Field service in a nutshell

We live in a competitive and ever-changing world and one part of operations that we shouldn't forget to optimise is field service. Field service offers many opportunities for your organisation, but these operations aren’t the easiest to streamline without the help of ERP. Before looking at how we can optimise, let’s dive into the definition of field service.

In a competitive business environment, being proactive is a crucial factor to stay on top of your game and ahead of your competitors, especially when it comes to field service. But what exactly do we mean by field service? Let’s define it before looking at all the ways we can optimise these operations.

A simple definition:

Field service quite literally comes from "in the field" and includes all work done at a customer's location such as supervising installation, maintenance, or repairs and more.

Why is field service crucial for your company’s success?

Keeping an installation in-house, or better said in the field with your employees ensures the correct deployment of any equipment. Therefore, you can maintain a service quality level on which you pull the ropes. In addition, you manage to keep your relationship with your customer stable, ensure incoming contract revenue and stay top of mind with your customer whenever they need an upgrade of their equipment.

Field service: a variety of activities

Field service can be categorised into three types of activities, each facing its own challenges, each requiring different tools.

  • Corrective: With corrective services it mostly means repairs or calibration of installed equipment, going from software to machinery. In this case, a field service technician or engineer must head into the field to attend to the customer’s needs.
  • Preventive: Having equipment break down, is a company’s worst fear, as this may lead to a loss in revenue or technical unemployment of your customer employees. Therefore, preventing such an issue also falls under the definition of field service. Here, regular inspections or maintenance will help. Nowadays, field service engineers or technicians can use smart technologies which are connected to the equipment. Such technologies can send out data and warnings. It allows them to gain a clear insight into the matter before they come on-site to inspect or resolve a problem.
  • Proactive: Acting before downtime or even the slightest issue occurs, is another example of field service. Technicians are equipped with technology that can predict faults and disruptions by comparing outputted data standard operations. When there is a notification of any anomaly, it allows technicians to adjust and or repair the equipment before it fails.

Field service challenges

We are all human: depending on human interaction, hence limited over field service employees and subcontractors is one of the greatest challenges field service faces. However, there are ways to solve this by using intelligent GPS tracking and on the go supervising via route planning, task completion time, etc. Without the right technology in place, your management can only rely on employee updates.

Lack of centralised data: having a single place where all data such as route planning and real-time reporting is stored is another issue in the field service industry. Using technology not only solves this issue but also improves transparency across multiple operations areas, response times, ticket outcomes, and customer satisfaction.

Manual data: a lot of data that’s gathered by your service technicians is manually inputted or even manually written on a piece of paper. It’s safe to say this is outdated and a new way of working is making its way to the field service industry through various technological solutions.

Customer expectations/communication: for any company that delivers service it’s always a goal to deliver their best quality and meet customer expectations. To attain this communication with the customer about what they need; what has been done, and what the next course of action is crucial these days. In other words, companies should always consider the customer at any given moment. Also here, technology plays an important role, as field service management systems are the missing link between your company’s operations and your customer’s expectations.

The solution to all of these and even more challenges in the field service industry has been mentioned many times. Technology is the missing link when it comes to managing your services and making them manageable. Field Service Management takes the lead when wanting to operate a successful company in field service.

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