Post By Charlie Heywood on June 14, 2016

The top 5 field service management trends of 2016


We’re nearly halfway through 2016 now and so it’s time to take stock of the trends that have been gaining traction this year.

In 2015, The Service Council interviewed service leaders and reported that enhancing service profitability, knowledge capture, improving service offerings, performance management and knowledge capture were their biggest priorities. The trends we have encountered when dealing with technology requirement requests from field services companies clearly support these findings. They include:

1. From reactive to predictive and optimised scheduling

With service profitability high on the agenda, a big challenge for service leaders is how to best utilise their field services teams and resources. Profits are not the only consideration: customers expect service when it suits them, with minimum hassle.

It’s probably no surprise to those in the sector that getting the right job to the right people at the right time, in as efficient and optimised a way as possible, is high on the agenda.

We have seen an increasing demand for software that can optimise scheduling, with features such as: drag and drop scheduling, scheduling automation, managing multiple work orders and status updates.

The move towards predictive rather than reactive maintenance is also an issue, with many service leaders seeking software that will alert them to upcoming annual servicing in the event that repair calls come in.

  1. 2. Job costing

    It hasn’t received as much press as the latest buzzwords, but one of the most common sector frustrations we’ve come across recently is how to ensure accurate and efficient job costing to increase service profitability.

    Companies with workers out in the field often need to track costs and revenue against a range of different job centres and ensure that this is integrated across one system. We have seen a demand for job costing software that allows management and teams to view its job on the move through multiple filters, including: job profitability, job summaries, assigned managers, sub jobs, invoicing, job type or service contract, scheduling, unproductive time and job materials.



    3. The IoT leading mobile developments

With customer satisfaction being the key competitive differentiator and service profitability high on the agenda, the IoT trend is not going anywhere.

It is being used to keep the customer connected at every stage to maximise service satisfaction, as well as remove duplication, reduce service to invoice time, and provide seamless integrations between departments.

We are seeing a lot of organisations exceeding the customer experience and staff resources pre, during and post-visit.

Pre-visit, the latest software can now integrate with mobile technology and GPS to provide delivery alerts at every stage. Customers can select and rearrange service requests via mobiles at a time to suit them, with full service request details logged. 

During the service call, technicians with the right mobile tools are in a position to be the brand ambassador, checking stock levels, placing orders, taking payment and capturing the customer’s signature. No more “I’ll get someone to look into that for you” means happier customers.

Post-visit, there is less time spent on admin and paperwork, and speedier payment of invoices.

  1. 4. Wearables and augmented reality

Two of the largest costs for any field services company is training their engineers and getting a highly skilled engineer to fix an issue for an important client ASAP.

There has been a large buzz in the industry around augmented reality and wearables. Personally, we are not seeing that large a take-up at present. Instead, we are seeing a growing number of companies looking to provide service manuals and detailed checklists on mobiles to guide their technicians through the jobs. This is supported by The Service Council’s 2015 survey findings that service manuals were top of field technicians’ “wish lists”.

However, it will be interesting to watch this space and it may be that by this time next year it moves from Augmented Reality to Actual Reality.

5. The role of big data in improving performance and identifying new opportunities

Field Service News placed this on their list of 2016 trends to watch and it’s certainly one that appears to be high on our clients’ agendas. Field Service News’ article encapsulates exactly what we hear from clients and prospective clients looking to move towards big data:

“And in today’s world where service is a key differentiator, and where service excellence sits alongside productivity as the two leading KPIs for many field service companies, then the old adage of ‘you can’t manage what you can’t measure’ holds as much weight as ever.

So as with scheduling, those companies looking at a new FSM [Field Service Management] solution in 2016 should ensure that the tool they opt for has all the reporting capabilities they could possibly need as instant reporting and easy access to data becomes standard.”

It is an exciting time for those involved in service management, where technology can make or break a business. If you want to find out more about the tech trends that are driving service profitability and the brand ambassador, download our guide, “The top field service management software trends turning service into a profit centre” {{cta(‘6e5edff8-9e3a-41e4-97af-d0caea81ccff’)}} . 


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