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Roadblocks in Effective Field Service Management & Ways to Overcome Them

07 June 2016
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Efficiency is one such word that not just defines but also drives success for a business. If you own a company that uses field workforce to provide service to customers at their doorstep, you might be well aware about the term ‘field service management’. The term in itself has created much hype over the recent years but what we are talking about in this post is all about ‘effective field service management’.

Everyone wants to succeed and each one of us has seen ups and downs in business and also faced certain hurdles in the path to success.

If we talk about field service management sector, then it is assumed that managing your field service and keeping your customers happy is tougher as compared to businesses based on brick & mortar model. But, this fact is no longer valid.

Technology has brought a drastic change in field service management trends by making it more efficient & user friendly. I have talked about some roadblocks that hamper field service along with ways to eradicate them in order to move towards effective field service management.

 

 

#1. Lack of remote tracking:

 

 

One of the major roadblock for an effective field service management is the time and cost involved to serve the customer once a service request is raised.

The service field workers have no idea of the kind of issue before reaching the customer’s site. Only after they reach the site, they conduct an initial diagnosis and start the procedure to fix the issue. This generally takes longer time than required and reduces the productivity of the engineers.

This can be eradicated by developing a diagnostic tool catering the real time access to the real time information. If your service engineer knows beforehand that the client is having so and so problem with the equipment, he might anticipate the probable damage and carry with him the parts accordingly.

This is surely going to lead to customer satisfaction and delight on one hand and result in saving time and improving the efficiency of the field worker on the other. A perfect strategy for an effective field service management!

 

#2. Dependency on scheduled maintenance in lieu of predictive maintenance:

 

Another roadblock in any field service management is the reliance on scheduled maintenance rather predictive maintenance. Field service management is a complex function involving high maintenance requirements and costs.

This is because the organizations need to deploy more resources at higher costs in order to maintain the production and safety of the workers. As of now, most of the organizations have a standard maintenance schedule for servicing the equipment. However, these schedule maintenances do not take into account the possible risks and failures that can lead to possible downtime in between such schedules. Thus, an over-reliance on scheduled maintenance turns out to be a major roadblock for an effective field service management, leading to several gaps in maintenance needs.

This can be eradicated by adopting predictive maintenance strategies customised to your organization. By following this approach you will be able to identify various risk factors at an early stage, thereby reducing maintenance costs and untimely outage. It will not only increase the equipment uptime but also be less heavy on your pockets and a perfect strategy for an effective field service management.

 

#3. Improper scheduling of various field activities:

 

Field service activities involve a lot of tasks that are dependent on each other.  A lack of real time visibility of each activity is bound to affect the timelines of delivery and the management of various tasks. Since no schedule is known, there are times when there is an unequal distribution of work among the various field workers, leaving some workers as over allocated while the others as under allocated. This leads to an inefficient field service management.

The solution lies in facilitating complex tracking and scheduling through the field service management app. Through a field service management app you can very well enjoy the ease of analysis and real time tracking. It will help you allocate work among your workers in a more efficient and productive manner in accordance with their current workload. Apart from this, the continual update of job status by the field worker will help you track if the job is carried out in time or not. You will be in a better position to cater to the needs and demands of your customers which is the key to any effective field service management.

 

#4. Loss of expertise and knowledge:

 

Ideally, in every organization, workers come and go but their movement should not affect the working of the organization but does that really happen? Businesses are complex and so do their equipment and maintenance. Most of the times, the new service engineer has no clue to the work of the previous service engineer and has lesser knowledge and understanding of the equipment. This loss of expertise and knowledge impacts the efficiency and productivity of new resources.

This can be eradicated by the digitization of manuals for easy access to information. A field service management software having the the digitization of manuals will provide an immediate access to highly specialized information to the new service engineers as well. These digital alternatives would be user friendly, cost effective less time consuming improving productivity and efficiency.

 

#5. Lack of real-time information on spare parts

 

Your business has a large team of field technicians that work on a daily basis for operations including installations, service demo, repairs, annual maintenance, etc. Once the service engineer reaches the customer site and assesses the equipment, he need to provide a timeframe to complete the service request. No adequate real time information on the availability of spare parts will make it difficult for the engineer to commit a particular timeframe. Even if he does so, there might be delays due to non-availability or no stock of that particular spare part.  

If you are in such an industry, you would like to have field service management software that can provide the field officers real-time information on spare parts. A better visibility into spare part availability will ensure that all your servicing requests are being carried out in time, thereby improving customer experience and laying the foundation for an effective field service management.

 

#6. Lack of Customization:

 

Another roadblock in any effective field service management is the adaption of any ERP software without considering that whichever ERP you choose, it would have some features which will never be used in your case or some which will be missing. Also, it proves to be too costly.

 

#7. Delay in filing reports and generation of the invoice

The time lag between service completion and invoice generation is another challenge faced by the businesses in field service sector. This is mainly due to the paper based reports and often leads to the loss in revenue or a delay in the revenue realization. In both cases, it is heavy on the business and should be eradicated.
 
The best way to overcome this time lag is the deployment of a proper field service management app which is customised to the business. With a customized software app, the service completion and invoice generation is instant and thus, better revenue analytics and tracking is facilitated.


Conclusion:

 

When you talk of field service management, you need to understand that there is a lot of difference between ‘field service management’ and an ‘effective field service management’. The difference in these two terminologies can have a ‘make or break’ impact on your business. So, don’t simply go for any field service management software or an app. Analyse the potential impact and benefits choose an effective solution that empowers your business and gets you ready for the future.

 

 

 

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Lakhwinder Singh Lead Developer - Mobility

Lead Mobile App Developer, covers wide range of technologies applied to the development of websites and business applications too. Enjoys doing creative things in Mobile and is passionate about developing unique Mobile Products.

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