Long-job scheduling functionality and new app empower technicians in the field to complete work faster and more strategically
Summer’s coming to a close, but our Summer ‘16 launch is just getting hot.
With every new release of our cloud-based software we like to focus on a few particular areas of innovation. If you recall, in our Winter ’16 release we enabled predictive service with Internet of Things (IoT) integration – we called it Connected Field Service. With Spring ’16, we brought industry-specific metrics focused on enabling best practices through visibility and insight with the introduction of Service Performance Metrics.
Now with Summer ’16, our focus is on achieving operational excellence. After all, a service system can’t flourish without solid processes, metrics and technology to improve operations.
So what does that mean in terms of product capabilities? Well, operational excellence is admittedly a broad term and you can see how many of our previously delivered capabilities contribute to this effort. Certainly, enabling predictive service with IoT helped customers expand their service strategy and no doubt, providing ways to measure business KPIs enables them to measure progress against operational goals.
In the Summer ’16 release, we are addressing additional specific needs of key service stakeholders: the dispatchers and the technicians.
For dispatchers, we have added an important new capability that enables them to schedule and manage long jobs.
What’s a long job, you ask? Think of servicing an oil rig or a jet engine. Just a bit more complex than a cable guy coming out to troubleshoot your TV, right? Somewhere around 25 percent of our customers deal with these types of “long jobs” that require not just one-technician/one-visit type of scheduling – jobs typically done in an hour or two.
Long jobs job can span several days and often require multiple technicians. Scheduling such jobs on a calendar that is already busy with other appointments can become quite laborious when done manually. And rescheduling these jobs – considering things like overlapping appointments, training time, vacations and restrictions – can quickly become a mess.
The new long job scheduling can automatically split long jobs into multiple visits based on technician availability and competing priorities. While broken into multiple visits, the job can still be managed collectively as a set of visits or individually for each separate visit with full visibility of time spent and time still remaining on the work order.
The benefit of this new capability is greater dispatcher productivity (and frankly, more happiness) through an optimization of the work assignments and a lower error rate when rescheduling complex jobs.
New Field Service App
As for the technicians in the field, we have made generally available the new Field Service App that includes several cool new features.
We architected the app in HTML5 and designed it to work on any mobile OS through a common code base. For customers who use Installed Base Management, the app now includes the previously separate Installed Base App functionality (previously ProductIQ) on any laptop and tablet device, including the Windows Surface.
As for new functionality, we’ve added site-centric entitlements and pricing, and also checklists and data collection. Site-centric entitlements add the ability to check contract or warranty info for any product on site – not just the product for which the work order was issued. If a customer, for example, asks a field tech to service another piece of equipment while he or she is on site, all too often the technician can’t tell if that equipment is covered under their service contract. Now technicians have that information at their fingertips on their mobile device – even offline.
Today, technicians typically complete checklists or customer-data collection for compliance reasons, as part of the contract, or to gather valuable customer information for sales and marketing with paper and pencil. These paper forms then need to be transcribed back at the home office. While that approach might satisfy a regulator, it’s none too satisfying for those doing it. And it can result in inconsistent messy data or, sadly, end up in a filing box back at the warehouse.
Customer data is very valuable and no organization can afford to keep it in a neglected box full of paper.
The new checklist and data collection forms are available on the mobile devices as part of the business process. Depending on context, the right list will be applied which eliminates irrelevant data fields that would only inundate the technicians. The data can be captured off-line and is ultimately fed into the right system for further processing and use.
These innovations we’ve rolled out are part of our ongoing strategy to empower technicians with an app that doesn’t simply tell them when and where to go – but rather helps them actually get the job done.
We have built the Field Service App to support all business processes related to field service: work-order processes from dispatch to invoicing, entitlements validation and pricing, parts and trunk stock processes, returns and depot repair processes, etc.
We have included the capability to manage the installed base of products, diagnose those products via IoT integration and now, we are deepening our capabilities to collect data on site and have all entitlements at the technician’s fingertips.
In other words, this isn’t your father’s field service app.
To learn more about operational excellence and how its components work together to create a service system far greater than just the sum of its parts, check out our new free ebook.