Long gone are the days of the telephone company switchboard operator that connected your phone line to another. It is also rare today to find a milk delivery service. Thanks to technology, we can connect ourselves and we can pick up milk anytime we wish from the local market.
But with that technology did we lose jobs? The automotive industry is very quick to point out how much more efficient their robotic assembly lines are today, but was this at the cost of human labor? This subject has been argued heavily over the last century.
In the field service industry, technology can be viewed as an enhancement or a threat, depending on your particular perspective.
Technology threatens jobs by:
Automating processes so no additional labor is needed
Virtually eliminates the need for paper, which means filing tasks are not needed
Has built in quality checks so supervisor or management responsibilities are reduced
People who cannot use technology are phased out
Technology enhances jobs by:
Improving productivity in the workplace
Improving quality, which reduces stress and creates more satisfied customers
Helps to keep work requests on schedule, which can generate more work requests and increase business sales and profits
Creates the need for people who are willing to embrace technology to improve their work environment as well as their personal lives
Actually creates new job opportunities to support and maintain the technology
While the field service industry has had some resistance to technology in the past, there is a wave of adoption that has increased substantially over the last few years. With improved mobile connectivity field resources can now connect to their main office from anywhere. And with cross-platform capabilities, field service technicians can use their favorite mobile device to check in and receive new assignments.
Field service technicians should be among the first to embrace technology, because these people are typically very well informed and require technical training for HVAC, plumbing, electrical, communications or other services. Often, the person who gets the dirtiest in the field is probably the one who will be most willing to try new technology – particularly if the benefits are clearly seen.
Back at the main office, most people are well acquainted with a personal computer and using basic office software products. With a contemporary field service management system, the learning curve is minimal and the productivity benefits can be easily seen from dispatchers, customer service representatives, and managers.
Some may be very concerned about learning new technology and have a fear that they will not be able to use it correctly. Thankfully, best-in-class field service software products should be very easy to learn. If a person can learn to use a mobile phone or surf the internet, then learning field service management systems should be a piece of cake.
Technology can seem ominous to some people, but through education and plenty of hands-on training these fears can be put to rest. Better technology can easily translate into more business, which means everyone will benefit from technology and should have no fear of losing their job.