7 common challenges of Field Service Management

The road to field service excellence is full of challenges. Like any other major technology investment, successfully implementing a Field Service Management (FSM) solution requires a great deal of planning, resources and expertise. However, to remain competitive, field service organizations must continually adapt and readjust their focus to take advantage of new opportunities and grow. To do that successfully, companies need to continually review their technology investments to ensure that they are generating maximum value and supporting their business objectives as intended.

Here are 7 of the most common challenges that arise in field service organizations:

  1. Inefficient management of workload variability
    How do I maximize my utilization throughout peaks and valleys in workload volume while maintaining availability for my customers?
    Regardless of their industry sector, all field service organizations must contend with different types of daily, monthly and seasonal workload variability while balancing their capacity for general ongoing maintenance work and keeping some availability for high priority emergency work. The challenge is how to effectively manage the peaks and valleys of workload.


  1. Not achieving maximum productivity savings
    How can I improve my dispatch productivity? Do I have the right dispatch to technician ratio for my organization?
    A common expectation after implementing an FSM solution is that it will provide the opportunity to reduce an organization’s dispatch to technician ratio, increase efficiency and productivity.  However, it’s very common to see in many field service organizations that dispatchers simply do not trust their FSM system to schedule work orders effectively and, as a result, they intervene. They touch and assign orders to field technicians manually without letting the schedule optimizer do its job which usually leads to significant productivity loss.


  1. Poor field visibility
    How can I improve visibility of my fleet? I’m not confident that I have accurate, real-time visibility into my technicians’ whereabouts.
    It’s essential for dispatchers and managers to know where their crews are at all times.   Real-time visibility is the enabler to gain productivity, efficiency and ensure the safety of your workforce.  By knowing the exact location of technicians, the FSM system can easily identify the best resource available for a job while dispatchers and managers can better troubleshoot problems, offer support and understand why some jobs are taking longer than others to complete for example.


  1. Under utilizing field employees to identify sales opportunities.
    How can I take advantage of my technicians to identify upsell and cross sell opportunities?
    Many companies are now questioning whether field service workers should move beyond their traditional break/fix role to participate actively in selling and growing their customers’ accounts. From equipment upgrades or replacements to new value-added services, field service technicians are often in the best position to offer customers recommendations and capture leads that have the potential to significantly impact an organization’s bottom line. Companies that are not leveraging technicians as a resource to identify such opportunities, are potentially missing out on the chance to generate incremental revenue and create customer loyalty and adhesion.


  1. Poor process workflow
    I have different processes across my organization and I am trying to figure out how to standardize and automate as much as possible.
    Over time as a business changes and evolves, whether it be through adding new products and services, expanding its footprint or other any other organizational changes, its business processes do not necessarily evolve in parallel.  In addition, without supervision, well-intentioned, autonomous employees may find new or their own ways of getting things done which do not align with the organizations’ process workflow.  Both factors can result in inefficient, and repetitious processes, as well as those that do not add any real value to the business.


  1. Managing third parties.
    We have brought on several third parties and are struggling with how to best manage and assign work to them.
    Workforce challenges such as meeting variable demand, an aging workforce, a shortage of skilled workers and rising labor costs have resulted in a dramatic rise in the use of contingent workers over the past decade. According to it’s latest report, Gartner believes that by 2020, 40% of all field service tasks will be undertaken by contractors.  Having a network of independent contractors certainly provides the benefit of flexibility and improved productivity (as they are paid by the job, a model which is not possible with unionized employees), but it also presents an array of challenges. How can you ensure the needs of your customers are being met when the service is provided by a third party?


  1. Sub optimal system performance and usage.
    I don’t believe I am taking full advantage of the Field Management Solution we implemented. While I believe my system is running well, I need some type of benchmark.
    If an organization has been running its business the same way for a long time, chances are when the business requirements were created for a field service management solution, the scope of the original configuration was setup to match legacy systems and processes.  If a system is set up in this way, there will likely be some procedural adjustments (for example, using a system instead of a spreadsheet) but ultimately the core business processes will remain unchanged.  As a result, the organization cannot take full advantage of the features and functionality that an FSM solution has to offer.

If any of these challenges resonate with you, contact us to find out how working with the right partner can help you unlock the full potential of your people, processes and technology.

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