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Well Change is certainly a major theme in this edition of Field Service News. In fact it seems to be permeating every inch of the industry right now.
So let’s start at the obvious point. Managing Change (or change management). All too often in our industry we talk about the benefits of implementing a new field service management system or a new mobile workforce management solution or an enterprise mobility management system or whatever we want to call it today.
We get caught up in new technologies, new acronyms and new promises of even greater productivity improvements, efficiency savings, happy staff, happy customers and a generally all round better life experience for anyone within touching distance.
How excited we all are to get away from our spread sheets and post it notes and boldly step into the twenty first century with both feet.
Yet we rarely talk about how we are going to make that leap from a to b. It’s not just a case of handing out a bunch of new devices and switching all the old ones off. Do that and you may as well have invested a fortune in a bunch of really nice looking paperweights, because without proper roll out amongst your team you can bet a pretty penny or three that at the first hurdle a huge majority of your workforce, will turn their backs on their new tools and revert back to how things were before.
[quote]I actually know of one example where an engineer who when he was given a shiny new iPad to do his work on he would still do everything on paper and then spend an extra half an hour to an hour in his van evry night completing the administration on his iPad.Try and stop them and they will find ingenious ways of working around the new tools. Why? Despite what it may sometimes feel like it is not because they are desperately trying to make your life harder. In fact in most cases they are probably working that little bit harder themselves. Staying extra to upload the information onto the new ‘thingy’ at the end of the day. I actually know of one example where an engineer who when he was given a shiny new iPad to do his work on he would still do everything on paper and then spend an extra half an hour to an hour in his van evry night completing the administration on his iPad. In his mind his priority was to get the job done first and then deal with the admin.
Had this particular organisation gone through a more thorough Change Management program then perhaps our earnest engineer could have seen that this device was as much an investment in him and making his life easier throughout the day rather than an additional duty to attend to and the poor chap could have got home for his supper on time!
One company whop absolutely got it right when it comes to Change Management is Tyco led admirably by the highly impressive Sharon Moura, VP of IT Transformation and Strategy. I’ve had the pleasure of writing a series of articles based around her work in rolling out the ServiceMax field service management solution and she has an uncanny knack of being able to translate things into very simple concepts yet simultaneously covering every inch of ground so no stone is unturned and their are minimal hiccups along the way to a successful IT implementation. You can read more about this in our feature ‘Are you ready for change’ which begins on page 18.
A different type of change is also on the cards for a number of companies including manufacturing giant Siemems. This time however the change is a looming spectre over an ageing workforce that needs a succession plan for somebody to come and taker over otherwise there could be some very serious crises as we begin to enter the second decade of this new millennium.
Siemens who predict they need to increase their existing workforce by an additional 50 field engineers by 2020 to meet current demands, yet face losing up to 100 engineers through retirement are certainly not alone in this predicament. However, they are certainly being both pro-active and innovative about finding the solutions. Having heard the excellent Martin Hotass speaking at the most recent Service Community event on this topic it is clear that they are doing everything they can to remedy the situation and in our interview with Graeme Coyne we look a little closer at what those remedies are. It is certainly an issue you should be aware of today because it will bite you hard when tomorrow comes if you don’t have plans in place like the good folk at Siemens do.
Finally as we continue to stay with the theme of Change there are plenty of changes required in some of the field service organisations that completed our recent survey into field service management standards.
Whilst there were some positives that came out of the research, especially around actually validating the benefits of real-time telematics and other elements of field service management system through some hard and fast data, there were some really quite worrying trends highlighted that suggest a real disconnect between how we judge our standards and how our customers perceive us.
In today’s world of smart phones and sat navs it’s almost impossible to not know where you are at any given time yet unbelievably 43% of companies still have staff getting lost on a regular basis. Even more unbelievable is that 5% have staff turn up at the wrong address every week! Occasionally is forgivable perhaps but a weekly occurrence is an issue that needs to be seriously addressed when your workforce are field professionals. You can find out more about this research in our main feature, which begins on page 23.
Finally if your in Amsterdam this month at either the Field Service Europe or AfterMarket conferences do come and say hello!