The effective management of field teams requires planning and a method capable of confirming that everything is being done correctly. And, of course, it is essential to be able to audit all the information and the key indicators.
It is not just about your customers not complaining about the service provided, or about your employees stating their concerns regarding poor service coordination.
A good Field Service Management (FSM) system is certainly a challenge for those who have to coordinate operations, regardless of the means that we place at their disposal. It is clear that the better these means are, the more convenient and flexible the system will be and the better the final outcome.
The first step is to do away with Excel spreadsheets that simply arrange all the tasks into a complicated puzzle. Stop providing workers with “static” routes on paper. Forget about reports on paper that you then have to enter into the system in the office to feed a customer’s dossier and prepare the billing process.
We can assume as read that these practices are extremely inefficient and, fortunately, for many, they are a thing of the past.
If you adopt a software solution for your FSM system, you will be able to organise your workers, locate work sites, plan work orders, and review the state of every task, whether pending or completed. In addition, these FSM solutions can generate reports and provide, in the best of cases, dashboards to allow you to see how the processes are developing at a glance and have a clear overall view of how things are being done. And all this results in improved service quality, transport times, internal and external communications, and in better customer service.
But that’s not all. If you really want to implement a good management system, you need some essential indicators that will tell you whether the work system is appropriate or whether it needs improving. What are those indicators and how can you improve them?
- FTF (First-Time Fix Rate). This is clearly the most important indicator. It indicates how frequently workers solve incidents during the first visit to a customer. This requires two important factors: you must send the person with the appropriate skills and he must have the necessary tools (and spare parts if required) to do the job. Productivity and profitability are directly proportional to this indicator.
To improve this indicator, you must first provide your technicians with the appropriate training so they have the skills to solve an issue or, if they are unable to do it themselves, to refer the issue. And, of course, you must assign the most highly qualified expert to each task. Based on these two premises, you will need a tool that allows you to assign certain tasks to your most highly qualified people, or provide them with the necessary documentation at the right time. In this case, the software can be very helpful.
- MTTS (Mean Time to Service): This is the average amount of time that elapses from the moment notification of an incident is received until the field technicians arrive to resolve it. This indicator depends on good organisation, having the appropriate protocols in place to ensure these times are as tight as possible. At this point, specialised software can be a great ally once again. If, in addition, you have signed SLAs (Service Level Agreements) with customers, you must also be sure to comply with the agreements included in service contracts by assigning priorities when appropriate.
- MTTR (Mean Time to Repair): This is the average time needed to resolve an incident. This may include the notification, diagnostics, repair/assembly, calibration, and checks. And back to the same concept: it’s all about your personnel’s skills and the correct allocation of human and material resources. This indicator is directly affected by the availability of the inventory and of real time data through mobile applications and software solutions.
- Loss of service revenue: Income can be lost for a number of reasons, such as poor information and poor communications regarding the details of each contract. Service contracts are often warranty extensions; however, a worker may not be aware of this when performing a task or he may not know which parts are covered. It is difficult to track errors regarding invoicing using pen and paper and traditional filing systems. Centralised software solutions with access to customers’ contracts can automatically establish, and at the relevant moment, what can be invoiced and what should not.
Our Task4Work solution (100% cloud based and mobile) has been designed to monitor all these indicators and much more. If you would like more information, please contact us without obligation and you can see it working on any computer or device.