One of the key differentiators for ServicePower is our ServiceOperations product and its integration with our end-to-end field service management platform.
ServicePower first released its ServiceScheduling product which was used by companies in EMEA and North America for scheduling optimization. However, we identified a need within our client base to manage 3rd party contractors as well, as in the case with one of our longest clients, a North American Appliance manufacturer.
Why do field service organizations use third party contractors as part of their outsourcing strategies?
- Gaps in skills or geography- Clients use contractors in areas or for jobs for which they don’t have or choose not to fill with employed labor. The strategy enables clients to fill the gaps, without impacting fixed overhead costs.
- Cycle time or speed of service- During busy seasons, often employed workforce capacity is tapped out. Utilizing contractors enables field service organizations to meet cycle time or turnaround time metrics and customer commitments including SLAs, without adding overhead costs.
- Cost- Oftentimes, especially for organizations which perform warranty or contract work, it can be more efficient to subcontract less desirable jobs, in terms of fees, distance or skills, to contractors instead of to staff, which ultimately improves staff efficiency and margin.
To address the need, in 2004 we launched ServiceOperations, in the cloud, to manage close to 100,000 connected, global 3rd party contractor companies utilized by our clients. Its predecessor product was actually launched as an early SaaS product in 2002.
Since that time, we’ve built in features which help field service organizations clearly understand with whom they are contracting to provide services in their name. Contractors set up true global profiles in ServiceOperations, either directly in the portal, or through integration with their own business management software (BMS) applications, which define what skills their teams have, what they work on and where they are willing to work, for any ServicePower client whom uses the aggregation platform.
Clients use Operations to view this information and select what the contractors will do on their behalf. With customer safety top of mind, most clients now also use credentialing information in their contractor management process which is loaded and used in ServiceOperations. Jobs are intelligently, dynamically sent to the best contractors for the jobs based on eligibility, ranking scores and true business rules. Clients use data to rank and score contractors, such as rejection percentages, cost, quality, cycle or turnaround time and schedule adherence. Or, in cases where clients choose to tap into on-demand technicians in our connected marketplace, ServiceMarket, we can push work to the community, even through a bidding process, to fill the gaps in the service ecosystem.
Job statuses are collected from updates directly to the web application or from integrated BSM software. We use status update frequency as a ranking parameter as well, so clients can drive job volume to those whom provide the timeliest updates.
We know where contractors are because we’ve made it easy for them to tell us, and we’ve incentivized them to do the updates quickly through volume levers.
With the launch of our ServiceMobility product in 2013, which is HTML5 technology, we’ve made it even easier to provide instant updates to jobs. Using any device, a field worker can get their schedule, see details, view tasks, access documents and other media in the field to improve first time fix rates, collect signatures, and process payments.
However, what’s most important is making sure that using 3rd party contractors, entirely or as a supplemental workforce, provides the same levels of service and line of sight that your organization requires to meet its customer’s expectations.
So, to that end, in 2015 we are building out additional product features in ServiceMobility. It has always included a basic SaaS BMS. We’re extending that functionality to include enterprise level functionality that even SMB’s can benefit from, in the cloud, at a very low cost. We’re adding in asset/inventory management, customer entitlement, on site quotations, parts, and our flagship optimization technology as well.
We already knew where your contractors were. But, now, we can provide even more value to the contracted members of the service delivery chain. We can make them more efficient, get real time information on jobs they run on your behalf, ensuring the level of service is what both you and your end user customers expect.