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FieldBytes

The true purpose of your field service organization

Posted by Jim Hare

What’s the true purpose of your field service organization? What are you trying to achieve on a daily basis? What do you think your goals are?

Here’s one way to look at the development of your FSO.

Peter Drucker is a famous management consultant. In 1973, he famously said that the “only purpose” of any business is to create a customer. (In 1988, he also did predict that within 20 years, organizations would slash management levels by 50 percent -- and he seems to have been wrong on that one. We all make mistakes.) 

August 8, 2016

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The internal barriers in business development for your FSO

Posted by Julio Hartstein

Business development is everything, especially if you believe the old executive adage that "if you are not growing, you are dying." You need to grow your field service business, no matter what area of field service you work in (plumbing, AC repair, machine maintenance, and so on.) 

For years and years, the idea of business development was predominantly external. You needed better talent (hiring). There were factories and equipment to be bought. The technology was not there yet. Scaling and becoming profitable were about defeating the challenges out in the marketplace.

It is a very different picture around business development these days.

August 5, 2016

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Don't let silos destroy your field service business

Posted by Shloma Baum

Even if you work in a small field service business, you’re probably familiar with silos. If you have five employees but they focus on different functional areas of expertise, there’s a possibility that “silos” (in this case one person at a time) can crop up. The scheduling person focuses only on scheduling and doesn’t communicate well with the person who works with customer information. This breaks down internal communication and makes decisions less effective.

Much of this is backed up by research.

Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2002. He’s probably most famous as the author of a book called Thinking, Fast and Slow, although many consider him one of the fathers of behavioral economics. The idea behind behavioral economics is to turn traditional economics, which assumes rational decision-making, on its head. Behavioral economics observes people in real-life contexts and tries to see what they would do and the decisions they’d make.

This has a lot of implications for managing your field service business.

August 3, 2016

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The value of reporting dashboards

Posted by Jim Hare

Josh Bersin is a thought leader in the Human Resources industry. He is one of the main data analysts for Deloitte Consulting around HR and organizational trends. His company, Bersin by Deloitte, had their ninth annual conference for professionals in those fields in the spring of 2016 in Florida. Bersin himself wrote a recap of the event, and this part should stand out:

“We don’t need as many middle managers now, so the concept of ‘leadership by job title’ or ‘leadership by position’ has to go away. One of the senior execs I talked with the other day told me ‘I don’t have time for mid-level managers any more. I can get the information I need to run my business through our digital information systems. If our leaders aren’t hands-on experts in their business areas, I don’t really need them.’”

This quote has important implications for field service organizations.

August 1, 2016

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Aligning sales and marketing within field service to make money

Posted by Julio Hartstein

If you are trying to make your field service organization more profitable, one of the first major steps is making sure sales and marketing are aligned.

You might stop and think, “Sales and marketing are already naturally aligned. They already have the same goals.”

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Here is an example.

Consider the idea of ‘marketing automation.’ If you are unfamiliar with this concept, the brief rundown is:

  • You go to a website of interest
  • You provide your e-mail address in exchange for a value/service
  • The company now has the right to e-mail you other values/offers/etc.

July 29, 2016

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How to improve your completed vs. invoiced jobs KPI

Posted by Shloma Baum

Completed vs. invoiced jobs (or invoiced jobs as a percentage of completed jobs) is a crucial financial metric for field service organizations. It means what you might think: you have a number of jobs completed (services rendered), but some of those jobs haven’t been invoiced (you have not been paid).

In a perfect world within your FSO, this ratio of completed to invoiced would always be 1:1. Whenever a technician completes service, he or she would invoice the client on-site. The client might not pay right away, but at least the invoice is out there.

July 27, 2016

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Why the employee retention KPI is crucial to your bottom line

Posted by Julio Hartstein

Classic management advice often holds that your company makes money because of products and processes -- and not necessarily because of people. As a result, employees can be seen as interchangeable, with a belief that if someone leaves, he or she will simply be replaced by someone else. That new person will be trained and all will be good for the company.

This approach does work for many jobs, but it is not the best way to think about your field service organization. Your technicians often have very specialized knowledge, and losing one of them can mean a revenue loss in an area they specialized in. Similarly, your employees have built relationships with specific clients they work with. If one of your employees leaves, that relationship could be in jeopardy. That can also represent a revenue loss.

July 25, 2016

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Why the customer retention KPI matters

Posted by Jim Hare

If you are a small business field service organization, you probably understand the emotional power of customer retention. When you start getting a series of customers who stay with you and can be counted on for revenue each month, it makes you feel better about the direction of your FSO -- and when those retained customers begin referring you to others, it makes you feel even better.

Even if you’re an enterprise-level FSO, you probably have a good sense of the power of customer retention. Many FSOs track customer acquisition costs religiously, and that is certainly a valuable metric to manage within your business. But while customer acquisition is important, it is only a small slice of the overall picture. That customer needs to be retained. Otherwise you are always looking for, and trying to acquire, new customers. That drives up your costs.

July 22, 2016

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What you need to know about the overtime hours KPI

Posted by Shloma Baum

Overtime hours is a relatively simple KPI to calculate and monitor: you simply look at the overtime hours being used by your back-office staff and technicians. You generally want this number to be lower for two reasons:

  • More overtime is typically more cost that you need to pay out
  • If your employees are registering a lot of overtime, there is a concern around their productivity in terms of getting jobs done during established working hours 

This is a tricky KPI in the hands of novice managers, because a less experienced (or ‘not good’) manager might tell the technician, “You need to take less overtime!” While that is potentially a solution, it does not really get to the heart of the issue at hand: Why is that employee taking so much overtime?

July 20, 2016

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How the number of work requests KPI drives decision-making

Posted by Julio Hartstein

Number of work requests refers to how much work your FSO is doing, or at least the number of requests you are receiving.

The important aspect to this KPI is how you break it down. If you do solid analysis on your number of work requests, you can get a good idea of the following:

  • Where you are generating the most revenue
  • How effective your marketing is relative to each type of service you can perform
  • Where you are not getting much revenue
  • What types of clients are more receptive to new service areas for their businesses

July 18, 2016

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