Every field service business wants to maximise its productivity—the productivity of its people, and the productivity of its assets, such as vans and equipment. The good news: it’s easier than many field service businesses think.
So in this blog we’re going to take a look at five ways to boost productivity—and at the same time, either increase sales revenues, or reduce costs.
#1 Better field service engineer scheduling
Highly trained, and skilled at what they do, field service engineers are valuable—and expensive—resources. So every field service business wants to maximise the time that their field service engineers spend adding value, and earning revenues.
This is where better field service engineer scheduling comes in, via a field service management solution. Simply put, better field service engineer scheduling aims to minimise or eliminate field service engineer downtime.
The result? A field service business’s engineers can fit in more jobs per day, and more jobs per week.
#2 Better vehicle and engineer utilisation
Quite apart from how a field service business schedules its field service engineers, it’s generally the case that route planning tools—which are often built into leading field service management solutions—play a useful role in getting engineers to their next job in the most efficient way.
Remember: although field service engineers are paid while travelling from job to job, they’re not actually earning money for your field service business until they arrive, and can start work.
So getting them there in the shortest possible time boosts their productivity. And, of course, boosts the productivity of their vans, and the equipment carried on those vans.
And by the way, better route planning also means that a field service business spends less on fuel, tyres, and vehicle maintenance.
#3 Minimise paperwork
In a similar manner, a field service business’s engineers are only really adding value when they are directly maintaining or repairing equipment.
Anything else—while still regarded as ‘part of the job’—is in fact a distraction or a waste, and a cause of lost productivity.
Top of the list of such wastes are administrative chores, such as form-filling.
The good news: leading field service management solutions help field service businesses to minimise or eliminate such activities, through electronic forms and smart handheld devices.
The result: your field service engineers spend more time directly maintaining or repairing equipment, and less time on administrative chores that don’t add value.
#4 Improved ‘first time fix’ rates
Fairly obviously, a major drain on productivity is returning to a customer’s premises to service or repair a piece of equipment, after failing to successfully complete the task on a prior visit.
Yet such return visits are surprisingly common: many field service businesses, in fact, have quite poor ‘first time fix’ rates.
Why are first time fix rates so poor? There are many reasons, but topping the list are such common occurrences as mis-described faults, poor field service engineer allocation in terms of skills and capabilities, and lack of the relevant spare parts.
While a field service management solution won’t completely eliminate first time fix failures, it’s undeniable that such solutions can help to improve a poor first time fix rate—and in the process, boost productivity.
#5 More realistic targets
Finally, as I’ve said, field service management software allows field service businesses to schedule their field service engineers more accurately.
But that better scheduling turns out to have an unexpected fringe benefit: because the resulting schedules are firmly based on achievable fact, not broad assumptions, the resulting field service engineer targets are also firmly based on achievable fact.
Meaning that they are realistic—giving management a firm platform from which to ask probing questions, should those targets not be met.