Field Workforce Management Challenges - How to Deal with Them?
It has been established through research that small, medium, and even large-scale businesses find difficulty in managing the field workforce.
It has been established through research that small, medium and even large-scale businesses find difficulty in managing the field workforce. To overcome the operational complexities and manage the workforce, the field services industry requires superior tools of management. This article details out key challenges and how to get rid of those efficiently and in the right way without any lag in productivity and performance of the field workforce.
Most common setbacks related to field workforce management
To monitor the productivity of the field servicemen: Practically, it is not possible to track the productivity and efficiency of the field servicemen as the supervisor or manager has low field visibility. To manage, the supervisor will either call up the servicemen over the phone or assign him the task verbally which the servicemen may not actualize. There is a huge gap in the way jobs are performed and reported to the supervisor or manager. Due to this gap, it is almost impossible for the manager to track, monitor, and eventually manage the field services in an error-free way.
In such a situation, the manager also faces problems in tracking productivity aspects such as technician’s efficiency and performance, traveling time, job completion time, etc. Hence, it is inevitable for questions to arise, like when he checked out and how much time did the technician took to complete the job, was the work done to the customer's satisfaction? Field workforce software provides a supervisor or manager to deal with such questions and manage these efficiently. The software is an automated tool to monitor maximum field activity by tracking the current location of the technicians on a real-time basis, the route which they take for traveling, or places they halt in, the amount of time they take to complete a job, etc.
Work assigning amongst the field servicemen: Assigning work is the prime responsibility in a managerial position. But it is a big challenge also if he needs to distribute the work equally and impartially amongst his servicemen. At times, the manager can be overburdened with work assigning as he would be expected to assign jobs to the rightly skilled technician against the right job. This means he needs to conduct a skill-based distribution for the jobs. Apart from this, the service manager may also require keeping in mind other aspects such as the availability of the servicemen, his proximity to the job location, or the time required to travel.
To look after so many aspects manually may arise in job conflicts, and if the team is big, it may arise in chaos to manage. Hence, field workforce software comes as a great rescue in this regard. The software uses data mining techniques to check the availability of the servicemen considering their pre-existing schedules. The software also maintains the data efficiency of his work and builds up his skill set so that the manager can assign the right job to the right person of interest. As the software monitors the real-time of the servicemen, it becomes easy for the manager to scan the profile of the servicemen and his proximity to the destination and thereby schedule the job to the right person. More precisely, the field workforce scheduling software makes it easy for the manager to promptly manage the scheduling of the jobs by employing minimum time and maximum turn arounds.
Effective communication with the field workforce:
To ensure the workflow is unhampered, it is pertinent to keep a seamless and real-time communication with the servicemen. For this, the field workforce management software automatizes uniform communication, thereby mitigating the necessity of a communicator. Automatic notifications are sent to the technicians to inform them about various communications such as new schedules, customer details, previous history of customers, any change in plans, etc.
Easy access to key information on a real-time basis: Proper information dissemination amongst the field workforce is not possible all the time if it is maintained manually. At times, lack of information may become one of the prime reasons for inefficient productivity among field service members. Again, it is not possible to get connected to the back-office agent for a particular piece of information all the time, which can eventually lead to some sort of productivity leak. For this field, workforce software provides centralized cloud-based storage for storing the data of company services or customer information securely at one commonplace. Field servicemen can get access to this database from their own mobiles or laptops through the field workforce management application. This application can access required information such as service history, service contracts, warranty, inventory history, etc.
It is not wrong to conclude that the field workforce is the root cause of low operational efficiency in any field service. It is evident that poor efficiency may cause underrated service quality. For field services to operate effectively, the right tools and access technologies are needed to be deployed and, of course, in the right manner. Field workforce software management is the answer to the above-stated problems. By using real-time data, skill set scheduling and cloud storage provide a platform to improve the efficiency and productivity of the field workforce.
Suyash is a customer experience manager at FieldCircle, a field service technology company. A writer by heart, he loves to spread the word around how customers interact with business across channels and the role of next-generation technology in customer experience and business success.