Productivity Tips for Field Service Technicians
Analyzing and measuring productivity has been of interest to all types of operations for centuries. Scientists have formally studied the realm of productivity since the 17th century. But many things have changed in that time. The laws governing labor have progressed, and our tools for assessing productivity have become considerably more exhaustive and nuanced.
But one thing has not changed for the field service industry: Our work is unpredictable. Field service organizations are posed with a particularly unique challenge in this regard.
How do we reliably analyze, measure, and respond to productivity when the forces impacting it can be uncertain?
There are endless ways field service technicians cannot control the influences on their productivity. From customers canceling or rescheduling at the last minute to emergency calls or the failure of necessary equipment, field service technicians are faced with a constant barrage of random and fickle influences to their professional responsibilities.
But field service technicians and organizations are resilient and resourceful. We have found plenty of means for responding to the novel challenges of our field and their relationship to remaining productive.
Tips for Field Service Technician Productivity
In this article, we examine some considerations and resources that will empower field service organizations to support their technicians in maintaining and growing productivity.
1. Identify goals for productivity
This may seem like an obvious first step, but it is a valuable tip for pursuing more refined productivity strategies. Every strategy must begin with a plan and specific goals in mind.
There are a few things to keep in mind when goal setting. Ensure that any goal strategy involves a formal system of feedback about the progress being made toward each goal. Assign a timeline for regular updates and parameters for information to be provided about the progress. Secondly, assure the goals being set stretch and test your current capacities. You want goals to offer an attainable challenge.
Goal defining and tracking will be dramatically improved with the proper resources. Managers should have access to detailed reports throughout a workday, and this can rarely be accomplished without the appropriate technology and software (which we will offer tips on in our closing section).
2. Technician tracking
Speaking of the proper technology and software, we cannot underestimate the emphasis on tracking technicians. This is not merely a managerial concern. Technicians are remarkably more informed and productive when they can be dispatched or scheduled most efficiently. Empowering the dispatch or back-office teams with on the technician’s location will substantially cut down on extra driving distance and time while increasing efficiency and elevating productivity.
3. Prioritize scheduling strategy
This is a close cousin to the above tip, but it is distinct.
These two tips share the common goal of reducing travel time to improve productivity, but it all begins with a robust strategy for scheduling. Creating the most precise schedules is the first step towards the productivity that results from less travel time. But all experienced field service organizations know that schedules are a beginning infrastructure. Flexibility must be planned into any scheduling strategy. And the easier modifications can be made, especially on the fly, the more productive a scheduling strategy will become.
Finally, consider offering incentives to customers to schedule appointments during hours that are most efficient for your organization. Perhaps there are trending low-volume times in the day that you would like to fill, or periods in the year that are better suited to specific tasks over others. Offering customers discounts or coupons or other advantages to scheduling in these specially designed windows can significantly impact overall productivity.
By far, adopting a field scheduling software is the most efficient, reliable, and refined way to go about implementing and executing any solid strategy for scheduling.
4. Easily accessible inventory
We highly recommend effort being invested in the development and organization of inventory. The time technicians or administrators spend searching through the commonly extensive
inventories of parts, tools, and other resources is valuable labor and revenue exhausted on productivity.
If you do not currently have a formal system for your inventory, our tip is to invest the effort into developing one. In the meantime, ensure that you are tracking the usage of parts, equipment, and vehicles. As you grow more extensive reporting on inventory, consider reaching out to your suppliers for a purchase history to assist in establishing a robust history and infrastructure moving forward.
5. Equip dispatchers with information and training
Much energy goes into equipping our technicians in the field with the proper resources and information. But we also recommend utilizing your dispatchers in more dynamic ways.
Resourcing your team more diversely increases productivity from your technicians. Take, for example, that your dispatcher could be provided the information and training to direct customers through diagnosis, discovery, and resolutions to issues before dispatching a technician. This helps reduce No Fault Found Dispatches (NFFD). Reducing NFFD through trained and informed dispatchers stands to eliminate unnecessary and avoidable mistakes. It will increase the productivity of technicians applying their skills and expertise where they are most needed.
6. Understand and Implement Field Service Management Solutions
Executing each of the previously mentioned tips are critically expedited, polished, and more productive with our final tip: Identify field service management solutions that fit your organization.
Below are some directions and resources to inform your search.
Your management solution should provide a mobile field service application with comprehensive features. Assess these features for location and navigation, service notes and reference, checklists, expense tracking, and time in the field and appointments. Keep in mind that this is only a partial list of the extensive features available for field services applications.
Automation is key. A well-designed solution should permit the automating of recurring and basic tasks—such as resolution management, service task assignments, ticket routing, and other items specific to your organization.
Transparent and flexible scheduling features are also a high priority for your solution. Empower your administrators and dispatchers to better utilize and organize your field service workers. As schedules inevitably fluctuate and new tasks arise, your organization should be equipped to respond quickly and easily. Using drag and drop scheduling features will allow your administrative agents to override tasks and produce assignments for the ideal technicians.
These are just a few of the functions to regard as you search for your field service management solution. Critical functions of your solution also need to be concerned with the customer experience and the ability to collect and analyze data.
Allow the most experienced and dedicated professionals at FieldConnect to assist in starting you on your journey toward finding the solution best suited to provide you the highest potential for productivity and generating profit.
You can request a demo of their diverse suite of services today.
With nearly two decades of expertise in the industry, FieldConnect has grown to be the leader in software solutions for Mobile Field Service providers. From family-owned and operates services businesses to multi-billion-dollar corporations, FieldConnect has the solutions that make your field technicians more efficient, reduce or eliminate paper from your workflows, and accelerate your invoicing cycles.