What Is Field Service Management and What does it involve?
Field Service Management (FSM) includes all measures that are necessary to manage employees, resources, and orders in the field. This includes, among other things, processes from planning and control to the execution of orders and services on-site.
The goal of Field Service Management is to optimize the efficiency and quality of services in the field.
Areas of Application in Field Service Management
Field Service Management can be used in many different areas. Among other things, FSM is used in facility management, mechanical and plant engineering, telecommunications, and the IT and telecommunications industry. The range of services includes maintenance of infrastructures and technology, as well as consulting and training appointments and other services.
What Are the Tasks in Field Service Management
The focus in Field Service Management is on improving the efficiency and quality of services. This also includes the ongoing training of employees.
Field service operations must be carefully planned and employees assigned to customer sites. The availability and know-how of the employees must be considered in the planning process. Another important area is materials and spare parts management and the recording of performance indicators.
The most important areas of Field Service Management at a glance:
Creation of Service Strategies and Offers
- Service strategy development
- Positioning and definition of the service offering
- Go-to-market strategy for services
- Portfolio management
Service and Contract Management
- Service Management and Service Level Management
- Creation of Service Level Agreements
- Control of service level performance indicators
- Contract management
Management of the Field Force (Field Force Effectiveness)
Planning and coordination of missions. Travel to the customer with subsequent repair / maintenance / service performance
- Creation of service plans
- Consideration of service orders, including completion deadlines
- Mobile customer service
- Empowerment of technicians
- Operational efficiency
- Scheduling dispatching
- Orders and availability
- Clarification of questions
- Technical documentation
Spare Parts Logistics & Inventory Management
- Inventory and spare parts management
- Warehouse management
- Spare parts evaluation (which parts are regularly defective)
- Returns, repair and warranty management
- Order management
- Logistics for returns
Challenges in Field Service Management
Shortage of Skilled Workers and Qualifications
In addition to the current difficulties caused by politics and the economy, probably the greatest challenge in Field Service Management is the acute shortage of skilled workers.
The challenge is therefore not only to recruit new employees, but also to retain existing ones and train new ones.
This can be achieved through professional onboarding as well as optimized processes when it comes to vacation releases, employee reviews, or knowledge transfer. The easiest way to cover this is with a software solution that streamlines workflows as much as possible.
Planning and Coordinating Resources
However, the greatest challenges in field management arise from misunderstandings and incomplete data. Service technicians, in particular, cannot carry out assignments if appointments are not coordinated or information is missing. Non-existent spare parts or inadequate information on the tasks to be performed then quickly lead to queries to the operations planning department, additional trips or even an operations stop.
Up-to-date Data and Information
When service employees are on the road, it must be possible to access data and communication via laptop as well as mobile devices. For this, it is necessary that the data is up-to-date and available in real-time. It must also be possible to update and add information while on the move. Service quality
Optimal management of the workload of technicians is a particular challenge. The distribution of tasks must be controlled based on the available resources and adjusted if necessary.
Consistent service quality is an important factor. Failures are often associated with high costs. Business processes ensure that workflows are adhered to. The advantage of automated business processes ensure that successive steps are completed and that all necessary information about the work performed is documented.
It is important that service employees can also access all important processes and functions via mobile devices during their deployment. The preferred option is now cloud-based software solutions that can be used on a variety of devices.
Smooth communication is essential for efficient service delivery. This requires ensuring that technicians, service staff, team leads and customers can all share information with each other.
Possible disruptions should be known at the planning stage and evaluated accordingly to minimize risks and react appropriately in the event of a disruption. The Plan, Do, Check & Act principle is also a proven method for Risk Management in Field Service Management.
What Field Service Management software should be able to do – and OTRS can:
Mobile Usable and Cloud Based
When buying, it pays to look for field service software that is easy to use via mobile devices. A cloud-based solution also offers the advantage of easier maintenance and access to up-to-date data. This benefits not only the technicians on site, but also the service team access. With a solution based on a ticketing system, communication and status updates can occur in real time via tickets or chat integration.
Cloud-based solutions that can be used on various devices are advantageous, so that mobile service staff can access all important information during the mission.
Integrated CMDB for Effective Asset Management
For effective Asset Management, a configuration management database (CMDB) should be integrated, allowing information to be attached to the assets being managed. Here, information about the condition of the asset, schedules such as customer or maintenance deadlines, and other important additions such as documents can be attached.
Workflow Management with Business Processes
To keep the process as streamlined as possible, it pays to invest in a solution that provides comprehensive workflow management with integrated business process management software (BPMS).
A Field Service Management solution that includes process automation enables workflows to be controlled and kept consistent according to defined process steps. The predefined work steps and parameters are to be checked, thus ensuring that specifications are met, and service quality is guaranteed. It also avoids unnecessary work steps for on-site technicians and controls communication to inform the right people. Errors and inefficiencies can thus be counteracted in a targeted manner.
Resource Planning and Management
Especially in industries that help maintain infrastructure, rapid intervention is as important as efficient deployment times. A solution that enables real-time information sharing and resource planning is essential for efficient Field Service Management. Technicians can be quickly rescheduled, tasks assigned, and dispatching adjusted based on the severity of incidents.
Appointment and Route Planning
Extra trips or additional appointments caused by missing equipment or spare parts can be avoided by an always up-to-date and maintained inventory, especially if the maintenance effort can be kept to a minimum thanks to process automation.
Solutions that provide an integrated “knowledge database” help with knowledge transfer within the company as well as efficient project management. New employees are facilitated in the onboarding process.
OTRS offers flexible service solutions for your company. Ask for the perfect OTRS setup for your needs.