Philosophies in the field service industry have drastically changed over the past decade, as the industry is experiencing a labor shortage as baby boomers are set to retire and there isn’t an abundance of skilled laborers to replace them. Millennials, as they are collectively known, are not picking up the toolkit to fill the work boots of the older generation, leaving the field service industry extreme shorthanded.
Right now, 53 percent of skilled trades workers are over the age of 45, according to EMSI (Economic Modeling Specialists International), and 18 percent are between ages 55 and 64. With 20 percent of the workforce ready to retire at any moment, field service organizations are turning to software solutions to help mitigate the problem of a decreased workforce, and help to streamline their service delivery.
Here are how organizations are managing their service delivery with field service software:
Advanced scheduling and dispatch tools
Customers are expecting faster service than they ever have before, but a shrinking workforce is making it extremely challenging to meet the demand. It’s requiring dispatchers to be more efficient in their scheduling of technician’s time to meet the demand, but old systems, such as manually writing names on a whiteboard or using a spreadsheet, just aren’t cutting it anymore, especially in emergency situations.
With field service software, dispatchers are getting tools that allow them to search for technicians by geographic area, allowing them to select the nearest one to a job site to reduce travel time. They are also getting a full view of their entire workforce’s schedule, allowing them to move service calls around to fit in the most calls they can within a technician’s schedule.
Utilizing subcontractors to manage the increased workload
One-way field service organizations are trying to meet demand is by outsourcing work to subcontractors and third-party vendors. It allows them to select subcontractors in nearby locations to reduce wait times, while also offering the ability to expand their business to new territories or with new services that their in-house technicians are not trained for.
Field service software makes managing subcontractors easy, as onboarding, scheduling, dispatching and pushing work orders is all done within the single platform software, eliminating the need for the organization to manually schedule subcontractors. Mobile app capabilities give the subcontractor just as much access to the field service software as in-house technicians, which ensures the standards the field service organization sets are kept and remain high.
Going mobile over manual
With a dwindling workforce, time is of the essence, and can’t be wasted on tasks that have a solution. The longer a technician takes at a service call doing routine tasks such as filling out paper-based work orders, or waiting on hold with a call center to relay information, it’s money being wasted as the technician isn’t working or on route to the next call.
Mobility and specifically, field service mobile apps have removed all the manual processing technicians must complete, and now all their work order information is in the palm of their hand. With checklists, technicians can follow along on their mobile device and answer as they go. Once completed, that information is immediately sent back through the field service software and can be reviewed for billing purposes. It takes billing processes from days or weeks to complete to minutes, and technician’s time after a service call is drastically reduced, getting them back on the road and on their way to their next call.
Field service software offers a way to make the most of an increasingly demanding situation. It can be a drastic step for many in the field service industry, as a software approach can change how their service teams deliver quality service. But with fewer hands in the field and competition in the field service industry increasing, field service software is turning into the solution that is a must-have for any field service organization looking to maintain their market share.