Maximize Resources by Increasing Utilization Levels—Here’s How

Utilization is the primary KPI for every project-driven company but how do you know if every minute spent is maximized?

Table of Content

    Original author, James Thomas

    Utilization is a primary KPI for every project-driven company. Of course, utilized resources generate revenue. But it’s not only through projects or service calls. It’s also through the opportunity to meet face-to-face with customers to talk about their ongoing needs or purchasing additional products and services.

    And the more your team interacts with your customers, the higher your customer satisfaction ratings. They can show your customers just how much the company cares about the value your products and services deliver.

    But the benefits of utilization don’t end there! Utilized resources get challenged to apply their skills, and they can expand their experiences with on-the-job learning opportunities. They also don’t sit around getting bored and restless, which can lead to low morale in the short-term and low retention rates in the long term.

     6 Tips for Driving Utilization Rates Higher

    To help you increase the utilization rates of your team, we’ve pulled together six key capabilities to start on the right path:

    1. Record timesheet activity accurately—before you can maximize utilization, you have to know the precise utilization rates of all your resources. This requires using timesheet tools that make it easy for resources to submit time and for managers to track time. You can then establish a utilization rate baseline by which to set future goals.
    2. Talk to customers—as is the case with just about everything in your business, utilization is not just about your company—it also involves your customers. Before pushing for more billable time, get feedback from your customers to make sure you prioritize their needs first. You may discover untapped opportunities that can easily boost your utilization. Or, you may realize your current customer base is saturated and that the only way to realistically increase utilization is to expand your customer base.
    3. Assess if your resources match customer needs—depending on what your customers tell you they need, determine the availability of the required skillsets among your current resources. You may determine you need to expand skill sets or move resources to new assignments in order to drive higher utilization. It may also be necessary to adjust the number of resources on your bench, up or down.
    4. Automate workflows and notifications—the system you use to track and manage utilization should automatically notify resources and managers about task assignments and changes to task status. The system should also automate work orders and service tickets so employees don’t waste time chasing down information or going uninformed about a task that needs to be addressed. Everyone must be able to quickly plug in what they do so they can move on to their next job.
    5. Improve scheduling capabilities—this is all about putting the resources with the right skills, tools and inventory where they need to be at the right time. When managing large teams and a large number of customer tasks, this can’t be done manually, especially when under pressure. A scheduling tool is paramount. In some cases, you will need to shift multiple resources and interact with multiple customers to accommodate getting the right resource to one specific customer or project.
    6. Forecast projected workloads—once you have accurate and automated information flowing across your business, you can begin to forecast your future utilization rates and make adjustments in real time. This includes understanding the required resources for projects and service incidents in the pipeline. Consider both the number of resources you need and the required skillsets. And look at closed deals as well as those that your sales team expects to close to see if you will run short given the resources in your current pool. You may be able to proactively identify when it’s time to build a bullpen of stand-by resources.

    As a bonus tip, in addition to increasing your billable utilization rate, also look for opportunities to decrease your overall idle time—by keeping resources productive in other ways. If billable tasks are not available, consider opportunities to assign meaningful tasks. For example, you can provide on-demand training or arrange for junior resources to shadow senior resources.

    Perhaps your team can also attend to in-house needs—such as data clean up or internal projects.  Another option is to offer pro bono work to select customers. Although these activities don’t generate revenue, they present better options than idle time and keep your resources engaged.

    A Powerful Utilization Tool That Integrates with Other Business Capabilities

    A key tool for many Velosio clients to manage their operations and to increase utilization levels is Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Operations, part of the Microsoft Cloud Platform. For schedulers and project managers, the solution leverages pre-set parameters and artificial intelligence to align resources (based on skills, location and availability) to specific projects. The familiar, easy-to-use Microsoft desktop also accelerates project and service delivery while providing the ability to make resource changes on the fly (when unexpected events occur) to mitigate any inconveniences for customers.

    Your team will also appreciate D365 Project Operations for its integration with the D365 Customer Engagement (CE) suite and Office productivity applications. Within Microsoft Teams, field resources can easily collaborate on challenging incidents with each other and with managers at the home office.

    And while in Teams, field resources can see all key customer and project information in any other D365 CE application. Essentially, your team can do anything they need to do from within Teams or Outlook, such as submitting work orders and time & expense reports.

    D365 Project Operations is powerful on its own but can be expanded by customers who require more operational capabilities from the rest of the D365 suite. These include marketing, sales, human resources, customer service, finances. Whether you want the added functionality of another D365 application or a custom application built with Power Apps, everything works seamlessly together because the applications share the common foundation of a secure, private, and compliant cloud solution.

    For more information on how Velosio can help you increase the utilization rate of your field services team, of your field services team, contact us today.

    Dynamics 365 ERPEnterprise Resource Planning (ERP)