By Sarah Nicastro, publisher/editor in chief, Field Technologies
As a new year begins so too does planning the year’s top initiatives, projects, and investments. For those of you in the service business, the pressure is always on for improvement. Here are three suggestions to help you determine where to focus your energy this year.
#1: Focus On Real-Time Information Exchange
If your organization isn’t equipped for real-time communication and information access, it’s (past) time you change that. And chances are even if your operation is leveraging real-time information, there are ways you can improve on the level of information shared and/or methods of sharing it. When thinking about real-time information exchange, there are three main areas where you can seek improvement:
- Are your employees able to communicate and access all information they need to do their jobs in real time? What other information might make them more productive?
- Are your customers able to communicate with you and receive information from you in real time? What other date might your customers want from you, or what other ways might they want to receive information from you?
- Do you receive real-time information on the status of your workers and work being performed in the field? What information would better help you improve your operations?
#2: Know Your Weaknesses
If you think you’ve got it all figured out, you’re wrong — no one does, and there’s always room for improvement. This is why it’s important to learn about your weaknesses. Once you understand and accept your weaknesses, you can then put steps in place to improve upon them. Ask yourself some of these questions: What’s frustrating your customers? What constructive criticism do they give you? What’s costing you money, and what can you do about that? What makes your employees unhappy in their jobs? What tools could you give them that would help them perform better and be more satisfied? You might not know the answers to all of these questions — if not, seek the answers.
#3: Explore Some Of The Latest Technologies
Before I’d recommend this step, it’s best to have some baseline automation in place, but once you do there are some newer technologies on the market that are making waves in field service. Depending on what your organization does and how you operate, a few technologies you might want to consider looking into are IoT (the Internet of things) applications, wearable technology (like Google Glass, wearable video cameras, and smart watches), and 3D printing (can you imagine your techs being able to print parts as needed? Goodbye inventory issues!). Each of these technologies, among many others, can help you to evolve your service operation and stay ahead of the competition.