Welcome to the first product release update of 2021!
For this edition, we checked in with EVP of Product Management, Wael Mohammed to hear how customer feedback inspired our product plans for 2021. We also talk about new enhancements being released this quarter to help customers maximize profitability in 2021 and beyond.
What are some common themes you’ve heard from customers about the challenges of field service delivery going into 2021?
“All of our customers want to maximize profitability. What business doesn’t? With field services, there are two ways to do that – growing the top line and optimizing the bottom line.
Growing the top line is easier said than done. Service delivery organizations have to price their bids competitively if they want to win, but they also have to build in enough margin for the job to be profitable. Finding that sweet spot is really challenging.
Many customers are bidding blindly on projects because they rely on their own historical pricing data. They often use a “cost plus” strategy that takes their cost and adds a little margin on top – and then they cross their fingers it’s competitive.
On the flip side, companies are trying to do more with less from an operations perspective. Margins are already under serious pressure, so companies are trying to take cost out wherever they can, whether it’s parts, labor, travel, or dispatch and coordination staff – without compromising on quality for the end customer.”
Aren’t top-line growth and bottom-line efficiency competing priorities?
“We often see friction between the different parts of a service delivery business. Specifically, tension arises between the part of the business focused on growth (typically sales) and the part of the business focused on delivery (typically operations).
For example, the sales team brings in a deal, but operations may not have enough coverage to fulfill it. Or, sales prices a bid competitively to win, leaving operations to solve the challenge of delivering at that price point. It’s a constant push and pull.”
How can working with Field Nation help companies address these challenges?
“Field Nation is uniquely positioned to help companies more closely and strategically align the different parts of their business, and in doing so, maximize profitability.
In retail, they used to say inventory is evil. In field services, travel is evil. Windshield time can be such a large percent of a project’s overall cost, and it just kills profitability. Sourcing local labor that’s close to the job site versus paying to travel your W2s can reduce labor costs 20-30 percent. Some customers have even seen savings as high as 50 percent. That’s first.
Then, from a top-line perspective, Field Nation can help companies win more business, and win it at a healthy margin, thanks to real-time, marketplace-wide pricing and coverage data from MarketSmart™ Insights.
From a bottom-line perspective, the tools and automation built into the Field Nation platform can help companies reduce the amount of time spent vetting and assigning talent, and reviewing and approving work – reducing the overall cost of dispatch by 30% or more without sacrificing quality. One customer recently doubled the capacity of their dispatch team in just 9 months without adding headcount.
Combined, these enhancements can dramatically improve margins at a time when it’s never been more critical or more challenging.”
How does the business need to maximize profitability translate into Field Nation’s product strategy?
“We have 3 areas of focused investments in 2021 to drive value and enable customers to achieve their business objectives.
First, in the area of intelligence, we’re helping customers increase win rates and respond faster to opportunities by providing real-time, marketplace-wide pricing and coverage insights through our new MarketSmart™ Insights tool.
We’re also investing in talent sourcing and vetting to help customers reduce vetting time, increase success rates, and improve first-time resolution rates. The new enhancements in PeopleSmart Talent Management support these goals by helping companies build trust with new technicians more quickly, reducing vetting time by approximately 30 percent.
Finally, we’re introducing new workflow and automation capabilities that enable companies to reduce their cost of service delivery by reducing the time spent reviewing and approving work orders. With our new WorkSmart Productivity suite, dispatchers can manage by exception and only spend time on the work orders that require extra attention – reducing their review and approval time by one-third.”
When will these new capabilities be available?
“MarketSmart Insights, and the enhancements in both the WorkSmart Productivity Suite and PeopleSmart Talent Management, are all available now for Field Nation Premier customers. To learn more, customers can contact their Field Nation account rep, or listen to the recording of our Q1 “New and Now @ Field Nation” product webinar series.”