How is your field service operation really performing?

A high-performance culture is the heartbeat of any successful organisation however managing business performance levels effectively can be challenging. As the business adage goes: “You can’t manage what you can’t measure” and this has never been truer – especially when it comes to the performance of field service organisations. A field service operation is extremely dynamic and often unpredictable. Each day, managers are faced with complex issues which require fast action. However lack of real-time visibility into what is actually happening out in the field can result in managers making poor decisions; directly impacting the performance level of their mobile workforce.

In order to develop new strategies which will improve operational decision-making and drive future performance, field service managers must begin to utilise instant and accurate information about key trends occurring in the field. Real-time data about why a service window wasn’t met, how many planned jobs were left incomplete, duration of tasks and which technicians are performing well, can all be used to drive service performance levels. By using in-depth insight, managers are able to effectively transform the way work is planned, allocated, managed, reported and evaluated.

Field service managers have access to more data than ever before. But are they actually using it effectively to measure service levels so they can improve operational performance? The simple answer is no. Often field service managers view big data as simply too big or too fast to manage and analyse. They have large quantities of data but simply don’t know what it means or how to use it to help manage performance.

Fortunately, advancements in performance management analytics technology are taking the complexity out of big data analysis. By providing greater visibility and enhanced analytics capabilities, the technology helps field service managers monitor the productivity of their operations while at the same time analysing key trends in order to optimise the way they operate.

Based on actual location data, technology can generate and customise digestible reports that showcase the key measures including quality of service, statistics for individual workers, actual tasks completed against the total time of the working day, actual against estimated task duration, total tasks completed, total fuel usage and distance travelled.

By adopting performance management analytics technology, the field service manager is able to quickly identify what is preventing their workforce from completing more jobs. Managers can look at regions, teams and even individual workers by job type and performance to gain insight into how to improve the utilisation and productivity of their staff.

Aberdeen Group, a leading analyst firm, has found that best-in-class companies were more than 35 percent more likely to use workforce management solutions such as performance management tools to optimise resources and workforce processes. Aberdeen Group says laggards need to act now and start to automate the management of their workforce in order to catch up with the efficiency and enhanced response times of best-in-class companies.

Driving productivity and performance has been on the top of boardroom agendas for years and this is still certainly the case in the field service industry. A recent survey by the Service Council, a research and advisory company, reaffirms this fact with the study finding performance management and visibility continue to top the list of key business concerns.

Reassuringly, developments in technology have meant that businesses now have a way of addressing these concerns directly. Managers can collect, analyse and report operational performance based on data they can trust and generate real value from the information to make educated decisions that positively impact their businesses bottom line.

This increased insight also means that not only are field service managers provided with the ability to constantly learn from day-to-day experiences, but all the relevant stakeholders across different business units have the salient information they need to manage the daily performance of the organisation. Such performance analysis can also help feed into strategic business planning on targets, budgets and resourcing.

Knowing what is happening in the field and having the ability to measure its effectiveness is crucial to delivering higher levels of service excellence. As a result, business leaders need to start exploring new and cost-effective ways to manage and optimise the performance of their workforce. Investment in technology is the first logical step. Technology has the power to place the right information in the right hands to ensure the right decisions are made which will ultimately foster a high-performance culture that guarantees short- and long-term business success.