There are many different objects and variables that can impact the performance of a mobile workforce, especially in the field services space. I call these things PIOs (performance impact objects) and PIVs (performance impact variables). Here are examples of PIOs:
• Job locations
• Equipment availability
• Transportation availability
• Vendor availability
• Subcontractor availability
• Jobsite access
Examples of PIVs:
• Equipment repair/maintenance
Each of these items must come together at the right time and right place to optimize the performance of a field service technician. I think of PIOs and PIVs in the context of building a railroad. In order to be completed and functioning, all the PIOs/PIVs must come together at the right place and time. If pieces are missing, the entire system is delayed or fails.
In an ideal world, each PIO/PIV should be tracked and monitored. Let me provide a scenario for consideration. A customer calls in and requires repairs to a specialized piece of equipment. This work requires specialized training and skills, certifications, special parts, special tools and experience. Knowing just the schedules and locations of your field service technicians is not good enough. You need to know information concerning each PIO and PIV. In order to optimally provide service to your customer, you need to know and monitor all relevant information, and since most field services teams are mobile, that means mobile technology must be integrated with as many PIOs and PIVs systems as possible in order to provide the necessary visibility to maximize productivity.
When PIOs and PIVs are all connected via a shared network that provides visibility to network members it is called a Network Centric Operation.
If you have an available field service technician without the right experience and qualifications, then that does not help. If you have a qualified, experienced and available field services technician, but without the right tools, parts or their location is too far away, then that also doesn’t solve your need.
It is important to understand all of the PIOs/PIVs and to document and track them in real-time. To know as much about them as possible, in real-time, in order to optimize your productivity in the field.
PIOs/PIVs are most often not in one place for easy management. They are located in many different locations and accessed via many different systems. Enterprise mobility, connectivity, integration, dashboards, dynamic scheduling, HCM (human capital management), GPS tracking and event/project management are all required to bring the vast array of components together to provide optimal productivity. Ideally these would be brought together into one dashboard view that could also be shared on mobile devices.
I recognize that this article is painting a picture of a world that may be unachievable today, but developing a roadmap is possible. A roadmap based upon an understanding of what is technologically possible, while considering the ideal.