It has been well cited, business that have been hiring their way to growth rather than investing in improved efficiency will have lower productivity and lower profits.
According to the ONS, UK productivity rose by just 0.5% in 2018 while unit labour costs rose by 3.1%.
This falling productivity is commonly measured at the “cliff face” but the causes of it often originates at the top floor.
Unfortunately, too often, decision-makers in a position to make a difference and drive change, don’t; whether that is because they are too focused on short term tactical solutions or fear it will put a spotlight on underperformance which is hidden under the radar. Lack of visibility through siloed processes, manual systems and simply not having the right technology in place, means many organisations are not aware of their potential to make dramatic improvements to productivity and the bottom line.
Based on our experience, here are six key areas where field service companies can transform the efficiency of their business:
1. The foundation of service delivery
Your service management platform should be the foundation of service delivery to your customers; from the initial call all the way through to final invoicing. It should transform, not hinder, the efficiency of your back office, field engineers and subcontractors in a single, joined up, end to end process. The service request lifecycle should be streamlined from start to resolution; providing complete visibility and a full audit trail of customers’ assets, service history, inventory, stock consumption and engineers.
2. Real-time, optimised scheduling
Through more effective real-time scheduling organisations can significantly increase revenue per engineer and the number of jobs completed per day.
Scheduling should be optimised to provide a real-time view of the status of jobs as the day progresses. If service calls are completed quicker than expected, the system should allow additional calls to be added to an engineer’s day. Equally, if jobs are overrunning, potentially putting the remaining schedule in jeopardy, work can be reallocated to available engineers, ensuring SLAs and promises are always met and service productivity is maximised.
When reactive call-outs are received, advanced multi-intervention scheduling identifies other maintenance work at, or near, the same location, so they can be done at the same time, improving engineer efficiency and reducing costs.
3. Dynamic, agile mobile application
Dynamic, workflow driven mobile apps should streamline the entire service request from issue detection to resolution, providing engineers with all the tools and information needed to complete every job efficiently and maximise customer satisfaction. Via their smart devices and making the experience as simple as possible, the system should automate the creation of job sheets including photo capture, parts used, rates applied to the job and capture of customer signature. Providing engineers with full access to the parts catalogue, enabling them to initiate purchase orders, customer sign-off and billing will improve enterprise efficiency.
4. Automated installation, maintenance surveys and upsell opportunities
Aeromark’s survey workflow enables field service engineers to quickly and easily compile a comprehensive survey of the job which produces a bill of materials and quotation, including automated price checks for parts, labour rates and any additional labour resources required.
This information triggers an accurate, automated price checked quotation which is emailed to the customer and when accepted, a service request is seamlessly raised on the service management software for parts ordering and scheduling.
5. Intelligent parts ordering and inventory control
Automating the process of ordering, tracking and reserving stock for customer jobs provides full traceability of stock ordered, collected, consumed and returned, including the quantity and value of stock held in your warehouse and engineer’s vans.
Van stock templates can control what parts your engineers hold in their vans including daily stock replenishment to your main suppliers; improving engineer efficiency and first-time fix-rates. These can be driven by location and the nature of your customer contracts and make it easy to adjust the number and combination of parts required.
Real-time automated parts ordering, stock availability and price checks enable you to control this critical part of your operation. You will increase efficiency and make significant savings, ensuring you order only the stock you need, with a complete audit trail of usage and value.
6. Price & margin control
It’s essential to understand and control the profitability of your jobs. Different types of work can have different margins which your system should be able to calculate and adjust based on your client contracts. Information on contracts, SLAs, schedule of rates and price books should be within the platform for automatic rating of all tasks and to facilitate your purchase order and sales order process including agreed discounts, price after discount and margin after discount to provide essential control and visibility of pricing.
Increasing productivity requires investment in skills, technology and innovation; fundamentally it requires a desire and willingness to change how your organisation works. The benefits will quickly reap in productivity, lower costs and more revenue.