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The global aggregation model

Aug 15 • Features, Software and Apps • 1245 Views • No Comments on The global aggregation model

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Despite different operating models, companies from all over the globe can benefit from an aggregated approach to field service mangement writes Marne Martin, CEO ServicePower

We know that differences exist country to country, industry to industry, company to company.  One of the benefits of working with some of the largest brands in the world is that you get a great feel for the latest trends and best practices.  You also get a front row seat in watching academic strategy and real world operations collide.

A great example of this is corporate moves toward global applications and business management platforms.  Sure, the philosophies and strategies behind the initiatives are sound but they can sure conflict with reality….big time.

We know that differences exist country to country, industry to industry, company to company. One of the benefits of working with some of the largest brands in the world is that you get a great feel for the latest trends and best practices.

Take the US and UK as an example.  Both are English speaking nations with many similarities in culture, religion, music and brands.  However, pick a service and industry – managing OE warranty or extended service contract fulfilment for white goods.

The US relies predominately on independent service contractors, requiring at least 1,500 a 5 hour difference across time zones. This requires greater network management and field leadership, and call centre coverage and software to manage a wide range of brands, products, skills, selection, and status updates. It also requires a robust claims adjudication software that is highly efficient at preventing fraud and overpayments but easy enough to manage efficiently and pay claims quickly.

The UK is vastly different. With 1 time zone, it requires only 50-200 contractors, and fewer when manufacturers employ technicians.

Improved response time and greater efficiencies have pushed the industry to adopt what ServicePower calls a ‘mixed labour model’ wherein ‘job sources’ like manufacturers, service contract administrators, retailers, and even insurance companies, utilise some percentage of contracted labour, in addition to employed labour, to deliver upon customer commitments.

In a perfect world, those job sources deploy technology to manage the contractors, intelligently determine if an employed field resource or a contracted resources is the best option (based on parameters), dynamically dispatch the highest ranked contractor, secure job updates, adjudicate claims for services provided and finally, pay the independent contractors, and get feedback from the customer.  This model varies by industry and local parameters, but can work to drive value for both customers and field service organisations the world over.

In North America, those job sources, let’s call them manufacturers for simplicity’s sake, have consolidated all jobs which require independent contractor delivery onto aggregated software platforms, like our own ServiceOperations. Aggregation onto a common platform leads itself to additional economics of scale and advantages to drive the customer response times and productivity measures that enable a field service operation to be efficient.  This is much more than a mobile dispatch platform.

This model varies by industry and local parameters, but can work to drive value for both customers and field service organisations the world over.

In that aggregation model, the job sources dictate that all contractors performing work on their behalf are first credentialed, and then invited to set up profiles- the who, what, where and when they can deliver services, then receive and manage work orders and finally file claims on a single software platform.

This dramatically streamlines contractor and warranty management. For the contractors, this aggregated approach also increases adoption and reduces overhead costs because a high volume of their daily workload comes from a single platform, which in many cases is integrated with the field service management software they use to manage their own operations.

ServicePower has even gone so far as to offer an end-to-end, cloud based field service management software, NEXUS FSTM, already integrated with ServiceOperations, to further streamline contractor operations. We also provide Optimization on DemandTM, enabling contractors to maximize the productivity of their field representatives, much like large enterprises do with our ServiceScheduling product, on demand, rather than in real time.   So the effect is very much a ‘push’ to the platform from the party responsible for paying for the service.

In the UK, the model is slightly different.

The aggregation model works because a single integrated software enables the manufacturer (or retailer or third party administrator) to receive, confirm acceptance, provide status updates and in cases where they require supplemental contractor coverage, dispatch work to their own preferred independent contractors, paying for services rendered.

Those same manufacturers, that meet their obligations in the UK generally through the retailer or service contract/extended cover providers, typically have a high percentage of employees to perform ‘branded service’. So, whereas in the US, the manufacturers have forced aggregation onto the marketplace, pushing work to contractors, in the UK, the manufacturers are on the receiving end of work from multiple job sources, in multiple different ways.  However, manufacturers suffer from the same inefficiencies and increased overheads based on dealing with faxes, emails and numerous home-grown dispatching systems, as the third party contractors suffered from in the US till the early 2000s.

Regardless of the differences in each country’s model, this same fundamental aggregation model has immense value to the UK market, perhaps ever more related to filling capacity in employee bases. Consolidation on to innovative platforms that are easy to use has real value for continued growth in adoption by the field service industry.  For job sources dispatching service on a particular branded white good, the manufacturers have begun to dictate that all work orders come through a single platform, ServiceOperations.  And this can be expanded to other product segments, whether home health care equipment, IOT sensors, electric car rechargers- you name it.

The aggregation model works because a single integrated software enables the manufacturer (or retailer or third party administrator) to receive, confirm acceptance, provide status updates and in cases where they require supplemental contractor coverage, dispatch work to their own preferred independent contractors, paying for services rendered.

This model is a very much a push to the aggregation platform from the party responsible to the consumer, and not necessarily the obligor.

The true benefit of an aggregated dispatching model is the ability to aggregate work orders or jobs from a variety of sources, improving operational efficiencies and reducing costs, for every member of the service delivery chain, from the job source, the retailer or extended cover provider in the middle, to the consumer at the end.

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