KPIs and the Autonomous Vehicle

So, you’re finally ready to purchase an autonomous vehicle! You go to the dealership and climb into the shiny, red car that you pre-ordered. The representative gets your signature (electronically, of course), shows you the owner’s manual, goes over a few of the main features and then sends you on your way. The dashboard has a dizzying array of gauges, dials, and numbers. You tell the navigation system where you would like to go and all of a sudden you’re on your way. How terrifying!

As much as the autonomous driving technology has been tested and refined, you keep a keen eye on that dashboard. You focus on the speed, you make sure the battery has a good charge (because gasoline is so 2018), and you spend a lot of time glancing from the dashboard to the road and back to make sure the car stays between the lines – the ones on the dashboard display, but especially the ones on the actual road!

What you are doing is maintaining a strong focus on the vehicle’s KPIs – key performance indicators. But since the vehicle is new to you, the focus needs to be on the indicators that matter, and the ones that you understand. You’re worried about speed, because you don’t want a ticket. You’re worried about battery life, because you don’t want to end up standing by the side of the road waiting for assistance. And you’re worried about staying between the lines, since you don’t want to get in an accident in your brand new car.

KPIs for Field Service

Your new autonomous vehicle is, in many ways, like your field service business. Your business does certain things without your involvement, but you need to focus on key metrics that let you know that you’re going the right speed, that you’ve got the resources (battery life) to get you to the next destination, and that you are staying between the lines to avoid business catastrophes. As you did in your new vehicle, make sure you’re focused on the right KPIs. Here are a few that we recommend as a great starting point.

  • FIELD TECHNICIAN UTILIZATION RATES – Make your field technicians more productive with the right tools and their increased efficiency will reduce costs and increase revenue.
  • ATTACH RATE – Monitoring the percentage of customers with an active preventative maintenance contract is an indicator for customer satisfaction and provides some predictability in revenue projections.
  • FIRST-TIME FIX RATE – A repair, resolved on the first customer site visit, improves customer satisfaction and reduces costs.
  • AVERAGE SLA COMPLIANCE RATE – Improve Service Level Agreement compliance rates by empowering your field technicians with field-based access to the customer’s current SLA, repair history, and maintenance information.
  • MEAN TIME TO REPAIR – The time it takes to complete a repair can provide insights into training deficiencies and can reveal other inefficiencies in the process that are in need of attention.

These indicators are a good place to start, and improvements can be introduced, monitored, and achieved by replacing manual, paper-based tasks with a mobile application for field service. The view into these metrics is pretty straightforward and the underlying data that is used to create visibility into these indicators generally comes from just a couple of business systems. It is very much akin to your first experience in your autonomous vehicle – focus on the basics to keep everything moving forward.

Expanding the KPI Universe

But, what happens if we are able to tie together a broader and deeper cross-section of enterprise information? The benefit of having access to more data means that, under the right guidance, you should be able to glean more insights, and also determine more dependencies within the business that may not have been discernible in the past.

To further our analogy with the autonomous vehicle, you’ve had some time to learn about the car’s systems and displays, so you now have access to a wider set of indicators and understand what they mean. No longer limited to the most basic information, you can now manage the vehicle’s performance by incorporating this new data. To maximize your travel range, you now know that the tire inflation sensors should show an optimal setting, that the “driving mode” should be set to “economy” instead of “sport”, and that other systems that use power can be disabled if they are not required.

In a field service context, with the right field service management solution, you are able to go beyond the five KPIs listed above and can start managing your business from a perspective that was formerly unattainable. Optimally, your solution is sophisticated enough to integrate data sources from previously isolated systems giving you an understanding of both cause and effect that allows intentional and meaningful optimization of the field workforce. The integration of data across what used to be siloed repositories will reveal interdependencies that allow adjustments and course corrections based on insights and resulting conclusions that were not previously available.

Integration and Metrics that Matter

Effective use of a broader set of KPIs opens the viewing aperture into business performance. This allows you to go beyond the basic set of KPIs – speed, fuel, direction – and provides important insight into what’s happening across the business. Like the autonomous vehicle, the more you understand the extent of the information available to you, and how to digest it, the greater control you have over the parameters that help drive efficiency, lower costs and utilize resources to the greatest extent possible.

So, be sure to consider the degree to which your field service solution can do more than just empower your workforce. Consider a solution that integrates into all of your relevant business systems and data repositories. Make sure it has a dashboard that can be configured to show you the information you need to effectively navigate the business landscape. Remember that more information makes for better decisions. Better decisions accelerate business growth. Vrooom!