I have written a number of articles about best practices when looking at Field Mobility and Field Service Automation.
However, I never explained WHY you should be looking at Field Service Management. The WHY is very important because we are all in a state of ‘digital overload’. Most of us are familiar with doing things the way they have always done them and there is so much talk about digital transformation, big data, business intelligence… that the comfort of the status quo provides a resistance to looking at change. Anyone read “Who moved my cheese?” But change [or #innovation ] allows for improvements, cost saving and gaining the competitive advantage.
It is clear why the customers I talk to are searching for change. This isn’t merely about ‘keeping with the times’, this is about turning DATA into DOLLARS.
So why should organisations in Resources, Utilities, Telco, Construction and indeed Government start looking at Mobile Field Service Management today? Process automation is critical to maintaining service continuity and keeping the cost of operations down.
1. Manual processes are inefficient. That much is obvious especially to your Field Teams. How much so varies but it is not unknown for some companies to wait weeks before being able to act on the data that has been collected in the Field. However the real consequences are the impact this has on the Business.
2. You need better decision-making. It stands to reason that if you don’t have the right data you are unable to make the right decision. Now, there is an impact on Management’s ability to make better decisions if they do not have timely data and worse still have missing or inaccurate data.
3. Manual data collection is prone to errors. Using Paper Forms or Excel to collect Field Data as an invitation for errors. Customers tell me about Paper Forms that get lost with no audit/accountability in place. Further, you increase the risk of data errors, first at point of capture (Forms, Excel are unwieldy), and second, data re-entry to business systems is required. How easy is it for the Admin to misread or mis-key during data entry?
4. Your current approach is costing you money. You are literally wasting money on the current way you do things. This alone should be a factor for taking a look at Field Service Management. Firstly, look at the impact of time delays which for a large project looking to Environmental Compliance could easily run into the hundreds of thousands dollars mark. Just as easily, slow decision-making could result in an Asset (machinery, pipeline) failing. Secondly, your Field Worker is not being productive. Having to manually plan their day’s activities and having no means to do on-the-fly assignments. Thirdly, the cost of data re-entry and corrections is the one most customers site as it is the most measurable. If my Admin costs are $100/hr and I am having this resource to data re-entry during 50% of their working week I can see clearly the cost of not doing anything. But do not forget the other cost impacts above!
5. No standardisation is killing your Business. An element of efficiency is whether you are able to standardise processes across the organisation. This scale brings about cost saving and also the ability to incrementally improve on your processes. You just can’t do that when you have some Field Teams using Paper, others Excel and still more doing thing own thing with that ‘cool app they downloaded’. Further, the organisations I speak to have multi-discipline teams: Asset Management. Environmental; Health & Safety and so on. Each using their own method of collecting data. Each contributing to ‘bloat’ and inefficiency. A Field Service Management solution that can effectively work across all these teams will offer significant value.
6. You can get more from your existing investment. You already have invested in ERP and Business Systems. You might even have Planning and Scheduling software. There is a great way to leverage these investments by integrating with a Mobility layer so that Assignments and Data can be integrated directly into your existing systems.
7. Smarter Data, Faster Data. That integration allows you to have to hand actionable data. Through sophisticated Reporting and Dashboard views you are able to make better, faster decisions. The ability to act quickly and decisively in Business can be the difference between success and failure.
It doesn’t take long to start seeing positive return on investment when implementing Field Service Management. You don’t even have to have a ‘big bang’ approach. Through a flexible subscription model like Obzervr’s you can start with just one team. Aim for the low hanging fruit where you know you can get quick wins (working faster, more accurately and saving on Admin costs). Then you have a successful platform to roll out to other Teams and Departments where scale will allow you to make gains in standardisation.
If you are still not convinced and that status quo is keeping you from making the move, just Follow Obzervr as we will be providing more and more information to help you make better decisions! Give us a call if you want a personalised demo. 1300 Obzervr.
Blog title credit to Lisa France.