John Cameron, general manager of Trimble Field Service Management, discusses the importance of leveraging flexible fleet options to better serve the needs of an increasingly dynamic field service workforce
There are a plethora of technologies on the market today that enable fleet and field services businesses to measure, record and analyse every aspect of their field operation; from knowing where their drivers are to controlling fuel costs, ensuring drivers' safety and working to keep customers satisfied through intelligent scheduling.
With ever increasing customer expectations and rising competition in service, the dynamics of today’s field service workforce are changing to adapt to these demands
As a result, the need for more flexible fleet options is required to ensure all workers and vehicles are managed effectively in order to optimise the workflow and meet service commitments. Indeed, Aberdeen Group report that over half of organisations that have a hybrid workforce (both contractor and non-contractor) have prioritised further investment in technology tools which enable better field access information.
Managing a flexible workforce
Service organisations have become more open to diversifying their workforces with contractors because they know, if managed correctly, there will be no drop off in performance. Such a workforce offers field service organisations a myriad of benefits. These include, flexibility for service resources, increased coverage, a reduction in service costs and increased quality as a result of allowing the organisation to focus on core competencies while not being stretched too thin to meet customer needs.
Service organisations have become more open to diversifying their workforces with contractors because they know, if managed correctly, there will be no drop off in performance
Many plug and play solutions can also be integrated with work management solutions which can offer optimised scheduling and job dispatch so a business can have complete visibility of their jobs and mobile workers alongside their fleet, all in one solution.
This access to information empowers field workers with the customer and service insight at their fingertips necessary to resolve issues quickly no matter what type of worker they are.
Fostering fleet flexibility through mobility
Aberdeen Group recently found that 82 per cent of field service organisations identified mobility as a strategic initiative for the service operation in the next 12 months, as a tool to empower the field with real-time intelligence to make decisions and resolve issues to better serve the customer.
Indeed, an increasing number of field service businesses are integrating their work management capabilities into mobile applications, which they can then offer to their technicians to allow them to share, store and view job data while out in the field, offering them a virtual link to the back office that helps to inform and empower them. Contractor workers or employees who use their own vehicles can also benefit from the use of mobile apps, if initially provisioned in to the back end system.
When a technician reviews and accepts a job within a mobile application, the mobile device’s navigation tool can help them find the most efficient route
Ultimately, fleet and field service businesses are constantly changing the way that they operate to keep up with the needs of the market. Fostering complete visibility of a workforce will always be a main priority but more flexible fleet options need to be adopted today in order to achieve this across an increasingly dynamic field service workforce. Contractor workforces, leased workers and vehicles and employees that use their own vehicles for work are all becoming prevalent as each offers their own benefits for helping businesses to improve efficiency and boost their bottom line. Building flexibility into a work day and having access to ‘flexible’ technologies that provides the same level of visibility to measure and manage operations as traditional in-vehicle telematics devices are therefore vital to operational success.