When a copy machine breaks, one technician can head out with the correct part and service the machine that same day, fixing it without much trouble or complexity. However, in the energy and machine industries, when something breaks, a service call is not a simple fix. These types of service jobs can take weeks to complete and may mean financial losses for the business while their large-scale equipment is down. For example, technicians at Alstom--a company that services large energy power plants--take a few days to several weeks to service equipment all around the world.
Long service calls are not a one-person job; at companies like Alstom, multiple people are involved in servicing the equipment. This means that a project management tool is necessary to manage large-scale projects, so that the right technicians with the right skills are assigned to the right tasks. With a paper-based system, field service techs can’t collaborate properly and this represents a major problem. The error rate is much higher when engineers can’t read the handwriting of their colleagues and don’t know what has been done before. Field service management software is the perfect tool to allow you to manage large teams of technicians on big jobs and even send out new employees in the field.
Assign Specific Tasks to Specific People
Within field service software, the project manager can use a task configurator to list and assign different tasks. For example, if there is generic equipment in the machine, the task configurator can identify the equipment and automatically create tasks based on the type of equipment. The project manager can then use the automated task lists to assign different technicians to the service call based on their skill and clearance levels.
Use a Checklist Designer
It’s not just the ability to create tasks and assign people to those tasks that helps the project manager manage field service projects more efficiently. The project manager can utilize the checklist designer to create a checklist the technicians can employ to collaborate with other team members. Once assigned a task, field engineers can take pictures, record messages, and take notes within the checklist that can be reviewed by and sent to other engineers for consultation or for reference purposes.
Share Information Anywhere
Because of the scope of machinery and energy projects and the large size of the field service organizations that service them, technicians may be located in different geographic locations. More skilled, expert technicians are often required to work on various tasks all over the place, and cannot be everywhere at the same time to help lesser skilled technicians. With field service automation, the project manager can send lower-level, less experienced staff to the service location first. Using a specially designed checklist that follows a specific protocol, once the lower-level staff has completed the checklist, more senior technicians can then consult or come out to service the equipment to complete any tasks that the lower-level staff could not.
Perform a Group Check-Out
Resolving service calls with multiple technicians may require appointing a team or group leader. When multiple service technicians work on a single service call that is split into multiple assignments or tasks, the group leader can perform a group checkout after the other engineers have checked out. All of the technicians’ assignments will be combined into one service call report.