Service delivery has changed drastically and field service management organizations are finding it increasingly challenging to sell products and attach service to those products. Customers want to see more value in what they are paying for. Lesser profit is coming from products sold and more from service delivered. Customers today are extremely savvy and are looking at companies that offer the best value for their dollar.
This has made the field service industry a competitive one and is forcing organizations to better optimize their service delivery through different avenues to increase profit margins. It’s not as simple as attaching profit margins to the cost of a product and expecting your customers to pay it. There has been a change of heart regarding the increase in pricing and what value they are getting from the service performed.
Along with product sales and attached services, service enterprises are looking for more avenues of revenue to grow their business. With advances in technology, such as mobile devices, field service software and smart technology, there are new ways to be more efficient and offer value to customers in their service work, while building a more efficient organization from the field up.
OPTIMIZING SERVICE DELIVERY
To drive profit in the new landscape of field service, organizations are having to take a hard look at how they are conducting business. With customers demanding more for less, profit margins are trending downward. Field service organizations are having to come up with innovative ways to maximize their service delivery and are turning to field service software. It has allowed many organizations to optimize the way they do business, giving administrators and technicians new tools to make their job easier, faster and make them all more efficient, which translates into a better bottom line.
Optimize your scheduling and dispatch
A key area of optimization is developing better scheduling and dispatching practices. To increase profit margins, and meet customer demands for faster service, growing revenue comes from the ability of your technician to complete more service calls at a faster rate. Every moment of idle time for a technician is a revenue opportunity being wasted. So, with proper scheduling and dispatch tools in a field service software, organizations can better schedule their technicians to fulfill the most service calls in their scheduled shift.
Dispatchers now have a system where they can make changes to the schedule on the fly, without needing to communicate via a call with the technicians in the field. With a native mobile field service app, the next schedule service call will appear on their device when they close out the call they are on. It means technicians are getting a full schedule for their day, as dispatchers can rearrange their schedule to better optimize it for more calls. At the same time, customers are getting a more precise window of when a technician will be on site.
FIELD SERVICE AUTOMATION
One area where field service organizations can save is on office administration costs, which can be reduced with fewer people working in call center or dispatching roles. It can also be reduced by setting up levels of automation in a field service software that do the tasks otherwise done by administrators.
Service level agreements and preventative maintenance contracts can be automated to create work orders, have parts attached, and include any needed checklists, training manuals or videos needed to complete the job. While it reduces the time needed to create these work orders, as they are handled by the field service software and not an administrator, it also ensures that these service calls aren’t missed when it’s time to complete the work. Work orders are automatically created and are waiting to be dispatched for fast service.
With accounting integrations, automation can also lead to faster billing times. Technicians can capture signatures on their mobile device in the field and close out a work order. This will immediately trigger an invoice to be sent to the customer, depending on the level of review the organization has. Invoicing can go from weeks to literally seconds, without the need to physically enter in data from the work order into the accounting software, as it is already completed due to the integration.
Adding mobility to increase efficiency
When trying to optimize service delivery, adding mobile functionality is something field service organizations are embracing. This adds tools that can make a technician more efficient in their work, and gives them the capability to optimize their day to day job. In the changing landscape of field service delivery where speed and efficiency are critical components, mobile field service app features allow technicians to have everything they need to complete a service call on their mobile device, without the need for time-consuming manual data entry.
Routing tools are helping technicians get to their next call faster. It’s cutting down on time they are spending finding the quickest route, stuck in traffic and looking for the customers location. Idle time can eat into profit margins, as the time technicians are spending not moving towards their call or stuck in traffic, is revenue being wasted.
REDUCING FIELD SERVICE DELIVERY COSTS
Items that account for two-thirds of field service costs: labor and parts. Field service organizations need labor to perform service, and they need parts to resolve problems. So, it’s a tough area to navigate when trying to reduce costs in those areas, outside of the traditional layoffs and part cost reduction. With customers expecting quick response times, it requires a high availability of field service technicians and spare parts to fulfill the demands. It makes resource planning an intricate part of driving profits and optimizing the delivery of service.
Reduced labor costs without reducing service levels
Reducing labor is sometimes not an option due to the volume of service calls an organization is taking. Considering they are the lifeblood of a field service business, removing skilled workers from the pool of technicians will lead to slower response times and the ability to take fewer service calls. With customers willing to move to an organization who can provide faster service, and with field service organizations needing to take more calls to drive revenue, reducing a workforce becomes a last resort when looking to reduce delivery costs.
Field service organizations are now turning to subcontractors to fulfill the growing needs of their organization. By hiring subcontractors, field service organizations can increase their workforce, without increasing their budget for that work force. Subcontractors are only hired and paid when there is work to be completed. Some organizations have adopted this method as their entire business model, hiring few full-time technicians and instead utilizing the growing network of subcontractors that is available. With subcontractors, expansion into an additional territory is possible with minimal start-up cost. Service that is out of the scope of your current technicians can still be completed by a subcontractor with a specific skill set. And there is no idle time between jobs, as once a subcontractor is finished, the job is over.
Equipped with a mobile field service software, subcontractors can work as regular employees. They can utilize a native mobile app to receive work order information, including any parts and checklists, while also being able to capture pictures for quality control, travel and labor time, and expenses for detailed and accurate billing. And like a full-time technician, once a service call is completed, billing can be automatically started, which also includes creating a voucher to pay the subcontractor quickly.
Reducing extensive inventory of parts
Having inventory on hand is needed if you want to deliver fast response times to your customers. While you can plan for projects and contractual jobs, break/fix repairs are unexpected and sometimes the job goes to the company who can do the repair the fastest, as it could be an emergency. And if the field service organization can’t do same day service and must wait for the part to be ordered in, a customer will move on to find an organization who can facilitate their needs.
But with the rising cost of parts, having a large inventory of unused inventory is costly. A way to combat parts and inventory laying stagnant is by using analytical tools to track parts usage. Trends in ordering and consumption of parts, and what times of the year those parts are in high demand, allows organizations to adjust purchasing accordingly. It not only reduces costs on inventory, but also the likelihood that when an emergency repair does come up, the inventory is there to be selected. Field service software can track the parts and inventory levels at multiple locations, or what technicians have in their trucks. This gives an accurate inventory control, so excessive purchasing is not being done.
MAXIMIZE YOUR SERVICE DELIVERY
Field service organizations can’t rely on product margins and attached service to pad their bottom line. They simply must deliver a strong valued service to their customers. And at the same time, they need to find ways internally to reduce costs of delivering exceptional service. All while not dropping their standards to retain their customers. Field service software is how service organizations are maximizing their service delivery and reigning in excessive spending. It’s making their technicians more efficient with scheduling and dispatch tools and mobility solutions, whiling also giving greater insight to inventory and key business data.
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