Field Service Management: Resolving Order Variability Challenges
Author: Derek Koyama
Order variability is a common field service challenge but can mean different things to different organizations.
In this blog, we will be breaking down the two most common examples of order variability for field service organizations, as well as providing ways to resolve those challenges using a field service solution.
Types of Work
Every field service organization has a number of services they offer for their specific industry and business model.
- Those services require various skill sets to complete successfully.
Most organizations have employees that can and can’t do certain types of work. Your organization might have an employee(s) with the skills needed to complete every type of job or provide any kind of service, but that type of employee is the exception.
- Some services aren’t used often or will vary depending on the situation or client.
- Some customers have unique needs, protocols, or procedures which the majority of field service workers do not have experience with.
Resolving order variability challenges due to the type of work needed:
- Preventative maintenance takes the pressure off of field service workers that have any specialized skills needed, allowing for job completion when their schedule is less busy.
- Virtual remote assistance helps with cross-training and ensures a technician with specialized skills can be in several places at once—virtually walking another technician through tasks and overseeing their work.
- Optimized scheduling can be set up to intelligently organize and route field service workers based on criteria like skills, type of work, job priority, and location.
Timing of Work
Volume and variety of work can fluctuate depending on the time of day, week, month, or year—and this is the other kind of order variability field service organizations need to account for.
- Weather, holidays, common work hours, popular moving times, etc.; all offer a variety of challenges for different field service organizations and industries.
Forecasting and planning are crucial. It helps ensure an organization is not only meeting customer needs but is also able to keep up with things like routine work, compliance, and SLAs when work volumes are high.
- If you don’t have the right data, it makes effective forecasting and planning difficult, if not impossible, to do well.
Resolving order variability challenges due to the timing of work:
- Refine your data; if reports show consistently fewer or busier times of day, make sure your solution is filling in valleys with non-appointment tasks and predictive maintenance.
- Solidify plans and contracts for 3rd party coverage during times of higher volume work, particularly if it’s related to extreme weather forecasts.
- Your busy times may not reflect when your customers actually want jobs done, only when the time was available to schedule the work needed;
- Consider adding more options for appointments, and coordinate technician schedules accordingly, to help prevent more emergencies and improve customer satisfaction rates.
Creating a Multi-Functional Solution
If you are facing challenges with order variability, you are more than likely not working with the best field service solution, or the best version of that solution, for your business.
Data accessibility, solution configuration, industry, and organizational needs will all factor into better field service management. When creating a multi-functional solution, it should be focused on:
- Accurate and complete service metrics for every aspect of your organization’s field service work.
- Your customers’ wants and needs.
- How do different parts of your business impact metrics, performance, and customer satisfaction rates.
Contact us to review your solution or discuss any field service challenges you might be experiencing, or review our thought leadership and offerings for helpful information.
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