4 Reasons Why Better Field Visibility is the Key to Superior Productivity

Author: Derek Koyama

Investing in a Field Service Management (FSM) solution is a serious approach to organizational improvement, often necessitated by a diverse range of needs. Despite the broad range of issues that may drive an organization to make that investment, several concerns are universal, the more significant ones are:

  • Feeling of “Big Brother” by field staff
  • Lack of confidence that they are getting an accurate view of what’s happening in the field.

This is unsurprising, as no one wants to be ‘watched’ 24/7, and having real-time visibility of workers weighs so heavily on productivity. Dispatchers and managers are completely reliant on knowing where their crews are, and when and how long they’ll be there. As it is such an important issue, let’s look at the beneficial impact improved field visibility can have on productivity, why it matters, and how to improve it.

#1 Higher Customer Engagement (NPS) – Reduced Operating Costs

Customers are looking for, and more often demanding, more information on appointment details and order status. Questions such as “Where is my technician? Who is my technician?” are becoming commonplace and self-serve requests are now table stakes. Without an integrated fleet location capability within your FSM solution answering these questions or requests become increasingly difficult, to impossible.

Call Centers continue to look at ways to reduce inbound phone calls – (i.e. when was the last time you had to call into a Call Center to change your password). As these initiatives continue, FSM-integrated field visibility becomes a key ingredient to effectively cancel, reschedule or update appointments that are the same day.

#2 Improved Safety

Worker safety is a massive concern in Field Service. The importance of having the ability to see where a technician is at any given moment is underscored when they are working on a particularly hazardous job, or their work is high risk in general.

FSM solutions, that contain safety timers or help buttons as a means of better visibility not only alert dispatch staff that a technician may need emergency assistance, but also provide their coordinates every fifteen minutes. This enables dispatchers and management to see when technicians have completed dangerous work safely or made it home okay at the end of the day.

#3 Easier Assistance

Better visibility is a huge benefit for field service workers too, as it allows them to easily find support when needed. Rather than having to sit and wait for the dispatch center to call around and eventually send special equipment or assistance with an unexpected complication, the technician can find the closest available help.

With the GPS information of where that assistance is and when it will arrive, that technician can more easily and accurately reallocate their available time.

#4 Better Boundaries

Having accurate and complete data on workload needs allows management to redraw geographic boundaries that make more sense for their service area.

This means if technicians are routinely being delayed in a certain area alerts can be sent to customers while management accesses the reason for the delays. If technicians are being rerouted, perhaps due to construction, new boundaries can be set that will help avoid those delays in the future.

Tips to Achieve Better Field Visibility

  • Focus on using the technology for safety, coaching, training, and empowerment to get everyone on board.
  • Develop a metric to measure if status updates are being completed in real-time (with or without GPS positioning) and ensure that technicians use their technology correctly.
  • Evaluate applications that give the dispatchers an automatic location pulse at regular intervals.
  • Analyze data to identify which technicians are driving too much, those who are taking longer to complete jobs, or have too much idle time.
  • Automate processes and workflows to ensure the safety of technicians.
  • Use traffic applications to help choose optimum routes, especially for those working in peak rush hour times.
  • Take a longer-term view of utilization by geography and adjust as necessary.
  • Examine the pros and cons of utilizing geofencing.

Learn more about investing in your FSM solution through accelerators and our enhanced support services by contacting one of our experts, or download our eBook for Field Service information and tips.