Biggest Challenges for field service management and how to overcome them

There are many challenges when it comes to delivering servicing across a lot of customers with different types of contracts, different types of equipment that needs servicing and varying SLAs to achieve.

Whether you are maintaining forklift trucks for customers in logistics, or servicing medical devices in the healthcare sector, all Service Managers have to get planned preventative maintenance right. But also when things change, i.e. a device needs serviced early due to usage levels or immediately due to a breakdown or even when a new contract is won and all the new service visits need to be planned, this creates lots of work.

Service teams have to be very agile, adapt quickly, adjust schedules, send skilled engineers & parts, review and refine ongoing schedules and more, and let’s be honest, this stuff happens every day!

Without the right service management tools, it can feel like you are constantly changing your plans. More importantly, despite good planned preventative maintenance scheduling most businesses can only allocate  80% of the planned work to the resources they have. This means that 20% of planned work regularly gets pushed back.

Creating potential problems down line both due to increases in major breakdowns and costly repairs. Plus the risk of inadvertently pushing back a safety-related service, either rendering equipment out of action or causing a safety risk with continued use.

Here are some of the biggest challenges field service management teams face:

Scheduling PPM across various contracts, sites and asset types with different SLA agreements, safety-related services and more. Then adding new work throughout the year and adjusting schedules intelligently.

Efficient Scheduling: to match engineering resources to planned and emergency jobs, ensuring engineers with the right skills are assigned to each job in a logical route plan with some jobs needing single or multiple engineers.

Parts Visibility & Availability: scheduling and resourcing is a waste of time if engineers don’t have the right parts for each job in the right place either in their van stock for the week or direct shipped to the correct customer site and receipted. This creates multiple failed visits, increasing costs, and frustrating engineers and customers.

Accurate Forecasting: using analysis which considers scheduled work against your level of engineering resource, to predict when new resources will be needed to allow for the recruitment and onboarding process. So you don’t stretch your engineering team because you can’t recruit fast enough. Meanwhile, you may be failing on new contracts you’ve only just started servicing.

High Service Level Expectations are increasing as customers expect automated notifications, effective planned preventative maintenance scheduling, high uptime rates, electronic job sheet reports and access to useful reports using real-time data.

Providing Data & Reporting, whether it’s data for Finance to create invoices or for business forecasting Service Teams generally duplicate admin as Engineers and Admin teams both input data on the system, there’s inconsistencies and delays, missed invoicing and lots of time taken for resolving discrepancies and creating reports with unreliable information.

Overcoming service management challenges

There’s clearly no silver bullet to overcome all of these challenges in one go (sorry!). But it’s clear that Service Teams need to use service management software applications to help them to increase efficiency throughout each step of their operational process – respecting that their process will be different from others so choosing the right software is vital.

Please let us know if there’s other challenges you are facing. We always like to hear from Service Managers. The Service Geeni customer forum constantly informs us of the changes and challenges in service delivery across different industries. Your feedback is really useful to guide our product upgrade roadmap so we’re regularly releasing improvements to resolve emerging challenges. Feel free to get in touch to share your service management challenges.