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L EVERAGING
T ECHNOLOGY F OR
I MPROVED F IELD S ERVICE
O PERATIONS
Applying automation to better manage your field
service operations


Heavy equipment dealers and rental houses expend a large amount of
energy and money performing maintenance on their equipment. In today’s
environment of reduced staffs, companies need to leverage technology to
help maintain adequate service levels and retain customers. This white
paper addresses the challenges of effectively managing a field service
operation, and the potential benefits to be gained from automating your
operations.




An Industry White Paper by Dispatching Solutions, Inc.
LEVERAGING TECHNOLOGY FOR
IMPROVED FIELD SERVICE OPERATIONS
Applying automation to better manage your field service operations
For many heavy equipment dealers and rental houses, their service division represents the
largest source of revenue for the company. It also represents the area with the most
challenges and the highest potential for significant efficiency gains. It is also the division
that has the highest visibility for your customers

The success of your company is directly tied to your service operations. Managing this
division is a major challenge. With a large number of employees, service trucks and
supporting 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 have
been forced to maintain service levels which a reduced work force. Employees at all levels of
the 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 the
potential benefits to be gained by automating your field service operations.



Management Challenges

Most service operations are decentralized. The dispatching of field technicians is handled at
the store or branch level. This leads to higher amounts of inefficiency.

When scheduling is decentralized, it is impossible to see how technicians are scheduled
across the company. This leads to poor balancing of a technician’s work load, and often
results in the wrong technician, based upon skill
sets, sent to a job

Poor visibility of your entire company’s schedule
also results in increased drive time for your                Key Challenges:
technicians. In many cases, a technician closest to a
job site is not identified in time and other resources           Technician Productivity
get allocated to that job.                                       Scheduling Preventative
All-in-all, a decentralized field service organization           Maintenance
leads to poor utilization of your technicians,                   Maintaining Customer Service
increased overtime, and increased fuel costs.                    Levels

Preventative maintenance is another major
challenge for equipment dealers and rental houses.
It is vitally important to keep current on your PM activity. Poor preventative maintenance



                                                                                            1
leads to equipment down-time and poor customer satisfaction; which can also lead to voided
warranties.

Many PM tasks can be “woven” into the schedule of existing work orders. However, without
visibility 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 the
information they need to complete work orders. In many instances, technicians arrive to a
job with minimal information. This may cause technicians to make several trips to a job site
in order to complete a work order, for items such as parts, relevant documentation or
equipment 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 this
information and reporting it back to the office can be a cumbersome process for the
technician.

Finally, managing all of the paperwork that is generated is a major challenge. Keeping track
of work orders and updating their status is a labor intensive activity. Recording technician’s
time and travel costs and generating invoices is a time intensive task without the right tools.



Applying Technology

Technology, when properly applied, can help you meet these challenges and more.

For field service management, technology must support both back office functions and
technicians in the field. This would include the
entire cycle of creating a work order, collecting
information from the job site through invoicing.
                                                          Field Service Management
Dispatchers need to be given a tool that will help        Software Should:
them schedule technician’s time more efficiently.
                                                              Optimize scheduling of all
It should be capable of providing visibility of all
scheduled and un-scheduled work.                              Technicians.
                                                              Provide for Paperless work
 When interfaced with GPS devices, it can                     Orders
provide instant feedback to problems in the                   Provide Needed Information to
schedule and facilitate correcting the situation.
                                                              Technicians in the Field
It should also be capable of optimizing the                   Be Able to Function On-Line
schedule based upon the priority of work orders               or Off-Line
and the technician’s skills required to complete
the job.

Technicians need to be given a tool that will help them efficiently complete work orders they
are assigned to. This includes having in-field access to information about the equipment
they are servicing. That information will include the equipment’s work history, warranty



                                                                                            2
and preventative maintenance data, along with any service letters that the manufacturer
has 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 time
against the work orders they are assigned to.

Another key for technicians is the ability to work either tethered, or un-tethered, to a back
office server. In many instances, work is performed in remote locations, or even underground
in a mine. Having the ability to store all information about a work order and equipment is
critical in these cases.

Supervisors and management need a tool that will help them reinforce processes and provide
alerts when activity is drifting off course. Therefore a field service management solution
needs to provide work flow and alerting capabilities.

