Are UK field service companies keeping pace with the rest of the world? In Part One of this exclusive four-part benchmarking report for Field Service News, Bill Pollock, President & Principal Consulting Analyst, Strategies for Growth SM, revealed comparative performances and some of the differences between US and UK/European field service organisations. Here, in Part Two, he reports what UK and European service companies say are the key drivers influencing strategy. The publication of this research is sponsored by Kirona.
The key drivers that most influence UK/Europe organisations to improve the overall performance of their field service operations are similar to those cited by the overall respondent base, although, with a higher degree of intensity, and in a slightly different order – i.e., one that places somewhat more emphasis on customer demand and workforce utilisation, productivity and efficiency.
Nonetheless, the UK/Europe respondents have clearly identified the specific drivers that are pushing them to aspire to the attainment of higher levels of performance. For example, customer demand for quicker response time is cited by more than half of the respondent base (i.e., 56%) as the top driver their organisation currently focuses on with respect to optimising field service performance.
The need to improve workforce utilisation and productivity, and need to improve service process efficiencies are the next most highly cited at 47% of respondents, respectively.
It is clear that the main focus of UK/Europe services organisations remains squarely on the customer.
They have already recognised that a focus on the customer must be first and foremost with respect to driving their service operations, and that they could neither attain – nor maintain – a strong competitive status in the services community without having focused first on their customer’s needs and requirements; and, next, on improving the internal services operations necessary to meet their expectations.
As such, the common threads that tie all of these drivers together among UK/Europe services organisations may be best categorised into three groupings essentially comprising:
- Customer demand for quicker response and improved asset availability;
- Field technician utilisation, productivity and efficiency improvement; and
- An internal mandate to drive service revenues – and profits.
We also believe that it is a mistake to dwell only on the “top” factors that are driving the market – and the organisation.
There are several other factors respondents also cite as just “bubbling under the surface” with respect to their potential impact on the overall well-being of the organisation
- 22% Competitive pressures / need for market differentiation
- 14% Customer demand for more accurate service call scheduling
- 12% Escalating field service operations costs
- 8% Need to reduce dispatch-related errors
It is noted that UK/Europe organisations are far less likely to be driven by competitive pressures/ need for differentiation than the overall survey universe (i.e., only 22% for the UK/Europe, compared to 33% for the overall respondent base).
Also, while only 8% (i.e., or roughly 1-in-12) UK/ Europe respondents cite the need to reduce dispatch-related problems as a key factor, this driver is apparently still an important consideration to a significant number of organisations.
Another key influencing factor revealed through the analysis is that only 62% of the UK/Europe services organisations surveyed have experienced some improvement in year-over-year field technician productivity (i.e., measured in terms of average calls completed per day), compared to 67% among the overall respondents). Nearly as many (i.e., 61%) have experienced improvements in service revenue, per field technician during the same period.
A similar percentage (i.e., 60%) have also experienced improvements in their year-over-year service profitability.
In fact, these year-over-year increases have helped UK/Europe services organisations to attain a mean average of 35% service profitability in the most recent reporting period, only slightly lower than the 38% attained among the overall respondent base.
At a mean average of 82%, UK services organisations are also currently falling somewhat below the global survey population with respect to attaining desired levels of customer satisfaction (i.e., 85%).
At a mean average of 82%, UK services organisations are also currently falling somewhat below the 85% of the global survey population with respect to attaining desired levels of customer satisfaction
Based both on the survey findings and SFGSM’s ongoing follow-up research, it is not surprising that the UK/Europe field services community recognises that it will need to increase its investments in mobile tools and new technologies to compete effectively in an expanding global marketplace.
In addition, it also recognises the importance of building an effective Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), or metrics, program to measure the impact that its strategic actions, technology investments and resource acquisitions will actually have on the organisation’s performance moving forward.
Perhaps one of the most encouraging signs for the future success of UK/Europe services organisations is that nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents cite the development/improvement of the KPIs and metrics they use to measure, monitor and track their field service performance over time as their top strategic priority.
This figure is substantially higher than the 52% cited by the overall survey population – and even higher than the 52% cited by Best Practices organisations.