Any business with far-flung assets knows the importance of good field service management. Failing to get the right people to the right place at the right time – especially in an emergency – is not only bad for business, but it can also be bad for the company’s reputation.
There are, however, countless opportunities for businesses to improve and streamline their field service management. Utilities, for instance, can use field service management software to dispatch work orders to their own staff and outsourced contractors in their network. Businesses can use predictive maintenance algorithms to determine when assets need to be serviced or maintained.
Focusing on improving field service management can have a transformative effect on today’s utility companies, and more of them are coming to this realization. One recent study found that digital initiatives are a top priority among utility chief information officers. Another disclosed that 58% of electric providers and 54% of gas providers are currently digitizing their distribution and automating their networks.
Still, there are many common misconceptions about the field service management solutions available in the marketplace. Let’s focus on the top three:
This is a common misconception because traditional solutions are a lot of work. However, if management does its due diligence, there are several easy-to-implement solutions available to meet the challenges in field service management. We have seen countless organizations spin up a fully customized field service solution in less than a week without using IT resources. That doesn’t seem hard, does it?
Many field service solutions are costly. If business leaders look hard enough, they can find inexpensive solutions that can pay for themselves immediately. The gains in efficiency from field service management software far outweigh the costs and, in most cases, can achieve a positive return from day one. In fact, there is evidence that using digital productivity and back-office automation tools can result in a 20% to 30% increase in profitability
This is by far the biggest misconception. In these organizations, upper management clearly doesn’t understand the magnitude of the issue.
Imagine a paper-based field service management organization. Work orders come in from many directions (customer request, storm repair, routine maintenance, etc.). Schedulers or managers must prioritize these service requests and put them in some kind of queue (typically in Excel). Using Excel can lead to incorrect address information or even superimposing data on the wrong line.
That service request then needs to get into the hands of a technician. And the tech then needs to go to the location and perform the work. The work order then needs to be documented on paper. That paper must make its way back to the office and the data needs to be entered into a system or some Excel file to keep track of what was done.
What happens to the paper evidence if the data entry department mistyped something? When or if it rains and the paper gets wet and becomes illegible, then what? What about photos of the worksite? How are these orders tied back to the service request if they’re being captured? Layers upon layers of tasks can be streamlined by simply implementing the right field service management practices.
In a survey of power and utility executives, improved productivity and reliability topped the list of outcomes they sought from digitally transforming their operations. The right field services management tools can help to reach these goals. Your company will know it has the right people in the right place at the right time.
All monitored by you, in real time. Are you ready to take control?