It’s time to rethink field service operations | Droppoint
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It’s time to rethink field service operations

Female manager interacting with tablet while male technician looks over her shoulder

Droppoint CEO, Jason Flanagan, looks at the major challenges facing field service organisations today, and explains why now is the time for fresh thinking and flexible solutions.

If you run a field service business, you already know that profit margins are under pressure, customers demand better service, and everyone expects real-time information and instant results. Uncertain global business conditions related to the COVID 19 pandemic’s impacts are likely to intensify the pressure field service executives feel.

However, approaches designed to improve field service performance are constrained. Logistics for such organisations are fundamentally broken. Businesses are forced to use B2C solutions with fixed infrastructure to provide service outcomes for their clients.

Business leaders we talk to are frustrated with how rigid, traditional processes and systems are used to try and achieve significant efficiency gains across service operations. These include three unchanging, global management processes – managing technicians, managing materials (spares, consumables, and finished goods), and managing assets in the field. 

Our industry has traditionally worked to improve each of these processes individually, often within functional silos. But this approach ignores these two important considerations:

1. That fantastic customer experience is only achievable when these three processes work together and aim to overcome the customer’s challenges.

2. That engineering an effective single process falls outside the capability of most organisations largely because the stakeholders in the service event are rarely all controlled by the service function. 

If the three processes work together and focus on the end-customer, the improvements and business benefits can be substantial, a fact most senior leaders acknowledge and understand. But the current systems are lacking. While they may help manage and coordinate technicians and assets, materials management remains a disjointed and inefficient contributor.  

New opportunities are waiting to be unlocked.

What if a single process could manage the service event from end to end, ensuring that customer experience outcomes were improved? Optimising field service helps more than just the team in the warehouse and technicians in the field. Investing in coordinated processes and systems can open up new doors and afford you the power to vastly improve your entire business.

Technicians, typically representing about 80 – 90% of total service costs, can spend considerable time on non-service-related tasks. These tasks might include driving to collect or return materials, chasing materials required for their job, reconciling different systems, and communicating around failed service events.

We also observe that logistics costs can be equalised with inventory costs, significantly reducing operating overheads by about 30% with one streamlined process. This reduction in overheads is reflected right through the service management process – management, planning, customer service, supply chain planning etc. It’s these benefits that drive enhanced service performance.

This demonstrates how moving and managing materials related to service events can be an integral part of exceeding end-customer expectations – not a disjointed and rigid process to be endured.

Perhaps more importantly, end-customer benefits are fundamentally improved by working back from the customers’ requirements and designing services that overcome their identified challenges and exceed their expectations. These benefits for end-users are realised in higher equipment uptime – people want and expect that ‘always on’ state, one where the equipment they rely on is continuously working. And if you don’t make that happen, it opens the door for competitive offerings.

So, how do you do this? It’s all about adopting a more innovative and connected approach.

Materials orchestration … provide[s] customers with the ‘always on’ uptime they demand while improving economic and environmental outcomes.

What is this more innovative approach?

For many years, businesses have been utilising technology to provide visibility and control that increases speed, convenience, and customer satisfaction without sacrificing profitability.

Now, more than ever, it’s time to bring this same approach to field service operations. This approach, which sees broader systems working in concert with more extensive and agile logistics assets, defines a new category of service logistics.

Materials orchestration is an innovative approach to field service logistics that can provide your customers with the ‘always on’ uptime they demand while improving economic and environmental outcomes for your business.

By providing you with complete visibility and control across all areas of your service operations, you have the power and ability to improve your team’s productivity, reduce costs, identity inefficiencies, improve communications, and streamline operations end-to-end.

For any business that carries out services in the field, this approach is a game-changer. It closes the gaps between all touchpoints and connects everyone across the organisation to the information and materials they need, when and where they need it.

This results in:

  • Increased field service profits
  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • Greater end-to-end operational efficiencies
  • Decreased carbon footprint
  • Reduced equipment downtime
  • Greater team productivity

The future is changing. People’s needs are different and so too is the world around us. As a business leader, you need to rethink your approach to moving and managing your materials and team and embrace more innovative solutions that align with these customer’s needs. This does not mean changing your entire model, system setup, or operational flow. Instead, it means optimising what you’ve already got to unlock new opportunities and benefits business-wide. And that’s exactly what materials orchestration allows you to do.

I genuinely believe this more transparent, more innovative, and more connected approach is the way forward for all field service providers. And to help make it a reality, Droppoint has developed a world-leading solution, underpinned by the Materials Orchestration System™ (MOS™) platform . I’m so excited to be part of a team that’s leading the way in this space and can’t wait to share more with you in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

To learn more about materials orchestration and to discover how it can your benefit your organisation and your customers, get in touch.

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