Increase Your Capabilities to Scheduling Successful Field Operations
Effective mobilization of resources is integral to successful operations. Time-accurate scheduling means that people, processes and tools are utilized to their optimal level. For instance, if the field service technician is at the client location at the right time but lacks the right tool, no way the task could be completed. Similarly, if the technician arrives at the location late, then it would reflect poorly on customers.
As resources in service operations vary from people to processes and tools to information, higher scheduling means the right combination of people, process, tool, time, and availability. Failing to do so lead to:
- High service operations cost: Clearly, poor scheduling of resources means lesser job done that overall impacts the productivity and profitability of the service operations.
- Increased frustration in the service teams: Consistent scheduling conflicts dampens the morale of the field teams. As when they are clueless about what to do in the next job or when sudden changes in the location or type of task are made in their schedule without prior notice, it becomes extremely difficult for them to plan and manage their day.
- Poor first-time fixed rate: It is quite an obvious outcome of poor scheduling. Increased first-time fixed rate also indicates reduced operational efficiency.
- Reduced customer experience: Poor scheduling directly impacts the customer experience. No customer in the era of technology likes to be waiting to get their job done.
However for service managers, making the right combination of resources each time for each job requires superhuman capabilities. It is clearly difficult to achieve manually. In light of this fact, many companies use scheduling software applications powered by AI technologies to create an effective and accurate combination, no matter how large the service teams are.
A scheduling software automates the scheduling process by providing digital capabilities which includes visibility into work order management, job creation, and team’s calendar. Scheduling manager could see what job is required to be done and could track the integrated calendar to check the availability of the field service technician nearest to the client location. A typical field service scheduling software offers following benefits:
According to a report, 74% of business leaders and executives have increased faith in automation. They believe that automation could help them effectively manage their operations, increase transparency, and drive productivity and efficiency in the field teams. The automated workflow allows them to eliminate or reduce manual intervention thus not only saving time but also money on service operations.
Automated workflow generally aimed at reducing the service cycle time to ensure faster turnaround time, which results in boosting customer satisfaction. Usually, companies with larger service operations choose customized field service solutions to automate workflow, where organizations with lesser number of professionals in the team opt for packaged software with fewer modules.
High Visibility into Service Management
Service request management includes a number of processes, which further into various jobs. Each job impacts the completion of the other job and so the processes and the service request management.
In order to ensure that each job in the sequence has been successfully completed for the next job to be pursued, service managers need deeper visibility into every aspect of the field operations. When they are able to see “what is happening in the field” and “who is doing what” in real-time, it helps them make more appropriate decisions at the right time.
With deeper visibility into actions, field service managers can determine the best response for the service request, mobilize teams with the right tools and equipment, and ensure timely and successful completion of the job within time.
Speed Up Approval and Validation Processes
Approvals and validations are the key part of field service operations. However, taking approvals and tracking validations for a geographically dispersed team like field service technicians is complicated and time-consuming. It could slow down the service cycle, leading to increased customer frustration.
Digitization of field service operations automates the approval and validation processes, resulting in transparency and high speed. The digital tools bring all stakeholders on a single platform, where they could view, manage, add, and edit documents based on their roles and authorizations. These tools allow e-sign offs providing quick and easy validations, as and when required.
Enhanced Customer Experience
The growing maturity of IoT, AI, ML, and AR have totally changed the way customer and business communication happens.
In the era of servitization where businesses are adopting outcome as a service model to curb the effects of commoditization and generate new revenue streams, brands are built on the basis of how awesome customer experience they provide.
Customer experience is the sum of all interactions at every touch point. Field service organizations in an effort to deliver excellent customer experience work their way towards streamlining service operations by digitally connecting every process. First off, it reduces the administrative burden on the team, allowing them to focus on their core job instead of managing papers. And secondly, it improves the convenience, accessibility, and effectiveness of record-management.
When field teams are empowered to do their jobs, they feel connected to the high purpose of their tasks, which is not to perform the repair works but instead achieving the company objectives. Such connections boost the morale of field service teams to do their job with confidence and peace of mind.
Types of Scheduling Applications
While most companies use field service scheduling software to schedule jobs to field service teams, there are no dearth of organizations that still rely on paper-based processes to manage the scheduling operations. Paper-based processes often create scheduling conflicts, resulting in increased turnaround time and poor first-time fixed rate.
According to a report, 52% of companies with field service operations have manual operations. In the era of technology, these figures depict a resistance to automation that may have its roots hidden in the high upfront cost of implementing a scheduling software or fear of change. However, a deeper research into the field service software management market would lead you to a range of solutions that addresses all the business segments of the sector, be it a large enterprise or a small company. Generally, you would come across:
Standalone solution: These solutions are specifically designed for companies with smaller field service operations. The software is integrated with a calendar where managers could create a list of the teams and the tasks, then further assign a task to a team member for a specific date and time. These types of solutions are mostly packaged software that do not adapt to the service workflows, meaning you have to make changes to your existing process to meet your requirements. But the upfront is low and it could increase the scheduling accuracy to a significant extent.
Integrated Solution: These solutions are designed to optimize the entire field service operations. The software has huge capabilities to streamline the service operations, provide real-time visibility into field activities, inventory, work order management, and payment management. Again, you would get two categories of software; one that fully automates the scheduling process. This category of software is basically backed by AI technology to run algorithms based on job-skill-location-availability criteria. The second category digitized the operations and reduce human intervention to a large extent.
The Final Thoughts
In service operations, low scheduling accuracy could result in huge costs and poor customer experience, both of which are detrimental to operational profitability and service business success. Whereas, on the other hand, companies by optimizing their scheduling process could ensure optimal utilization of resources, increased first-time fixed rate, and awesome customer experience.
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