Resource Type: White Paper
Published by: Field Service News (sponsored by Solarvista)
Title: End to end field service: a look at the technologies available in each step of the service lifecycle
About: Written by Field Service News Editor, Kris Oldland this white paper explores the technologies available and what considerations to make when selecting the tools for your own organisation at each point within the service lifecycle. Topics include; taking the service call, preventative vs. predictive maintenance, employee management and scheduling, stock management and parts offering, contract management, field based hardware, field based software and transparent communications.
End to end field service was one of the biggest buzz phrases heard across the past year. At trade shows, in the industry press and not least from a considerable number of field service technology providers themselves we kept hearing that ‘end-to-end’ was a core consideration that field service organisations should be factoring on when exploring how they can modernise their current service management systems.
Taking in a comprehensive overview of each step in the lifecycle of a service call within your organisation is certainly an advisable route to take before even contemplating moving to a next generation solution
Is it a case of having all existing systems under one platform? Or perhaps just the need to have each of our various components within the field service chain talking to each other? Is it a software or hardware solution – or is it both? As with any emerging concept it will take time to substantiate into clearly defined parameters (if ever).
However, one thing is certain, taking in a comprehensive overview of each step in the lifecycle of a service call within your organisation is certainly an advisable route to take before even contemplating moving to a next generation solution be it hardware, software or both. Whilst the service journey may differ from organisation to organisation, as in reality, no two companies are identical, yet there are key points within the service cycle that will likely exist within most organisations.
In this white paper we will look across some of these points and explore some of the technology solutions that could help both you and your company in achieving higher first time fix rates and better field service productivity.
Incoming – Taking the service request – Of course in most instances the first part of the service call lifecycle starts with the initial call for a service request itself. However, in today’s age of apps and Internet is that first communication necessarily over the telephone?
Preventative and Predictive Maintenance – Another point to explore in the first steps of the service lifecycle is the benefit of predictive and preventative maintenance, both of which can dramatically reduce the need for customers to put in service requests in the first place.
Getting the right engineer to the right place with the right tools at the right time – Whether it be via machine to machine sensors and predictive maintenance, call centre agent notes or customer provided information via a self-help portal the one key focus of all of the options discussed above should be to collect enough information to allow the effective dispatch of a field service engineer (or engineers depending on the task) with the correct qualifications to the job whilst simultaneously ordering any required parts so the engineer has everything at his disposal required to resolve the issue on the first call out.
Scheduling – The most important aspect of your field service operation is of course your field engineers. They are almost certainly one of your biggest costs as well so managing them effectively is vital if you are going to operate a service division as a profit centre rather than a cost drain on the wider business.
Asset Management/Parts Ordering – Of course getting the right engineer to the right job is all well and good but it becomes a moot exercise if he doesn’t have the parts required to complete his task. The next vital element within a service management solution is being able to both track your existing assets and also to easily order parts not in your existing inventory.
Tools to do the job – hardware – Not only is there the very simple business case that moving to a digital first medium will almost certainly pay for itself when you factor in the saved man hours in needless administration (not to mention sheer paper costs!) but also the perception. Here we look at what you should consider when choosing hardware for your field engineers.
Is BYOD the answer? – Perhaps the biggest of these questions of field service technology of late has centred on BYOD. The BYOD trend has been much vaunted for many years but has yet to truly take off in the UK and Europe as it has done in the United States. Whilst the benefits are clear – less cost, quicker adoption and happier staff using the device of their choice, a counter argument surrounding security, insurance and the murky hidden costs of such a set up is easily made.
Tools to do the job – Software Having selected the device to empower your field engineers the next step is to select the right mobile software to make the most of that hardware. Whilst there has been great strides forward with cross platform HTML5 applications a strong argument lies within a ‘native’ app approach where the application is specifically designed to work alongside your device’s operating system (OS). We look at what you should expect from your field service apps.
Communicating back to HQ – Important data is everywhere and there are few better equipped to collect it than a field service engineer. Giving them the right tools to transmit that data to the place it has most value is a crucial part of the field service mobile app.