Resource Type: White Paper
Published by: Astea
Title: Outsourcing Field Service
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Outsourcing part (or all) of a company’s field service operations is not a new concept; service organisations have frequently turned to third-party providers or independent contractors to help meet seasonal demand or provide coverage in far-flung geographic areas.
But the conversation around outsourcing is changing. Instead of simply handing off work that a company can’t perform (or doesn’t want to perform), organisations are approaching the process from a partnership perspective, and searching for partners that can help meet or exceed customer experience expectations.
This White Paper published by Astea takes a look at the key points for consideration for companies looking to get the most out of their outsourced service delivery. The white paper includes sections on:
- What’s driving the need for outsourcing?
- Why technology is the key to successful outsourcing
- What is the changing mix of outsourcing partners field service companies need to be aware of?
This evolving view of outsourcing has also made it critical for service organisations to maintain more control over the customer experience and increase their visibility into outsourced service processes. Extending the service chain to outside providers doesn’t have to result in a loss of visibility into technician and customer activities.
Providing technicians and partners with the right technology to capture customer, product, equipment, and work order information—along with the ability to transfer that data to the primary service organisation—can result in a better connected service network. Field service organisations (FSOs) also have more options available when it comes to structuring their outsourcing relationships, from traditional agreements where third parties agree to complete a set number of work orders, to more integrated scenarios where the third-party provider becomes a true extension of the service organisation and its’ brand
What’s Driving the Need for Outsourcing?
Companies are leaning harder on their service organisations for decreased costs, increased revenues and competitive advantage. Service organisations have turned to outsourcing to increase geographic coverage, improve profitability, reduce labor costs, and to improve workforce flexibility.
At the same time, there is higher demand for service and a shrinking pool of available technicians.
According to research from The Service Council, 55% of service companies reported an increase in total field service activity in 2015, despite the increase in the use of remote service and self-service capabilities.
A Changing Mix of Outsourcing Partners?
Not surprisingly, the majority of service companies (76% according to The Service Council) are already having work done by third parties. For those that are leveraging outsourcing, third party providers are performing roughly 32% of work assignments on average.
Asked what their top reasons were for outsourcing, 63% of respondents said they wanted to increase their overall coverage, while 56% wanted to increase flexibility in order to meet demand fluctuations. Service organisations also outsource to reduce their labor costs (44%) and increase availability (29%). So while there are cost savings to be had through outsourcing, most service companies are trying to improve their ability to meet customer demand.
Connectivity is King
When choosing an outsourcing partner, service organisations generally look at a number of important factors, including presence in the regions/areas where service is needed; the ability to complete specific types of work (including product or industry certifications); performance in key performance metrics; and customer feedback regarding service work.
Partners should provide consistent, quality service. This can be difficult to maintain if the right controls are not put into place. Service organisations often complaint about a loss of service quality when outsourcing work, so it is critical to establish ways to track processes and controls throughout the service supply chain.
Technology: The Key to Successful Outsourcing
As stated above, successfully managing outsourced service requires visibility and connectivity, and an investment in field service automation technology that can link both internal and external resources in the service network seamlessly. Successful outsourcing also requires a different approach to working with third-party service companies.[/unordered_list]