5 Signs That your Field Service Company is Ready for a Modernized Field Service Management Solution
Dynamics 365 for Field Service will empower your technicians to function more efficiently. Your company may be ready for an update.
Dynamics 365 for Field Service will empower your technicians to function more efficiently. Your company may be ready for an update.
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Is your company ready for a state-of-the-art field service management solution? Dynamics 365 for Field Service can empower your technicians to function more efficiently. I’ve identified five signs that can help you realize it’s time to take the next steps with Connected Field Service.
Before we analyze these signs further, we need to understand what Connected Field Service (IoT) is. Microsoft defines it as “[Connected Field Service] is the ability to add connected devices, powered by the Internet of Things (IoT), and leverages cloud capabilities to augment your existing field service operations. It enables organizations to transform the way they provide service from a costly, reactive break-fix model to a proactive and in some cases, even predictive service model through the holistic combination of IoT diagnostics, scheduling, asset maintenance, and inventory on the same platform.”
Now that we understand what connected field service is, let’s talk about some of the benefits.
Predict and Proactively Prevent
With connected assets, you’re able to view error codes and logs on each asset that give you a picture of historical failures and potential failures. With this auto-generated log of activity, you’re able to better understand patterns and outcomes in each scenario and can use technology to predict potential failures of specific assets based on historical data. This also allows you to dispatch the right technician to service specific assets based on their skillset and proactively ship inventory to repair or replace assets prior to service.
By tracking failure trends, you can report on how often your service team is dispatched to certain areas, length of time to resolution, and costs associated.
Increase First Time Fix Rates
With the proper skill set and parts shipped in advance of technician arrival, first time fixed rates will increase. In turn, you will save money on technician travel and hours, while also increasing SLA compliance rates.
Identifying error codes that do not require a technician to be dispatched allows the field service team to call the customer site contact and have the customer perform a reset or user level repair task. For example, this scenario could include simple tasks the user can perform like vacuuming the air intake or replacing a keyboard when it arrives. Other examples include updating the software, forcing a system reset, or clearing the air remotely. Performing any of these actions would fix the error without requiring a technician on site.
Remote diagnostics give you the ability to monitor the health and trends of equipment from any location. This helps to determine repair needs and assist the field service team when issues arise, track performance of assets, and plan for preventative maintenance. By understanding asset trends and becoming more proactive with maintenance, you are able to decrease repair costs and better schedule technicians.
By achieving contracted KPIs and ensuring asset reliability, you’re more likely to retain customers through increasing customer confidence in your product and ability to maintain the product. A happy customer equals a returning customer.
Now that we know the benefits of a connected field service system, let’s take a closer look at the five signs that you’re ready for one.
Having a service management tool in place and processes defined is the first sign that you’re ready for an updated system. Use the questions below in each area as a guide to review your current processes in order to identify any gaps or areas of concern.
Work Order Creation
How are you currently creating work orders? Are you manually creating them? When a customer calls for the service request, do you have a connection with a customer’s ticketing system? With connected field service, an error code could create a service request without manual intervention.
Incident Type Identification
Does your tool have a way to identify potential failures on your assets? Do you have a way to identify the skills required for each specific service? Do you have visibility into which potential parts should be used or what procedures should be followed to remedy the failures?
Having a connected field service in place allows you to align error codes with what is required to repair from the proper skill set, replacement parts, procedures to follow, and resolutions.
Does your tool have dispatching capability manually or automated? Are you able to gain a wholistic view of your available technicians and their skill sets in multiple areas?
With a modern schedule board, you can automate technician assignments based on availability, location, proximity to job, skill matrix, and much more.
Does your tool have the ability to track each asset’s information from configuration, readings, or location?
IoT devices allow you to connect pertinent information from each asset directly back to your system, ensuring you and your team have access to real-time information from anywhere.
Work Order Completion
Does your system have a way to track resolutions for certain failure types so you can monitor failure trends? Do you have immediate access to work orders as they are completed?
Are you able to understand how a work order was generated, notes made, time to complete, and inventory required?
With a connected field service solution, each work order is able to be completed in the field for faster invoicing and enhanced customer service.
Resource Skills & Certifications
Does your tool have way to identify resource skills and certifications that align with the failure types?
Having this in place will assist with aligning the proper resources with the error codes that the assets produce.
IoT Error Reporting
Does your tool have the capability to track error logging from remote assets?
Having IOT capabilities in place to connect to and report error logging from your fielded assets gives you the flexibility to
IoT Performance Tracking
Does your tool have the capability to report on assets’ health and failure trends?
Having IoT Performance Tracking in place will allow you to not only see when an error occurred on an asset, but also give you a way to perform root cause analysis if you start to see a trend on failures with similar assets.
Is there a need to enhance your resources capabilities transitioning from to traditional break fix to intelligent service?
Having IoT in place could help to enhance your resources capabilities with the following items.
Error Logging Without Manual Intervention
Are your customers requesting service? Are you logging calls from customers?
Error logging without manual intervention creates the field service request when an asset has an error code. In some instances, you will be able to contact the customer site about a failure or dispatch a resource before the customer even is aware of the failure.
