All businesses are faced with daily challenges. There are sales to generate, profits to be made, and bills to pay.
The field service industry, however, has some unique challenges in that many of these operations have vast territories and their employees are distributed in many different locations. This increases the challenges exponentially in many areas.
The following are the top three field service challenges that are faced on a regular basis:
Resource management – with a mounting list of work requests, it is vital for dispatchers and managers to know where their field service personnel are located and what their availability is at any given time. Resources need to check in and report their availability first thing in the morning, and then throughout the day as they complete assignments. By knowing the location of the field personnel, dispatchers and managers can better gauge how they can prioritize and complete the pending work. They can also make decisions on whether to bring in contract assistance to supplement the workload.
Dispatch – organization is key for the dispatch desk at any field service operation. Dispatchers are uniquely qualified individuals who have a high level of organization skills and can handle stressful situations. Any tools or systems that can help with organizing incoming work requests, work-in-process, and completed requests will create a chain reaction that improves the overall operation. Also dispatchers need flexibility that is built into any system to allow for changing priorities and handling any exceptions that may occur throughout the work day.
Costs – the field service industry has a particularly difficult challenge with managing costs. While sales may not be a problem, work orders that have specific estimates can often have costs get out of control. Factors such as time taken to check inventory or find parts, travel expenses, and the need for the appropriate skills can add time or expense to a job. Assigning the right resource at the right time will help greatly, and the ability to check stock online can mean the difference between a plus and a minus on your profit.
Field service automation solutions can help in several areas to address these challenges. The automation process can automatically assign resources based on their location, availability, skill level, and job priority. This addresses several challenges at once by reducing travel time, knowing the location and availability of resources, and using the right skill set for the job. Also, automation solutions can organize the dispatch desk so that work flows smoothly from one job to the next.
While all businesses have challenges, the field service industry has some unique obstacles. With the right automation tools and systems in place, field service companies can run a well-organized business and keep expenses under control.