1. L EVERAGINGT ECHNOLOGY F ORI MPROVED F IELD S ERVICEO PERATIONSApplying automation to better manage your fieldservice operationsHeavy equipment dealers and rental houses expend a large amount ofenergy and money performing maintenance on their equipment. In today’senvironment of reduced staffs, companies need to leverage technology tohelp maintain adequate service levels and retain customers. This whitepaper addresses the challenges of effectively managing a field serviceoperation, and the potential benefits to be gained from automating youroperations.An Industry White Paper by Dispatching Solutions, Inc.
2. LEVERAGING TECHNOLOGY FORIMPROVED FIELD SERVICE OPERATIONSApplying automation to better manage your field service operationsFor many heavy equipment dealers and rental houses, their service division represents thelargest source of revenue for the company. It also represents the area with the mostchallenges and the highest potential for significant efficiency gains. It is also the divisionthat has the highest visibility for your customersThe success of your company is directly tied to your service operations. Managing thisdivision is a major challenge. With a large number of employees, service trucks andsupporting equipment, and multiple locations, at times the tasks seem insurmountable.The economy of the past several years has made the task even more difficult. Dealers havebeen forced to maintain service levels which a reduced work force. Employees at all levels ofthe division are required to do more because of staff reductions.This paper will review the challenges your field service operations are dealing with today,and discuss how applying the right technology can help you improve. It will also discuss thepotential benefits to be gained by automating your field service operations.Management ChallengesMost service operations are decentralized. The dispatching of field technicians is handled atthe store or branch level. This leads to higher amounts of inefficiency.When scheduling is decentralized, it is impossible to see how technicians are scheduledacross the company. This leads to poor balancing of a technician’s work load, and oftenresults in the wrong technician, based upon skillsets, sent to a jobPoor visibility of your entire company’s schedulealso results in increased drive time for your Key Challenges:technicians. In many cases, a technician closest to ajob site is not identified in time and other resources Technician Productivityget allocated to that job. Scheduling PreventativeAll-in-all, a decentralized field service organization Maintenanceleads to poor utilization of your technicians, Maintaining Customer Serviceincreased overtime, and increased fuel costs. LevelsPreventative maintenance is another majorchallenge for equipment dealers and rental houses.It is vitally important to keep current on your PM activity. Poor preventative maintenance 1
3. leads to equipment down-time and poor customer satisfaction; which can also lead to voidedwarranties.Many PM tasks can be “woven” into the schedule of existing work orders. However, withoutvisibility into the overall schedule for technicians, these opportunities are routinely missed.This results in delayed or even forgotten PM work.Another major management challenge is providing your field technicians with access to theinformation they need to complete work orders. In many instances, technicians arrive to ajob with minimal information. This may cause technicians to make several trips to a job sitein order to complete a work order, for items such as parts, relevant documentation orequipment needed to make the necessary repairs.Additionally, technicians are asked to capture a good deal of information at a job site.Information such as serial numbers, notes, warranty information, etc. Collecting thisinformation and reporting it back to the office can be a cumbersome process for thetechnician.Finally, managing all of the paperwork that is generated is a major challenge. Keeping trackof work orders and updating their status is a labor intensive activity. Recording technician’stime and travel costs and generating invoices is a time intensive task without the right tools.Applying TechnologyTechnology, when properly applied, can help you meet these challenges and more.For field service management, technology must support both back office functions andtechnicians in the field. This would include theentire cycle of creating a work order, collectinginformation from the job site through invoicing. Field Service ManagementDispatchers need to be given a tool that will help Software Should:them schedule technician’s time more efficiently. Optimize scheduling of allIt should be capable of providing visibility of allscheduled and un-scheduled work. Technicians. Provide for Paperless work When interfaced with GPS devices, it can Ordersprovide instant feedback to problems in the Provide Needed Information toschedule and facilitate correcting the situation. Technicians in the FieldIt should also be capable of optimizing the Be Able to Function On-Lineschedule based upon the priority of work orders or Off-Lineand the technician’s skills required to completethe job.Technicians need to be given a tool that will help them efficiently complete work orders theyare assigned to. This includes having in-field access to information about the equipmentthey are servicing. That information will include the equipment’s work history, warranty 2
4. and preventative maintenance data, along with any service letters that the manufacturerhas issued.Additionally, technicians need an easy way to update information regarding a work order.They need the ability to input notes, parts used or returned, travel cost and their timeagainst the work orders they are assigned to.Another key for technicians is the ability to work either tethered, or un-tethered, to a backoffice server. In many instances, work is performed in remote locations, or even undergroundin a mine. Having the ability to store all information about a work order and equipment iscritical in these cases.Supervisors and management need a tool that will help them reinforce processes and providealerts when activity is drifting off course. Therefore a field service management solutionneeds to provide work flow and alerting capabilities.Management needs the ability to define work rules and processes and have them monitoredby technology, not people. By setting up alerts, technology monitors business conditions24x7 and provides alerts when key conditions are met. These alerts are used to quicklyidentify potential problems, items such as schedule delays and credit issues, and allowmanagers to address problems proactively.Getting ResultsDispatching Solutions develops and supports a field service management system. Ourcustomers have firsthand experience as to the benefits than can be achieved fromautomating field service operations.First, our customers have seen overallproductivity gains for their dispatchers and Actual Results:service technicians. Most report that technicianproductivity has increased by 10-20%, due Reductions in overtime of 20-mainly to improved schedule visibility and 50%matching the correct skills for the job. Technician productivity gainsOptimized scheduling and technician access to of 10-20%key information about a work orders has also led Fuel savings of up to 10%to a reduction of technician overtime; in some Truck utilizationcases by as much as 50%. improvements of more thanAdditionally, customers are reporting fuel 50%savings of up to 10% due to efficient scheduling Improvement in “call off” toand use of GPS technology to route technicians to invoice time of 15%the job site.Our business rules and alerting capability hashelped our customers monitor their processes, enforcing policies that have saved themhundreds of thousands of dollars. Customers have been able to save this money by creating 3
5. their own business rules. Rules can be as simple as constantly monitoring a customer’scredit limit to identifying works orders with “last labor to close” times that are exceedingcompany limits. These rules ensure that nothing “slips through the cracks” and helps tomaintain a high level of efficiency.The list of ways that our customers are achieving benefits from implementing our fieldservice management solution is long. We’ve even had one customer conduct a 6 sigma projectto determine their savings using the tools provided by Dispatching Solutions. They reportedsavings of $2 million in the first year due to efficiency gains, fuel savings and overtime.SummaryIn today’s difficult economic times, technology is the only way you can empower youremployees to do more with fewer resources. The right technology will help you gain bettercontrol over one of the most critical functions in your business – field service. The increasedvisibility and management controls you will have over your operations will lead to asimultaneous reduction in costs and an increase in employee productivity.About Dispatching Solutions, Inc.DSi combines clarity, vision, and almost 20 years of expertise to bring real power to manageand improve logistics operations for the construction services markets.For our customers, this means much more than software that does tracking, ordermanagement or scheduling. It means creating smart PROCESSES and enforcing themthrough ACTIONABLE DATA and exception-based alerting and reporting. Let DSi help yourcompany achieve EXCELLENCE in customer service, efficiency and profitability!Whether you have a few trucks and one office, or hundreds of trucks and multiple offices orbranches, DSi software offers easy-to-learn tools to improve quoting dispatching, trackingand accounting for your logistics operations.Dispatching Solutions, Inc.440 N. Mountain Ave.Suite 208Upland, CA, 91786Phone: (909) 460-6404Fax: (909) 460-6393Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 4