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Key Improvements Needed in Field Service Management
(4 minute read)
The real profit in manufacturing is not in the product, but in its services. If your business has awakened to this fact, then you might want to enable your service teams to become more proactive, and gradually become preemptive.
Field service personnel are often the unsung heroes of the organization. If the service team is quick and efficient in their routine tasks, they can make time for more relevant conversations with customers such as upcoming renewals, cross-selling/up-selling products and services, etc. By empowering your service team with the right technology, you can help them to focus on what really matters: a great customer experience.
Some key improvement areas for field service management can ensure strong service revenue and margin contributions – and that is nirvana to your leadership team.
Are you currently scheduling service resources manually?
Assigning service personnel manually to a service call is a tedious and a complex activity. There are too many factors to consider: skills required for the job, availability/accessibility of the technicians, required tools/parts, weighing between the nearest/best/fastest and other alternatives, and so on. The dispatcher also has to consider the location of the technicians’ current jobs before assigning them to the next one.
SAP Field Service Management (SAP FSM) comes with out-of-the-box AI plugins to automatically assign your service technicians after considering all of the parameters. Check out some of these attributes captured in the FSM Service call in the image below.
Does your scheduling board get optimized periodically?
There are times when the technician’s current job gets delayed, or sometimes there are events — like receiving an urgent job — that compromise the existing schedule. Another case could be that a technician may get sick or has some other time reservation that impacts the ability to execute the assigned activities. As a result, there are released jobs in the system which were not done during the planned time, as well as jobs for which the deadline was missed.
With SAP FSM, no manual intervention is needed to do rescheduling for the above reasons. The image below shows the desktop user interface (UI) for the dispatcher and technician mobile app that allows sick leave to be entered into SAP FSM. The system then takes care of the overlapping job as soon as the new time entry is created.
Does your service technician know enough about the job?
Before accepting a service call, a technician might want to:
- Visualize the route and distance to the service location
- See any job-related messages provided by the customer or dispatcher
- Know the safety instructions in order to ensure the required safety gear is on hand
- Look at the service history of the equipment and review previous issues and resolutions
- Check availability of required tools and parts
- View the other service call planned for the same customer
- Have an idea of other equipment installed at the customer site
SAP FSM provides all of the above capabilities out of the box. The image below shows how easy it is for the technician to access the necessary information about the risks and related safety instructions, just by looking at the jobs scheduled for any day.
Are you facing the issue of reductions in first-time fix?
Service teams are comprised of both experienced and new technicians. In order to ensure a uniform level of expertise, you might want to enable service technicians with working scripts for guided and controlled field service execution. With these checklists, technicians receive work instructions and the necessary technical information at each step of their installation/maintenance/upgrade job.
The checklists shown in the image below can be configured easily in the SAP FSM system.
Do customers have full visibility?
We live in an era of Uber and Amazon, where customers expect the same level of experience when they buy upkeep/upgrade/ad hoc services for their machines. Customers don’t to wait the whole day at home for a technician that is scheduled to fix a broken machine. Customers need the ability to:
- View the entire installed base
- Know about the service calls in process and their status
- Check any equipment details and service history
- Access the self-help knowledge base in order to troubleshoot for themselves
- Book a technician, upload images of the broken machine and select the desired service time
- Get notified when a technician is on the way, with an estimated time of arrival (ETA)
SAP FSM provides two interfaces for customer self-service: chat and portal. In the image below, we can see a customer scanning the QR code on a machine, which navigates him to an AI chatbot that provides access to all of the information discussed above.
Are your technicians still carrying paper reports?
Paper reports are an additional burden for everyone, and they delay the end-to-end processing of the service call completion through to invoicing the customer. Technicians need to fill out paper reports manually, carry them back and submit them weekly at the office. Reviewers go through the reports to approve them, and often have to check back with the technician to address typos or request additional information needed to correctly invoice the customer. All of the information must be manually fed into the billing system.
With SAP FSM, technicians have the ability to capture efforts, materials, mileage and expenses through the mobile device. Upon check-out, the system creates a report automatically, which the technician can get signed by the customer. The reviewer can approve/request change/edit the submitted entries, and approved items are automatically sent to the ERP system so that the customer can be invoiced.
It’s time to get preemptive.
Once your business has achieved the automations described above, you can get preemptive with your service processes. Products can alert the SAP FSM system when they detect a symptom that may indicate a forthcoming failure and trigger creation of a service call to address the issue.
I hope this article has made you enthusiastic about revamping the capabilities of your field service teams. Feel free to contact us for additional information.