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Achieving truly real-time scheduling

Aug 4 • Features, Software and Apps • 1052 Views • No Comments on Achieving truly real-time scheduling

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Paul Saunders of Kirona explains why just “making do” is a dangerous approach when it comes to your field service management systems…

The majority of field service organisations have a mobile solution which meets their needs to varying degrees, however for a large proportion of these organisations, the solution was implemented for a specific contract and then rolled out to other contracts where it’s not a perfect fit or was implemented several years ago, met 100% of the “then” requirements of the organisation but has failed to keep up with the changing requirements of the organisation, their customers or even technology.

This leaves many “making do” with a mobile solution that is expensive to maintain, hard to adapt and less responsive when it comes to providing a competitive advantage above their competitors, mobilising new contracts or delivering additional value on existing contracts.

The contract won and the service delivered by a field service organisation three years ago is typically different to a contract to deliver a similar service today, with clients requiring a different level of service, more efficiencies, more flexibly, all with great visibility.

Organisations require a more flexible, enterprise class mobile solution that can “adapt” to meet the various needs of the field service organisation and contracts that it provides

This means organisations require a more flexible, enterprise class mobile solution that can “adapt” to meet the various needs of the field service organisation and contracts that it provides.

Today as a minimum, a field service mobile solution should be capable of integrating with multiple back office solutions, as the majority of field service delivery organisations either end up having multiple back office works management solutions (as they acquire businesses or contracts) or have other systems such as HR, finance, etc.

A modern field service organisation needs a mobile solution that is independent of its FM back office capable of delivering a mobile job that varies from contract to contract, meeting the specific requirements of that contract. Therefore the mobile solution needs to be configurable allowing a single PPM or reactive job type to be modified to be specific to the contract that it’s deployed for.

As an example an organisation might have a standard PPM or reactive job type, with standard fields and workflow deployed to the mobile device, however when a job for contract ‘A’ is received by the mobile solution, additional workflows and data collection might be added automatically to meet the requirements of that contract prior to it being dispatched to the mobile device. This might be contract specific surveys, health and safety checks or intelligence gathering that might deliver additional benefit to the FS organisation or their customer.

Where does this additional data collected get held?

Typically the FS back office solutions are not flexible enough to enable this additional contract specific data storage therefore the mobile solutions server component needs to be capable of storing and making this information available either through integration or reporting.

As many field service back office solutions cannot handle the complex process workflows required by a modern field service organisation this is also something that is often required by the solution that is actually “doing the work”, i.e. the mobile solution.

The ability to implement workflows before and after a task has been dispatched to the field is another key component

The ability to implement workflows before and after a task has been dispatched to the field is another key component. If a new reactive job is created where specific niche skills or high value equipment is required, put this into an authorisation process prior to dispatching to the mobile device. Equally if an operative has a specific outcome on a job, the mobile workflow solution should be able to automatically create one or more follow on tasks, place the job in approval, etc.

Organisations would need to have developers who develop and tweak their existing solution to meet the needs of them or their customer, or they get their suppliers to do this. They should have a mobile solution capable of being configured and tested in minutes/hours, not days or weeks to meet their exacting requirements.

Kirona’s Job Manager Suite including Job Manager Mobile is a two part solution, JM Mobile and Control Centre. JM Control Centre is capable of being integrated with multiple back office solutions. Within JM Control Centre, users can configure what a standard job type is (such as PPM or Reactive) as well as what additional contract specific workflow or data requirements are required for each instance of this job on a mobile device all without the need for supplier or an organisations development team.

JM Control Centre and JM Mobile can also allow complex contact specific workflows to be implemented, ensuring compliance to the field service organisations standards and processes as well as their customers. This workflow also removes the need for back office intervention for follow-on’s jobs, special tasks, approvals, etc. reducing the resource requirements of organisations.

All of the above gives field service organisations and their customer’s greater flexibility whilst gaining in-house control of their job workflow, something most organisations have never had, enabling them and their customers to be proactive as well as reactive, collect more information for their customer and their customers sites and gain a competitive advantage to enable execute contracts more effectively and to win more business.

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