Transforming Field Service for Customer Satisfaction
Currently, we are renovating a house. That means we are doing the work we can do ourselves but the rest we are having renovated. Since the house is from 1956, a lot of things have to be redone – the complete electrical and plumbing for example are first on the list of outside services we will require. Since this work must be done before many others and completed without defects, we depend on a smooth process. But smooth operations are also important to the service providers we engage for the profitability of their operations and the fulfillment of customer expectations – us.
Field Service Management (FSM) ties in with this requirement – because FSM optimizes and coordinates material and human resources during on-site operations, such as order implementation, maintenance or after-sales service.
What does Field Service Management cover?
Field Service Management refers to services related to installation, maintenance or repair. In Field Service Management, the technical team works on-site with the customer – in our case, the installers at our construction site – but good Field Service Management is of course also relevant in B2B, especially in the industrial sector and manufacturing.
Field Service Management refers to several complementary areas:
- Reception of requests, assignment planning and routing
- Personnel management (working time management, task assignment, management of required and available skills)
- Communication with mobile workers and simplification of their interactions
- Customer relations (centralization of information, securing history)
- On-site data collection (staff arrival and departure, work progress monitoring, information requests, incident management)
- Document management (filling out intervention forms, information exchange with employees, customers, suppliers and partners, knowledge database)
- Maintenance management (contract management, determination of requirements through monitoring)
- Logistics management (material cost optimization, transport management, inventory management, delivery management)
- Administrative and accounting management (invoicing, electronic signature)
- Analysis and monitoring of remote operations (reports and dashboards)
What are the benefits of Field Service Management?
Good field service management offers many advantages:
- Higher availability
Necessary repairs are identified earlier in the asset’s lifecycle ensuring uninterrupted operation, high performance and reduced downtime.
- Reduced job time through smooth coordination of field service personnel and improvement of the first-time fix rate
Optimal scheduling and mission control are ensured – the right technician is assigned to the right job and the right data is made available to them at the right time and on a single platform.
- Support for field technicians
Technicians are provided with remote support and the mobile capabilities that help them work safely, comply with regulations, troubleshoot efficiently, and complete assigned tasks.
- Reduce field service costs
Data and insights can be more easily used to complete maintenance tasks at the right time and in the most effective and efficient way.
- Increase customer satisfaction
Communication with the customer is streamlined and determining whether technicians are meeting customer expectations is simplified. This enables a better and faster response to concerns or unexpected delays.
- Environmental benefits
Besides many positive effects on the efficiency of the service organization, the environment profits as well with less travel due to increased route planning, less visits and higher first-time fix rates. The use of automated scheduling and a mobile solution on site leads to a massive reduction of miles of vehicles and companies can experience a tremendous decrease of emissions.
How can the right software provide support?
Companies can use field service management software solutions to organize the respective task areas in a straightforward and, above all, fast manner.
Effective field service management solutions integrate data from enterprise asset management systems with data from the field – including data from IoT and mobile devices – to help the company manage its resources.
The challenge in field service management is how to optimally dispatch the various resources. The scheduling is mostly done by office-based employees, who have to consider factors such as travel distances, appointment scheduling, employee qualifications, working time models or material consumption. On the other hand, field service employees are often on the road alone and therefore spend a lot of time writing service reports, noting down material usage and recording their working hours on the side.
This is where the software for simple structuring and planning of field service comes into play. On the one hand, thanks to functional algorithms, it helps to make scheduling as simple as possible for the office staff. It incorporates all factors into planning, and even spontaneous orders during the day are no longer a problem thanks to the software. It recognizes free periods and can assign the appropriate service personnel directly. On the other hand, good field service management software can also be used directly on-site. The field service employee can use the tool to enter orders, create service reports, record his working hours and log his material consumption. What he needed a lot of time for without the software, he can now do almost incidentally.
Field Service Management at KION Group
In a recent webinar, Andreas Schneider from KION Group AG, one of the world’s largest suppliers of forklift trucks and warehousing solutions, explained how the company harmonizes and standardizes their end-to-end service process using SAP Field Service Management across the internal and external ecosystem and across quite significantly different business lines: Industrial Trucks & Services (ITS) and Supply Chain Solutions (SCS).
Within the ITS business, KION has a truck base of 1,6 Million assets worldwide to support service businesses and within its SCS business, the company has more than 6,000 intralogistics systems installed in the field at their customers. The challenge therefore was to integrate one integrated field service management solution with one process, on one platform, which is scalable, maintainable, and flexible.
Making these updates to Field Services has transformed the critical supply chain function for the KION group. As a result, the company now aims to increase service efficiency by reducing time required to plan, schedule, and execute service jobs; decrease the “back office-to-technician” ratio through automation and artificial intelligence; and increase service revenue through targeted, modularized service offerings to up or cross-sell while ensuring contract profitability.
For my part, I hope that our commissioned trades are equipped with a good field service management system and the tasks will be executed smoothly and without delays or other problems; I then have good hope that we can move into our house by the end of 2022.
To learn more about how to resolve issues, improve customer service, harmonize process and reduce service costs with field service management solutions visit www.sap.com/fsm.