Thursday, 02 January 2020 14:20

Field Service Profit or Loss?

Field Service Profit or Loss?

If your company’s operational processes are unnecessarily cumbersome, your customers will experience the negative impact. Poor productivity will be a problem that reduces your ability to serve your customers and increase your profit. No company can purport to deliver the best quality of service and customer experience if their engineers, planners and back office teams are bogged down by inefficient systems, manual processes and lack of visibility.   

Here’s our advice for field service and facilities management companies on creating a 2020 strategic plan for positive change. You will reap the benefits of:

  • increased customer acquisition and retention
  • improved margin on service and maintenance jobs
  • increased productivity and profit

1. Tackle productivity first

Make a thorough review of your processes from your customers’ first engagement with your service desk to successful completion of their service and maintenance jobs through to final invoicing. Could your first-time, fix-rate be improved? Are your engineers making multiple visits to the same site for jobs that could easily be scheduled together, such as carrying out planned maintenance work when responding to reactive calls? 

2. Eliminate tasks that don’t add value for your company, staff or customers

Identify all the steps in your processes where efficiency improvements can be made; in scheduling, route planning, parts ordering, inventory management, van stock management, communicating with engineers and invoicing. How many tasks are done manually and managed in silos, on spread sheets and via email? What tasks can be automated, where are the hold-ups? How many issues could be solved by joining up disconnected processes, so that work flows seamlessly and automatically from one task, and function, to another?

3. Automate to empower your organisation for higher performance

Plan to automate tasks that can be easily and more efficiently managed by adding customised workflows to a service management software. For example, when field engineers complete a digital site survey for new installations or repairs, the Bill of Materials or fitter’s sheet can be automatically created, which in turn can initiate the processes for parts orders, including automated price and availability checks. Compliance documentation, such as gas certificates, can be automatically generated when the job has been completed.

4. Combine reactive and planned maintenance jobs

Optimised Route Planning 400pxOptimised route planning cuts down mileage, journey time, and allows more jobs to be completed.  When reactive callouts are received, Aeromark’s multi-intervention feature automatically flags other planned maintenance or reactive work orders, at or near the same location which can be done at the same time. Combining service calls in this way significantly increases the overall productivity of your team.  For example, Greggs has increased the efficiency of its shop maintenance operation 146% by using Aeromark’s real-time service management software and adopting this approach to route planning and scheduling.

5. Speed up your service management job cycle

Use seamless automated workflows that enable staff and subcontractors to manage and complete jobs more efficiently, including job surveys, parts purchasing, quotations, van stock replenishment, commercial sign-off and invoicing. Quotations can be generated immediately, which means customers approve them faster and that increases the number of jobs you do. Urgent business critical quotes can also be prioritized to provide a quicker response. Invoices can be generated as soon as your engineer completes the job.

6. Ensure invoicing is speedy and accurate

Invoice data can be automatically applied throughout a jobs progress such as parts used, additional resources deployed, labour rates and margin.  Aeromark’s service management software has an Automatic Rating feature which applies engineers rates and checks that parts ordered for the job have been consumed and the correct costs have been applied. Invoicing is quicker and most importantly accurate, which in turn improves cash flow.

7. Manage inventory more effectively

Inefficient stock management will significantly erode your service levels and profit; by not having the right parts available to complete jobs, holding too much inventory in stock, or losing stock through lack of visibility and tracking. It’s important to have a real-time view of inventory across all your locations, including warehouse, site stock, reserved job stock and van stock.

Implement automated processes for the management of inventory, orders, despatch, tracking, parts replenishment and parts returns, in order to benefit from significant productivity improvement and cost saving.

8. Smarter management of van stock

Van stock templates can control what parts engineers hold on their vans. These can be driven by asset profile and the nature of your contracts, making it easy to adjust the number and combination of parts needed. You can also automate van stock replenishment orders to your main suppliers, improving engineer efficiency and first-time fix-rates.

9. Know when service contracts are reaching margin thresholds

It’s essential to control and monitor your profit margin.  Use your service management platform to capture costs and automatically apply the correct rates to your jobs. This minimises errors and provides the visibility to see whether margin, and therefore profit, is being maintained or eroded.  Crucially, these controls combined with the data audit trail enable you to analyse and identify which jobs and what type of work is the most profitable, and therefore make key strategic decisions about how you can grow profit.

In summary, our advice for a strategic growth plan is:

  • Tackle poor productivity
  • Eliminate tasks that don’t add value
  • Automate tasks to increase performance
  • Optimise scheduling of reactive and planned maintenance
  • Speed up your service cycle
  • Make invoicing speedy and accurate
  • Manage inventory more effectively
  • Control the management of van stock
  • Know if your jobs are profitable

If you need help in any of these areas, then leveraging Aeromark’s real-time service management software will enable you to:

  • Empower your organisation for higher performance
  • Consistently make faster, more effective decisions
  • Drive better business results
  • Increase productivity and profit
  • About this blog

    Aeromark is a leading European tech company specialising in intelligent real-time platforms for Facilities and Field Service Management.

    This blog is dedicated to sharing the latest views on trends and best practices covering service efficiency, real time automation, Smart monitoring, digital transformation, Internet of Things and more.

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