Why 2014 is the Year of Workforce Management in Field Service

2014 promises to be the year of workforce management for field service.  And for good reason.  An enhanced workforce management technology can transform the productivity of your mobile workforce with advanced scheduling tools and performance analytics. It is geared to businesses with mobile workforces that deliver services to customers and require an entry-level electronic dispatching system.  These companies can have a skilled field workforce of 10 or 10,000, juggle multiple jobs each day, and often have to respond to emergencies and in-day assignments.

What makes workforce management so important?

Briefly, it has the tools needed to optimize productivity. For instance,  a scheduler can optimize resources and routes and give real-time visibility of your work plan.  In-day Exception Management warns of tasks at risk of being missed and highlights scheduling issues, such as unexpected worker sickness, emergency tasks and route overruns.

Workforce management also can improve communication between mobile workers and dispatchers, while managers can measure mobile worker performance to help maintain high levels of quality of service and worker utilization.

Another benefit is Performance Management Analytics (PMA) which uses GPS data to create key performance metrics that accurately measure service delivery. Executive and team consoles show in-depth metrics at every level to compare and contrast performance and see trends over time. Learning tools quickly gather workers’ geographic knowledge and skills for optimal task assignment and improved first time fix rates.

How do others benefit from workforce management?

In many ways. First, it offers real-time visibility into a daily work schedule which can enable increased mobile worker productivity by monitoring arrival time, distance travelled, stops made and overtime, thus reducing travel time and lowering fuel costs through route optimization. Ultimately this will help improve efficiency by comparing planned vs. actual work done per day.

And how do mobile workers benefit from workforce management?

By improving communication using a laptop or smart phone with a browser to view work details and provide current work status. This helps increase productivity because work is assigned without returning to the office, thus increasing potential revenue by completing more jobs

What differentiates this technology from others on the market?

Workforce management addresses the growing need for data analysis. Data is of little importance unless it is turned into intelligent, useable and actionable information. Workforce management draws data directly from the vehicle using observed behaviors to create a set of metrics. This means the data is accurate, allowing businesses to make optimal decisions based on knowledge.

Workforce management also offers dispatchers the support they need to manage in-day work to drive productivity. Certain solutions feature a ‘learning’ tool which logs skills and geographic knowledge of each mobile worker and allocates tasks accordingly.

Can workforce management increase customer service?

Best-in class workforce management tools feature in-day exception management which warns of tasks at risk of being missed and scheduling issues.  These tools can recommend the most suitable worker for a task, reducing overtime, travel and missed commitments. The learning tool learns workers’ geographic and skill knowledge for improved task assignment. This ensures the right people with the right skills get to the right job at the right time. This also increases the potential of a ‘first time fix.’

What about Big Data?

Workforce management is designed to use performance metrics to offer consistent and reliable data which can provide high level trends and granular metrics, while drill down reports ensure the data truly is intelligent.

A Performance Management Analytics (PMA) tool is usually at the heart of work management delivering critical data such as quality of service, efficiency and utilization to help businesses identify trends and pinpoint areas needing improvement. For example, PMA enables visibility into what is preventing a business from completing more jobs. Managers can look at regions, teams and even individual workers by job type and performance and gain insight into how to improve productivity.

How can workforce management help increase ROI?

It improves the profitability of service delivery by reducing the costs of travel, fuel, overtime, and SLA penalties.  It also maximizes the productivity of your workforce to complete more jobs per day. PMA lets you identify where efficiencies can be made.

For more information on this and other field service solutions, visit www.trimble.com/fsm.

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