What is the role of mobility in field service management?

12-December-2012
12-December-2012 18:49
in Technology
by Admin

It’s becoming ever more important for organisations to spend time face-to-face with customers in the field to build and develop new relationships. In this very competitive industry it’s extremely important for organisations to maximise each of these opportunities to impress customers.

 

In order to make the most of field activities many companies have started to use mobility to improve communication with the field, increase productivity, streamline work processes, and enhance customer service and loyalty.

 

Mobility solutions simplify many field service processes and combine many functions into one unified solution for the field representative with integrated data collection, barcode scanning, RFID and GPS. The ability to provide up-to-date information to field users allows field technicians to be better prepared, make smarter decisions and serve more customers.

 

After a decade of slow spending, field service operations have started to move away from outdated platforms that were hard to use and expensive to customize, and spending on field service technology has been rising. Throughout 2012, 35-40% of technology firms have adopted mobile field service solution with a further 30-40% having set aside budget for new or additional tools in 2013.  This shows a significant move towards wide spread adoption of mobility solutions within field service.

 

FIELD SERVICE OPTIMIZATION: FIVE KEY AREAS

 

Whether you are planning to completely revise all of your field service solutions, or just want to fine-tune some processes, the following outlines the five key areas of field service operations with the greatest potential for optimization.

 

Scheduling. Today’s customers aren’t willing to accept a five- or eight-hour window for a repair. Not only do they expect an exact arrival time, they want to be kept updated if that time changes. Improving scheduling means improving the optimization of your field service staff—a key operational metric—with automated scheduling taking into account employee skills and certifications and available spare parts.

 

Dispatch and Routing. The days of giving field techs a route sheet at the beginning of the shift with the day’s appointments are gone. With a more flexible approach to scheduling, how do techs plan their routes? Leveraging global positioning satellite (GPS) and current traffic information, field employees can be routed based on current location and traffic conditions, given accurate directions to reduce response time and travel time, and other key operational metrics.

 

On-site performance. With mobility connecting field employees to corporate at all times, accurately recording on-site performance is much easier than in the past. Having exact arrival and departure times and details of work performed and parts used improves accuracy and accountability. Additionally, having mobile access to all corporate knowledge and content will streamline on-site problem resolution, reducing on-site repair time, another key metric for optimization.

 

Revenue generation. A growing trend within field service is the ability while in a customer’s home or office, field technicians are highly successful extending additional offers for products and services. A combination of skills training and tools is required to successfully extend offers and close a deal with signature capture or a credit-card swipe.

 

Travel and expense recording. For companies that track expenses for rebilling, collecting timely and accurate travel and expense records shortens the billing cycle, reduces customer questions, and shrinks days sales outstanding (DSO) for billing.

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