As companies strive to satisfy their customers, field service has quickly moved to center stage. Customers are demanding that companies respond quickly to any breakdowns. When things do need to be fixed, these repairs should be organized quickly and efficiently and done the first time an engineer is sent out.
In order to understand how to drive more efficiency out of their companies, leading field service managers are setting benchmarks on performance and analyzing data collected in the field. Specifically, they are tracking if service level agreements (SLA’s) have been met, if the tasks assigned are completed, how long it took to complete the task, first-time fix rates, the number of jobs completed and the all important, customer satisfaction.
But how can companies capture and track field service data? The days of collecting data on paper, usually spreadsheets, are numbered as proactive companies understand that automating the process leads to quicker capture, cleaner data, and usually a larger subset of data.
Here’s how companies are specifically gathering the most important data in the field:
Installing an Automated Field Service Solution
Capturing data starts with automating the entire field service management process. An automated solution allows you to collect, centralize and connect data, and give anyone in your organization access to it and the ability to analyze it. One department might use the data to track inventory levels, while another team may use the same data to examine what’s breaking down in the machinery that certain parts are always in high demand.
Creating Structured Checklists to Collect the Right Data
Capturing useful data requires companies to create the right structures in which the data can be gathered. This is where having a flexible solution that allows you to create a structured “checklist” around your unique processes will help considerably. What is a checklist? A checklist is a step-by-step list of the processes an engineer needs to complete to finish the entire job. This is especially important for companies that have processes going beyond the norm of field service processes. This may include companies that are in heavily regulated industries, larger companies that have extra steps in the process, or companies that do a unique service.
Equip Engineers with Mobile Devices
Engineers in the field are your primary data collectors, and it therefore makes sense to ensure they are equipped with mobile devices to make the gathering of data easier, timelier, and cleaner. Traditionally, some of the data captured by engineers would be recorded on paper that was then put into the system at the end of the day, or given to a data entry clerk who would feed it in. With a mobile device the whole process is made much simpler. Data can be captured as the engineer is working with a few taps of the screen. In this way, passive data gathering can also occur. For example, a mobile device could automatically capture the route a driver took as well as the time it took.
More companies are installing remote sensors into key parts of serviced equipment to track performance and breakdowns. Some of the largest manufacturers have already embedded remote sensors into their customers’ most vital equipment to ensure that they can track the performance data and quickly send out field teams when a breakdown occurs. Remote sensors and the data they collect will help service companies become more proactive. As prices for sensors decline, smaller organizations will be able to enjoy the same remote data gathering benefits as larger companies.