View into Asset Errors
Are your technicians lacking a way to view the error log outside of the office?
View into Asset Errors gives your resources the ability to see the error log remotely to see if they can identify.
Ability to Remotely Repair
Do you have a solution for remote repairs?
Ability to Remotely Repair allows your resources the ability to either call the customer site to ask the contact to make user level repairs or have the ability to reset errors on the assets or push software updates.
Decrease Work Order Creation Interaction
Are you looking to automate your work order creation?
Error logging can be automated to create service requests when configured to do so. If you have an auto scheduling aspect, after the error logs the service requests, your resources with the proper skill set will be scheduled. This allows your coordinators and dispatchers to focus their attention on other items.
Decrease Manual Asset Tracking
Are you currently requiring your resources to update asset records to track performance?
Connected field service provides access to the asset performance logs.
Decrease Manual Asset Reporting
Are you manually generating audits of asset performance?
Connected field service provides performance logs of individual or similar assets so your company has a view of the field of the assets in real time.
Does your company and customers have the appetite for technology adoption?
Are your assets prepared with IoT capabilities?
Do your assets have self-diagnostic capabilities?
Do your assets defined error codes that identify root causes?
Do your assets have performance tracking with dedicated sensors?
Do your assets have Internet capabilities?
If your assets do not have these capabilities, look into investing to develop them if your company manufactures the assets or ask the asset providers to look into developing them to advance them into advanced diagnostics.
Do you have a current service management tool in place or looking to add one?
Transitioning your current process from manual to more of an automated process with work order creation, dispatching, asset performance tracking, customer locations?
Look into leveraging the possibility of automating your process with IOT if your current service management tool has them in place or look into utilizing a new service management tool that could give you these capabilities.
If you’re ready for the transition, are your customers?
Do your customer sites have internet access?
Will your customer sites allow remote access? For example, if it’s in a government facility, do they allow remote access?
Are there any regulatory compliance issues with accessing your assets? For example, a medical device facility with HIPAA.
Having an open discussion with your customers about accessing their assets remotely and how it will benefit them by increasing uptime availability usually helps to get through any roadblocks.
Does your company have key KPIs that require improvement?
Are you wanting to improve your first-time fix rate?
By ensuring that the right skill sets, and parts are dispatched for service requests, your first-time fixed rate percentage will increase. This will impact your other KPIs, like decreasing your travel times, cost per success, and time between visits. All in all, it makes your service team more efficient.
Are you trying to increase uptime availability?
Being more efficient means that your customer’s assets are operational more consistently. This results in increasing your contract renewals and the ability to sell more assets, add-ons to the assets, and more products the assets may use at the customer site.
Is your mean time to respond and your mean time to repair longer than you’d like?
Having the ability to log service requests through a connected field service application and aligning the proper technician to job to decrease your mean time to respond, and mean time to repair.
Are you wanting to increase your customer retention? Are your customers satisfied with your services?
Of course, this KPI is the biggest because returning customers are satisfied customers. They’re satisfied with the service your company provides and will renew their contracts for you to provide service.
Is your company looking for new revenue streams? If you’re looking to grow your business, increase revenue generated from current customers, or increase your customer base, a modern field service solution can help. It can give your sales team a warning when a renewal is coming up, so they can reach out to the customer equipped with data to upsell a higher service package or different equipment.
Do your customers come back for renewals? Do you have data available to inform your renewal sales?
Renewals are very valuable. That’s why returning customers are a major revenue stream that should be at the top of your list. Having that pipeline helps you grow your business even more. With a connected field service solution, you can set up automated renewals processed by the solution. A connected field service solution can also provide your sales team with a warning of when renewals are coming up. This gives them the opportunity to reach out to the customer equipped with data to upsell a higher service package or different equipment
Do you have low-cost options available to your customers?
Having a connected field service solution improves your efficiency and success rates so there is a possibility to provide some low-cost options to your customers. They provide more remote assist repairs instead of only providing on-site which is more costly. This provides a key differentiator between you and your competition, providing you statistics to leverage when renewing a customer contract or closing a new deal.
Securing the ability to meet your goals on your current contracts gives you success stories to pitch to new customers. Are current customers looking for your company to provide service for other products?
Being able to not only meet but exceed your current contract KPIs will allow you to pitch your services to other customers or provide expanded services to your current customers.
Predictive Maintenance Packages
Are you prepared for items that fail before your scheduled maintenance trips? Do you have predictive maintenance kits in place to combat this?
If you know an item is likely to fail before a scheduled maintenance trip, you can add these items to a predictive maintenance kit. The kits are delivered during a predictive maintenance visit, so it lowers the likelihood that your service request will be needed at a later date.
System Refresh Kits
This is an opportunity to provide kits that extend the life of your assets. With error log tracking, you can pinpoint component failure trends for your assets. For instance, you can track similar assets and see the average time of failure after install. Then, you can be prepared to offer a System Refresh Kit at or around the average time of failure.
In conclusion, these five signs are good indicators that your company may be ready to explore a connected field service. Learn more how Dynamics 365 for Field Service can empower your technicians to function more efficiently.