if you are a field service manager, you know how complicated it can be to manage remote technicians. Task such as tracking progress, planning work and answering client questions can often be challenging due to the lack of visibility on the ongoing activities.
In this context, communication and transparency is one of the key challenges. These two values can be drastically improved by using the right tools in your teams. Let’s introduce two functionalities we think are key for better performance in operational teams.
Receiving up to date work reports during the day is one of the simplest ways to decrease unefficient interactions between the administrative teams and your “on-the-field” workforce. By setting easy to use reporting tools for your operators, you can steadily improve data collection, transparency and quality in your organisation.
But setting up such reporting solutions is not as trivial as it seems. In order to make digital field reporting a success, a lot of care should be taken.
- Pick your hardware carefully : Will you work on paper ? Do you prefer tablets or smartphones ? A good old paper is often the easiest way to work when on the field. Nevertheless, paper is not always clever as it will result in additional administrative workload and can hardly be used when working remotely. If pick a digital solution, be careful about UI (eg: small buttons are often an issue).
- Make data entry as simple as possible : What type of data is needed and for which reason. Ask yourself why the data is needed, if you are not sure why it should be collected, don’t collect it until you know for sure you can explain the added value to the technicians.
- Set up guidelines : Explain your teams when the data should be filled and why. Your data workflow should be clear to everyone (eg; times for data entry, data submission, KPI generation). Our tip is to display clarify on your task reporting supports.
- Robustness is key to success : Many suppliers offer solutions that require constant network coverage. This can cause issues if your teams disable internet connectivity from their phones, get into caves or regularly intervene in remote locations.
Are you willing to discuss our solutions for task reporting ? Don’t hesitate to reach out.
Bidirectional communication channel between field and office
Next to task reporting (which is unilateral from the field technicians towards the office management teams), defining a communication channel for specific communications towards your team is an other enabler for more autonomous field operations.
Here are the two types of communications your communication tool should cover :
- General communications : Communicate regularly from the office towards all the technicians. Publishing messages regularly is a good way to keep your teams engaged. Use a good mix of formal (eg: reminders for specific events within the company, etc.) and familiar events (eg: birthdays, technician of the week, … ). Display these on your technicians “homepage” to increase number of views.
- 1 to 1 communications : One to one communication is there for you to communicate directly with a technician. Need a specific information about a performed maintenance ? Ask it there. If you notice this channel gets messy, group requests into specific categories.
Changing the way you operate
Thanks to our experience with multiple industrial clients, can help you develop field service tools with agility. Don’t hesitate to reach out to further discuss your projects.