How digital transformation and the labor shortage are changing how service delivery gets done

4 min read

Finding the right talent and managing that talent go hand in hand. Kinettix supports service providers who leverage Field Nation by providing managed services. Recently, Field Nation’s Head of Partnerships Brandon Lytle sat down with Chad Mattix, Kinettix’s Founder and CEO, to discuss present challenges and future opportunities in the field services space.


Brandon: 

Tell us about Kinettix.  

Chad:

Kinettix helps global managed service providers and IT services companies leverage on-site talent platforms like Field Nation to scale as resource demands fluctuate. We work with companies to implement, integrate, and enable on-demand talent in their environment so they can extract the full power and benefits of the platform. 

By utilizing best practices, we help companies develop talent pools, align expectations around deliverables, and develop a scheduling strategy and cost basis for field technicians. Additionally, we provide superior project management and coordination resources globally while minimizing the complexity of leveraging a contingent workforce and identifying international partners.

Brandon:

Digital transformation is a term that I think all industries are using. In terms of tech stacks and digital transformation, what have you seen from your customers in the field service space?

Chad:

We’re seeing the customers wanting to know the technician, build preferred talent pools, etc.  They want to build confidence and build automation into workflows. And when you buy labor directly off a platform, you’re giving more budget to the technician. If you’re a large buyer of labor and you’re using third-party providers to manage the outcome, you can indemnify a lot of different types of risk, but you lose visibility to the tech. I think that’s the transformation we’re seeing: the technician matters more.

Brandon:

That’s where our partnership has a lot of value. When Kinettix helps optimize a company’s Field Nation experience by building services around it, they can actually make strategic decisions based off of those insights. Transitioning a little bit, let’s talk about the labor shortage. What have you been hearing from the companies you work with?

Chad:

We’re seeing the labor shortage’s impact across the board, and it’s changing how companies approach staffing and the type of resources they send into the field. As background, what Kinettix does is provide project coordinators. So the idea is that we would track the technician, check the technician in and out of the site, and manage technician data. What we’re seeing is that companies need additional coordination capacity to support the work, and they are having trouble finding people to do that work. 

We’re also seeing the average age of technicians increasing. So it’s been hard to find those resources. The way we’ve been augmenting that is getting people with less experience that are reliable and communicate well. When you have those things, it’s usually a pretty good end-user experience. We’re also seeing OEMs want more and more certification. They want more confidence. But once you wrap service centers and technical capabilities around that, we’re seeing the adoption of more “standard” techs who are able to complete tickets that, in the past, people felt had to be very unique or customized.

Brandon:

Let’s look into the future. Where do you see this industry being in five years?

Chad:

I think in five years from now, more and more service providers will provide project coordination and project management services. Platforms are going to be integrated. Labor’s going to be consumed as a utility. I think it’s going to be an obligation to be able to buy that labor directly, and it’s all going to be on a platform.

I also think we’re in the midst of a large level of consolidation. We’re seeing a lot of acquisitions, and companies are consolidating and they’re integrating and they’re having a terrible job at best. It’s creating gaps in efficiency. We’re seeing distributors being disrupted now that they not only want to sell you the product, but they want to sell you services built into that. So there’s this ecosystem of all these things that are converging together and that’s what we’re battling against––because it’s just margin dilution. You have to reduce layers. And I don’t know how you get it any other way than engaging and adopting on-demand labor and then working with your PMs, and your teams, to manage that event. And if you need someone like us to help scale it up as it goes up and down, that’s good for us. But the future will be that labor procurement is going to be integrated into my platform, or how I deliver my services, whatever that may be.

Brandon:

What are you seeing in terms of trying to enact this digital transformation and reassess how service organizations are currently doing field service? 

Chad:

There’s a lot of friction. As organizations are becoming more and more tuned into cost, scale, and the quality of the technician, these conversations become more and more strategic. The key issue is who’s going to manage the indemnification and the risk of that tech. So there has to be a way to piece these parts together. 

Our revenue stream that we call “managed outcome” has declined. It’s almost like 75%. We don’t seek that work. We don’t want that work. We don’t want the obligation of paying for the technician. We don’t want to deal with the margin crunch that’s always occurring there. Some of our biggest customers used to be our competitors and now we’re just providing coordination support to help them ratchet it up.

Brandon:

That’s a good segue until the last question. If you had a crystal ball and we were looking two years in advance, what types of customers are perfect for you? 

Chad:

Customers that have a repeatable, mature process that is using third parties. They understand how they’re engaging those third parties. Those are and will continue to be good fits for us.


Visit our partner page to learn more about how Field Nation’s partners are helping service delivery leaders flex operational capacity to meet volatile customer demand.