Management needs the ability to define work rules and processes and have them monitored
by technology, not people. By setting up alerts, technology monitors business conditions
24x7 and provides alerts when key conditions are met. These alerts are used to quickly
identify potential problems, items such as schedule delays and credit issues, and allow
managers to address problems proactively.



Getting Results

Dispatching Solutions develops and supports a field service management system. Our
customers have firsthand experience as to the benefits than can be achieved from
automating field service operations.

First, our customers have seen overall
productivity gains for their dispatchers and             Actual Results:
service technicians. Most report that technician
productivity 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 gains
Optimized 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 utilization
cases by as much as 50%.                                    improvements of more than
Additionally, customers are reporting fuel                  50%
savings of up to 10% due to efficient scheduling            Improvement in “call off” to
and use of GPS technology to route technicians to           invoice time of 15%
the job site.

Our business rules and alerting capability has
helped our customers monitor their processes, enforcing policies that have saved them
hundreds of thousands of dollars. Customers have been able to save this money by creating


                                                                                          3
their own business rules. Rules can be as simple as constantly monitoring a customer’s
credit limit to identifying works orders with “last labor to close” times that are exceeding
company limits. These rules ensure that nothing “slips through the cracks” and helps to
maintain a high level of efficiency.

The list of ways that our customers are achieving benefits from implementing our field
service management solution is long. We’ve even had one customer conduct a 6 sigma project
to determine their savings using the tools provided by Dispatching Solutions. They reported
savings of $2 million in the first year due to efficiency gains, fuel savings and overtime.



Summary

In today’s difficult economic times, technology is the only way you can empower your
employees to do more with fewer resources. The right technology will help you gain better
control over one of the most critical functions in your business – field service. The increased
visibility and management controls you will have over your operations will lead to a
simultaneous 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 manage
and improve logistics operations for the construction services markets.

For our customers, this means much more than software that does tracking, order
management or scheduling. It means creating smart PROCESSES and enforcing them
through ACTIONABLE DATA and exception-based alerting and reporting. Let DSi help your
company achieve EXCELLENCE in customer service, efficiency and profitability!

Whether you have a few trucks and one office, or hundreds of trucks and multiple offices or
branches, DSi software offers easy-to-learn tools to improve quoting dispatching, tracking
and accounting for your logistics operations.



Dispatching Solutions, Inc.
440 N. Mountain Ave.
Suite 208
Upland, CA, 91786

Phone: (909) 460-6404
Fax: (909) 460-6393
Email: sales@dispatchingsolutions.com




                                                                                               4

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DSi white paper: Leveraging technology for improved field service operat…

