There’s a new, unexpected, driver forcing field service organizations to look at mobile workforce and field management solutions.
In the past dozen years, I’ve had the privilege of discussing field service operations and solutions with thousands of companies. During that time, many changes in the landscape have driven the implementation and adaption of processes and technologies in service organizations.
The most recent ones include the emergence of connected devices and equipment that can trigger service calls, mobility solutions for field engineers providing access to a wealth of information and tools to improve first time fix rates and mean time to repair and even augmented reality tools that allows direct interaction and involvement of senior product experts who are in different physical locations.
Now, there’s a looming regulation in the US that may provide the most compelling business case toward implementing field service technology.
This was discovered recently while providing a demonstration of the Coresystems Field Service Management solution to a manufacturer of capital equipment. The last person to enter the room was the Director of HR. I was delighted – after many years and hundreds of demonstrations, this was the first time HR was a stakeholder at the initial stages of an evaluation.
But why? Why was HR in attendance?
Well, in May of this year, the US Department of Labor announced a rule change that will increase the income threshold of salaried employees who are eligible for overtime pay. Specifically, the threshold is being raised from $23,660 to $47,476 annually. It is estimated that an additional 4.2 million workers will become eligible to receive overtime wages for hours worked beyond 40 a week.
Many of those 4.2 million workers will now include field service technicians and the accurate tracking of working time takes on added importance. Collecting and analyzing field technician time will no longer be just for calculating efficiency and productivity, but now there is a powerful regulatory motive.
Any payroll or HR staff that has had to track time of field workers knows the time consuming and error prone process it is to manually collect time, or double-enter information between systems. Now, the consequences of improper tracking and employee pay will be under the watchful eye and unyielding force of the Department of Labor and the fines and penalties they can impose.
So, if the salaries of your field service technicians are under this threshold, you will want to re-examine your processes and tools used to track and manage technician time.
Written by Mike Fuller