, and service organizations communicating via phone calls, SMS and email.
Add to this the complexity of managing a remote workforce, increasingly complex products and services, and increasing consumer expectations, it’s no wonder that for many organizations field service has been one of the biggest operational challenges for their service organization.
What are the Benefits of Field Service Management?
There’s no question that cloud and mobile technology have made it much easier for organizations to adopt field service software and automate and optimize core work processes like scheduling, dispatching, collaborating, and work order and case management.
The benefits to organizations using field service management solutions are tremendous. Consider the following:
- Increased service revenue — A recent field service benchmark study by TSIA show that field service leaders derive almost double the revenue from services compared to their peers.
- Operational efficiencies – An Aberdeen study indicates that simply enabling workers with mobile devices result in 7% productivity increase.
- Improved metrics – An Alcatel study shows that among best-in-class organizations Field Service management along with CRM, Knowledge Management and Portals and similar solutions are pivotal for improving First-Time Fix Rates (FTFR) and Customer Satisfaction.
Here at Hitachi Solutions we’re helping our customers move beyond simple efficiency gains; we are now leveraging deep analytics and predictive engines powered by Azure Services and Power BI to shape and deliver new service experiences, predict and prevent equipment issues, and create new revenue opportunities that ultimately improve margins. The cumulative effect of this has led to service organizations beginning to understand and unleash the strategic value of Field Service in driving revenue growth, customer satisfaction and productivity.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a revolutionary new cloud-based business management platform that provides powerful, mobile-optimized field service capabilities. The Dynamics 365 Field Service business application uses an intuitive interface with tightly integrated workflows, processes, and data that deliver the benefits of field service easier than ever.
Making Field Service Management Work for Your Business
So, what are the things you need to keep in mind when considering what field service management can do for your organization?
Focusing on these three key areas will help you prioritize the activities that deliver operational excellence and drive customer value:
Optimize and automate core processes – Ensure managers are able to optimize routing and improve delivery times by providing visibility into field operations. Automating dispatch and scheduling systems lets you review and compare routes while taking into account road construction and peak traffic times. Tie processes from account review, case management and work order creation together in order to make the process seamless and less prone to mistakes and miscommunication.
Focus on enabling people – This means that you need to give dispatchers the tools to make informed decisions and automate tasks. Provide manual, automated and optimized routing and scheduling options to give schedulers the ability to optimize field technician utilization.
Give field service agents proactive driving directions, guided workflows and checklists, the ability to record photographs and capture a signature from the customer from their mobile devices. Also provide them the ability to schedule follow-up work orders directly from a mobile application.
Leverage data – Information collected from field service management software such as work order activities, time stamps, GPS data, customer feedback, technician skills and utilizations, costs and revenues, provide deep and valuable insights about service effectiveness and scheduling efficiency. Managers begin to see patterns and trends by analyzing data such as time spent at each site, routing records and delivery logs, etc. which can lead to exponentiall improvements in operations.
There’s increased recognition that field service teams are critical to delivering a differentiated experience to customers.
Cloud and mobile technology has made it much more affordable and easy for organizations to adopt field service software. It’s important to make sure that you focus on improving and automating workflows, enabling productivity with intuitive solutions, and collecting and leveraging your data to ensure your business continually improves.
For questions on which field service management solution is best for your organization, please contact Hitachi Solutions today.