Field Service Management is experiencing dramatic changes thanks to the mainstreaming and integration of IT, mobility and communications technologies.
These technologies have had a very positive effect on field service teams, making them more productive and achieving new levels of service quality.Concepts such as Big Data and the more recent Internet of Things (IoT) are becoming increasingly integrated in this context. Based on this integration, in the short and medium term we shall see many services that will undoubtedly generate significant savings for both clients and the companies that provide the services.
Let’s quickly review the five trends that are clearly leading to profound changes in the design and development of these services that are closely linked to mobility.
1. Internet of Things
This technology is inspiring many of the developments in the logistics and mobility ecosystem; optimising operations prior to visiting a customer. According to the consultancy firm, Gartner, there will be more than 26,000 million devices connected to the internet by 2020, in addition to computers, mobile phones and tablets, thanks to the IoT.
The new devices will not only collect accurate data on the stocks of a vending machine, but also incorporate geopositioning data. Processing these data conveniently will help us configure the service more adequately before visiting a customer. GPS technologies can also help to control a company’s fleet of vehicles with a view to optimising routes and assigning unforeseen tasks to field workers.
2. More powerful and capable mobile devices.
Notebooks, forms and reports on paper are outdated. The new Field Service Management solutions enable us to manage all the routes from a centralised position and allow workers to report in real time. In addition, workers’ devices offer value-added services for customers.
For example, they can be prepared to tackle a breakdown by being familiar with all the details in advance; thus, reducing the time and travel required to solve the issue. They can generate orders when visiting the customer by being aware of the actual availability of products (even get customers to sign on electronic forms), issue invoices and collect payments. This obviously implies huge administrative savings. Previously, these tasks were only possible after workers returned to the office.
3. Preventive and predictive maintenance
Connected devices will change the way we carry out maintenance tasks. They make work more proactive and preventive, resulting in large savings and greater customer satisfaction.
For example, a particular sensor on a piece of equipment can trigger alarms and directly communicate with the maintenance company, which will then be able to attend earlier than planned on the regular servicing schedule. Process automation linked to Field Service Management results in improvements in productivity and customer service.
4. New possibilities provided by Big Data
The continued input of information from devices or the real-time positioning of a field team and the tasks they have performed generates huge amounts of data. Appropriately processed, these data can help us detect inefficiencies, reduce costs, strengthen certain work routes or even change services and create new ones. All this helps us adapt to a real situation that we can receive and analyse in real time, thus identifying new opportunities.
We no longer have to use our intuition, since the value of the new analytical process resides in the responses we can achieve using the appropriate Business Intelligence tools , which give real meaning to data.
5. Process integration.
This is very important to ensure that we make the most of each solution by working closely with others. As the back office, mobile devices and Field Service Management solutions continue to integrate; the opportunities to improve efficiency and productivity will grow exponentially.
Managers will be able to make decisions based on instant information. And employees will also benefit: they can optimise their tasks, ask for assistance from colleagues, complete their work in a shorter time and requiring fewer visits… All this reduces operating costs and improve customer satisfaction.
An appropriate mobility structure like the one provided by Task4Work and a specialist provider covering all these fields (a privileged situation that Intelligence Partner enjoys) can respond to many of the challenges that organisations have in relation to Field Service Management processes. This eliminates the duplication of data, automates processes, enhances productivity and leaves behind competitors that still base their management on paper.
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