5 min read
Feb 26, 2020
Field Service Management

3 Tips to Improve Resource Efficiency in Your Field Service operations

Do more with less and reduce your operating costs, while helping the environment.

V.W.
Victoria WilsonSpecialist Analyst

When you hear the term "sustainability," what comes to mind? Maybe you think of organic produce, recycling, hybrid vehicles, or green marketing.

Sustainability is all these things; generally, we can think of it as avoiding resource depletion. Resources include the obvious, such as fuel and water, but they also include labor and the production/disposal of parts and waste.

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Why does sustainability matter to your field service business?

In field service, sustainability is all about resource efficiency. Those in the industry know what it's like to have too many scheduled appointments, last-minute calls, and too few technicians or spare parts. Inevitably, your workdays often become about trying to make the most of what you have.

On top of these concerns, customers increasingly care about your business practices. According to a recent GetApp survey of U.S. consumers, 65% of people think it’s important that businesses implement programs to benefit the environment.* 

Your customers are paying attention, and you can’t afford to look away.

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Improve your resource efficiency these 3 ways

1. Use route optimization to reduce miles traveled

When you optimize drive time between service calls, not only can your technicians complete more work in a day, but you also save on fuel costs. This means your business uses less fuel, which means less emissions and decreased impact on air quality.

While route optimization is a great way to reduce resource use, reducing the number of trips you make is even better. How can your business do that? Look to improve your first time fix rate. Ensuring technicians have the proper tools to diagnose an issue and complete a job is essential. 

Another approach is to provide remote service. This could involve machine-to-machine technology or providing basic troubleshooting assistance over the phone. 

What the future will look like: In a few years, remote assistance could happen with the help of augmented reality. According to Gartner, more than 50% of field service management solutions will include mobile augmented reality collaboration and knowledge sharing tools by 2025 (full research available to Gartner clients).

2. Make the most of what you have with asset management

Rather than order new parts, your business can refurbish old ones. The cost of refurbishing an existing part is often less than purchasing a new one, meaning your business can save money and reduce waste. 

Another place where asset management can help is effective stock control. Your business needs to have organized inventory, and invest time in adequate planning. Knowing when equipment is due for maintenance can help you anticipate when you will need to replace a part, and avoid emergency repair costs. 

Take it a step further by gathering and analyzing data on replacement patterns to adjust maintenance schedules accordingly. You can budget better, and being able to forecast requirements may allow you to negotiate better rates with suppliers. 

What the future will look like: The internet of things is a key enabler of predictive analytics and maintenance. Connected devices with sensors that can transmit information about your assets in real time will greatly improve planning and reduce crisis management in the coming years. 

3. Digitize your operations to reduce waste

Digitizing your business’ operations can save managers and technicians time typically used to manually track job progress, fill out forms, and produce invoices. But the benefits don’t stop there. Digitization will save you time, and reduce paper and ink usage.

Field service management software with customizable electronic forms allows digital signatures, and automated alerts can help make the most of your valuable time. Some software can even automate certain processes to free up your team to take care of other tasks.

What the future will look like: Digitization can do more for your business when you use AI-powered software. According to Gartner, algorithms and bots will schedule over two thirds of field service work by 2025 (full research available to Gartner clients). 

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Plan, track, adjust, repeat

The key to implementing these resource-saving approaches is planning. Measuring the type and amount of resources you need will help you identify where there’s room for improvement or investment, and where there’s not.

From there, track performance against your plan. This will not only help your business plan better in the future, but also let you make resource-saving adjustments throughout the year. The more agile your business, the better use you'll make of resources.

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Ready to start improving your resource efficiency?

*Methodology

Sustainability Survey, 2019

GetApp conducted this survey in November 2019 of 300 shoppers to learn more about their preferences and behaviors regarding brands and their sustainability practices.

Respondents were screened for people in the U.S. who shopped at online or retail location stores.

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