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How Can Benchmarking Help Companies Design Better Field Service Software?

Many successful field services firms have turned to benchmarking for what Dr. W. Edwards Deming called “profound knowledge.”

Bringing in a person or firm from the outside for fresh suggestions can be quite beneficial when companies are implementing a complex system.

“Since most companies and industries become myopic because of shared paradigms, they need someone to shake up their thinking, get them to question the old ways, and to bring new ideas, approaches, and technologies that have worked in other companies and other industries,” an article on Manufacturing.net explains.

In general, company executives wish they spent more time upfront designing their field service software systems. Often, they implement the same process with their newer software. Sure, it runs faster and looks better, but at the heart it still does the same thing without much benefit.

By the time most companies realize this they’ve already invested three to six months into the implementation and they need to start using the software. It’s too late to make changes without having to shell out a bunch more money and delay the software launch.

Of course, companies would never get to that point if they could move past the mental hurdle of seeing and thinking differently. A trained benchmarking outsider always has an easier time seeing what’s missing. The key is to be receptive to that feedback.

An outside perspective can help guide companies through the rough spots and prevent them from reverting to the old, more comfortable ways, according to the Manufacturing.net article. Companies can aid the process by following these “four Ts.”

  1. Teamwork: A committed team trumps technology every time.
  2. Timing: Allot extra time at the design stage. You’ll save time by making the right choices the first time.
  3. Training: This helps people think in new ways and understand new rules.
  4. Tools: Analytics tools can provide teams with the necessary data to make smart decisions.

Source: Manufacturing.net, December 2012

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