If a service technician shows up to a customer site within the pre-defined service window, would you consider this a successful service call?
What about if the technician navigated the route to perfection, saving the service organization real dollars in fuel costs? Some would consider these two factors to be paramount when thinking of field service excellence. However, despite efficiently getting to a customer site within the wait window, what if the technician doesn’t have the right part to resolve the issue resulting in a secondary visit? No longer is this a successful visit, right?
In Aberdeen’s recent Field Service research, nearly half of all service visits (48%) require a service part. Therefore, despite the fact that often times when we think about field service our minds may go straight to concepts like the schedule or the route, the part should be top of mind.
Historical parts management is a strategy for the past – predicting the past is quite simple, we are all fairly accurate in regard to forecasting the weather from yesterday. However, scheduling resources for future demand which often fluctuates as a result of changing customer needs and business pressures may be a challenge. On a scale of 1 – 5 (1=poor, 5=excellent), top performers are just above average in regard to their ability to accurately forecast service demand as compared to 3.0 for peers.
To improve the ability to forecast future demand, top performing organizations havethe ability to incorporate real-time updates of parts usage from service technician van / truck stock and include this is schedulingcriteria. These top firms are 60% more likely than peers to have this capability and use this real-time visibility into resources to allocate technicians appropriately based on their ability to service the end customer. As seen in previous Aberdeen research, customers are no longer willing to wait for service and competitive factors are forcing organizations evolve how they conduct business.
Organizations need to be flexible and responsive to customer needs and without real-time visibility into not only technicians but also parts in the network, service will fail to solve customer issues efficiently.
Technology support for the field goes beyond mobility – six out of ten (59%) of top performers have a parts tracking solution in place for their field service team (as compared to 38% for all others). Furthermore, these top firms also 48% more likely than peers to have a supply chain management solution in place with scheduling capabilities (37% vs. 25%, respectively). As the service chain continues to become more complex it is integral that the supply chain and operations teams are on the same page with field service. The visibility into parts available within the network will only lead to faster resolution of customer issues and increased efficiency / productivity of the workforce as technicians no longer need to hoard parts for a “rainy” day but can instead carry the right part for the necessary jobs of the day.