  • 1. L EVERAGING T ECHNOLOGY F OR I MPROVED F IELD S ERVICE O PERATIONS Applying automation to better manage your field service operations Heavy equipment dealers and rental houses expend a large amount of energy and money performing maintenance on their equipment. In today’s environment of reduced staffs, companies need to leverage technology to help maintain adequate service levels and retain customers. This white paper addresses the challenges of effectively managing a field service operation, and the potential benefits to be gained from automating your operations. An Industry White Paper by Dispatching Solutions, Inc.
  • 2. LEVERAGING TECHNOLOGY FOR IMPROVED FIELD SERVICE OPERATIONS Applying automation to better manage your field service operations For many heavy equipment dealers and rental houses, their service division represents the largest source of revenue for the company. It also represents the area with the most challenges and the highest potential for significant efficiency gains. It is also the division that has the highest visibility for your customers The success of your company is directly tied to your service operations. Managing this division is a major challenge. With a large number of employees, service trucks and supporting 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 have been forced to maintain service levels which a reduced work force. Employees at all levels of the 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 the potential benefits to be gained by automating your field service operations. Management Challenges Most service operations are decentralized. The dispatching of field technicians is handled at the store or branch level. This leads to higher amounts of inefficiency. When scheduling is decentralized, it is impossible to see how technicians are scheduled across the company. This leads to poor balancing of a technician’s work load, and often results in the wrong technician, based upon skill sets, sent to a job Poor visibility of your entire company’s schedule also results in increased drive time for your Key Challenges: technicians. In many cases, a technician closest to a job site is not identified in time and other resources Technician Productivity get allocated to that job. Scheduling Preventative All-in-all, a decentralized field service organization Maintenance leads to poor utilization of your technicians, Maintaining Customer Service increased overtime, and increased fuel costs. Levels Preventative maintenance is another major challenge 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 voided warranties. Many PM tasks can be “woven” into the schedule of existing work orders. However, without visibility 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 the information they need to complete work orders. In many instances, technicians arrive to a job with minimal information. This may cause technicians to make several trips to a job site in order to complete a work order, for items such as parts, relevant documentation or equipment 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 this information and reporting it back to the office can be a cumbersome process for the technician. Finally, managing all of the paperwork that is generated is a major challenge. Keeping track of work orders and updating their status is a labor intensive activity. Recording technician’s time and travel costs and generating invoices is a time intensive task without the right tools. Applying Technology Technology, when properly applied, can help you meet these challenges and more. For field service management, technology must support both back office functions and technicians in the field. This would include the entire cycle of creating a work order, collecting information from the job site through invoicing. Field Service Management Dispatchers need to be given a tool that will help Software Should: them schedule technician’s time more efficiently. Optimize scheduling of all It should be capable of providing visibility of all scheduled and un-scheduled work. Technicians. Provide for Paperless work When interfaced with GPS devices, it can Orders provide instant feedback to problems in the Provide Needed Information to schedule and facilitate correcting the situation. Technicians in the Field It should also be capable of optimizing the Be Able to Function On-Line schedule based upon the priority of work orders or Off-Line and the technician’s skills required to complete the job. Technicians need to be given a tool that will help them efficiently complete work orders they are assigned to. This includes having in-field access to information about the equipment they 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 manufacturer has 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 time against the work orders they are assigned to. Another key for technicians is the ability to work either tethered, or un-tethered, to a back office server. In many instances, work is performed in remote locations, or even underground in a mine. Having the ability to store all information about a work order and equipment is critical in these cases. Supervisors and management need a tool that will help them reinforce processes and provide alerts when activity is drifting off course. Therefore a field service management solution needs to provide work flow and alerting capabilities. Management needs the ability to define work rules and processes and have them monitored by technology, not people. By setting up alerts, technology monitors business conditions 24x7 and provides alerts when key conditions are met. These alerts are used to quickly identify potential problems, items such as schedule delays and credit issues, and allow managers to address problems proactively. Getting Results Dispatching Solutions develops and supports a field service management system. Our customers have firsthand experience as to the benefits than can be achieved from automating field service operations. First, our customers have seen overall productivity gains for their dispatchers and Actual Results: service technicians. Most report that technician productivity 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 gains Optimized 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 utilization cases by as much as 50%. improvements of more than Additionally, customers are reporting fuel 50% savings of up to 10% due to efficient scheduling Improvement in “call off” to and use of GPS technology to route technicians to invoice time of 15% the job site. Our business rules and alerting capability has helped our customers monitor their processes, enforcing policies that have saved them hundreds 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’s credit limit to identifying works orders with “last labor to close” times that are exceeding company limits. These rules ensure that nothing “slips through the cracks” and helps to maintain a high level of efficiency. The list of ways that our customers are achieving benefits from implementing our field service management solution is long. We’ve even had one customer conduct a 6 sigma project to determine their savings using the tools provided by Dispatching Solutions. They reported savings of $2 million in the first year due to efficiency gains, fuel savings and overtime. Summary In today’s difficult economic times, technology is the only way you can empower your employees to do more with fewer resources. The right technology will help you gain better control over one of the most critical functions in your business – field service. The increased visibility and management controls you will have over your operations will lead to a simultaneous 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 manage and improve logistics operations for the construction services markets. For our customers, this means much more than software that does tracking, order management or scheduling. It means creating smart PROCESSES and enforcing them through ACTIONABLE DATA and exception-based alerting and reporting. Let DSi help your company achieve EXCELLENCE in customer service, efficiency and profitability! Whether you have a few trucks and one office, or hundreds of trucks and multiple offices or branches, DSi software offers easy-to-learn tools to improve quoting dispatching, tracking and accounting for your logistics operations. Dispatching Solutions, Inc. 440 N. Mountain Ave. Suite 208 Upland, CA, 91786 Phone: (909) 460-6404 Fax: (909) 460-6393 Email: sales@dispatchingsolutions.com 4