While the perception is that businesses are utilizing digitization and automation at every turn, you might be surprised to know that about half are still using manual methods for field service responsibilities. These tasks could include, cycling through the work order process, routing and dispatching, and also, time and expense management. When they rely on only established, manual processes, field service companies can’t reap the benefits of access to “big data.”
For field service businesses that are collecting data, that information is still only as useful as the plans put in place to use it. Data management and the ability to parse information to find patterns is the real key. Below are some tips on using data management to improve efficiency in any organization.
It’s not feasible to expect every technician to have the same level of expertise or specialties. So, it makes sense to schedule specific technicians for certain jobs. Manual scheduling is dependent on the scheduler’s ability to remember each technician’s unique skill set (or access paperwork with relevant notes). Send a technician who lacks the right training to a certain job leads to a second visit from another tech. This can also end with an irritated customer.
Using the data housed in field service management software, schedulers have access to information that will make it easy to ensure the right technician is sent to the right job every time. Companies can build profiles on each technician that elaborate on their specialties and certifications. Additionally, data-driven smart scheduling also applies location logic to the situation so that technicians are making visits in one geographic zone each day. Collectively, drivers save time and gas while serving the most customers possible in each zone.
Using data to gain efficiency is about identifying repeat behaviors or patterns that are rife with waste. One of the most wasteful repeat behaviors is driving to and from appointments. Whether your field company services a small city or has a national footprint, your techs probably spend a good amount of their day in their vehicles. But, it is possible to shrink that time thanks to data and route planning.
Fleet vehicles enabled with GPS trackers deliver drive-time data that’s prime for analysis. Leadership can comb for details like which neighborhoods, streets, or times-of-day leave drivers battling delay-causing traffic. Reading that data can inform leadership which routes tend to be the most efficient and influence the directions drivers receive. Real-time turn-by-turn guidance can also account for unexpected traffic, delays, or road closures, helping drivers avoid holdups.
If you’re in the field service management industry, you’re keenly aware of how important it is to fix a customer’s problem on the first visit. In fact, that first-time fix rate is one of the gold standards of efficiency. By managing data that reflects on each service call, you can actually improve your percentage. With your field service management software, you should be able to notate whether a job is fixed properly on the initial visit. Leadership can then evaluate the jobs categorized as “no,” and review parameters. Like the types of jobs or technicians involved to look for patterns.
You may find that one particular technician repeatedly struggled to fix a customer’s issue on the first visit. The result was having to dispatch another technician for a follow-up. Alternatively, data may show one specific type of job often wasn’t completed because it required a tool that’s not carried on a particular truck. These insights can help leadership understand which technicians may need some additional training. And also, what tools to keep stocked at all times. Also, that can help with that first-time fix rate, and improve efficiencies across the board.
Data is a powerful tool that, when managed properly, can enhance field service management companies’ operations. EnSight+ has a fully customizable software solution that helps businesses realize efficiencies through data collection and analysis. If you’re interested in learning how our software can benefit your company, book a demo of the software today.
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