When comparing statistics from an Aberdeen study published in 2013 to today’s figures, the cost of deploying a field service technician has doubled. Though service experts’ main priority is ensuring customer satisfaction, this needs to be done in a way that is not financially damaging to the company. Best-in-class companies have found a way to juggle both thanks to optimized fleet management.

Nowadays, optimizing a service fleet is no longer simply about reducing the costs of delivery and service technician transport. It is about making processes more efficient so that all resources are used most effectively in the service of customers. This refers to a number of things[i]:

Improved scheduling

By having a systematic deployment of resources based on accurate scheduling – one often powered by artificial intelligence to ensure that the closest and most qualified service technician available is on site – companies are streamlining their operations. This maximizes the availability of service technicians and decreases transportation costs.

Reduced fuel consumption

Tracking systems that help monitor how much fuel is expended can help companies design training programs to instruct drivers on how to drive more efficiently and sustainably.

Integration between the field and CRM/ERP

If field service technicians have access to the valuable customer data and accumulated business insight stored in CRM and ERP systems, they can improve their first-time-fix rates and work more quickly and efficiently.

Vehicular maintenance

The facilitated monitoring of fleet data thanks to IoT ensures that companies always know where their vehicles are and what maintenance they might require. All of this minimizes the risk of customers waiting lengthy periods of time for the arrival of their service technicians or having to reschedule appointments because of fleet downtime.

The best-in-class are setting new standards when it comes to managing their fleets. They are also employing a number of innovative tools to ensure efficiency and effectiveness:  

  • IoT inventory management: 50% of best-in-class companies have the capability to track inventory and assets in real-time. This ranges from the availability of parts and vehicles to the skills and expertise of available technicians. This minimizes customer waiting times and helps companies remain in compliance with service level agreements. 
  • Data flows: By creating data flows, 47% of best-in-class companies are allowing for real-time communication within the fleet. That makes it possible to maintain a constant overview of the parts available so that unnecessary detours to deliver essential resources to field service sites are avoided.
  • Diagnostics tools like telematics: 41% of best-in-class companies rely on analytics provided by diagnostics tools to gain insight into important metrics like productivity, common recurring issues, downtime and more. They then use this data to streamline all processes.

Best-in-class companies are not taking these steps towards digital streamlining for naught. They have already experienced substantial gains from the measures taken:

  • Customer retention rates for best-in-class companies are 18 percent higher than for companies not concentrating on fleet management.
  • Best-in-class companies offer a first-time-fix 86% of the time compared to their counterparts who have a first-time-fix rate of 63%.
  • And most importantly, best-in-class companies have an annual customer satisfaction increase of 12% compared to all other companies that have an increase of 3.7%.

It is becoming increasingly clear that having a fleet management strategy is key for optimizing the usage of all available resources. If you want to learn more about the twofold benefits – customer satisfaction and cut costs – of streamlining your fleet, then you can refer to The Untold Story From The Field: Reduce Costs & Create Happy Customers

 

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Source: Aberdeen, The Untold Story From The Field: Reduce Costs & Create Happy Customers, June 2017

Topics: Field Service

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