There are three key considerations that field service organizations must take into account when building a modern workforce, including the changing demographics from Baby Boomer to Millennial, the impact of technology on field service operations, and the growth of the ‘gig’ economy. These three areas present significant opportunities and challenges for field workforce management today and in the future.
THE CHANGING LANDSCAPE OF FIELD SERVICE
Field service organizations are shifting the way they build and manage their mobile workforces compared to the models of the last decade. Major forces behind this shift include societal changes, significant advances in the technology that underpins field service delivery, and the structural evolution of core business strategies amongst service organizations themselves.
A new dichotomy of excellence and efficiency
Customer expectations are higher than ever, yet executives in field service organizations continue to demand their operations do more with less. For many companies, this is an untenable position to hold.
Companies like Uber and Amazon set the precedent for what is possible in terms of efficiency, while also driving customer expectations of convenience, ease of use, and simplicity even higher. As a result, the line between service expectations across Business-to-Consumer (B2C) and Business-to-Business (B2B) is blurring.
In the B2B world, companies ask questions like:
Why does it take my service provider days to ship an essential part to repair an expensive asset whose unplanned downtime is costing my organization millions in lost production revenue, when Amazon can ship items to me within a day?
The truth is that the part being shipped may be specialized, rush-ordered from another continent, or require that the engineer who can fix the asset meets stringent requirements and is thus in high demand. The organization’s service standards and time frames of service delivery may well be comparable, or even preferable, to its nearest competitors.
However, as technology and business practices advance service expectations, it is no longer good enough to deliver better service than your direct competitors. In today’s world, you compete with the greatest service experience your customers have ever had.
It may be an unfair expectation, but as service delivery becomes more aligned with top-line revenue, it is one that must be acknowledged and tackled head-on.
Making this more challenging is a similar increase in internal expectations for service delivery. As field service organizations undergo digital transformation, technology can streamline their processes and help them achieve greater efficiency across the board.
Companies seeking to achieve more for less is nothing new. According to Field Service News research in 2018, 73% of field service directors stated that “their field service organization was being pressed to achieve a higher workload with the same size or smaller field workforce.”
So how do organizations overcome such a dichotomy? With the right processes in place, it’s possible. We’ll explore how in the following sections.