UK/Europe vs. U.S./Global State of Field Service Management (FSM) Survey Findings Infographic

The attached Infographic presents and compares the key survey findings from Strategies For Growth℠s 2017 Field Service Management (FSM) Benchmark Survey for the UK/Europe vs. the U.S./Global FSM markets.

The U.S./Global survey findings were presented on November 8, 2017 in a Webcast hosted by CSDP, the leading service relationship management software developer that commences every client engagement with consulting. Bill Pollock, President & Principal Consulting Analyst at Strategies For Growth℠, was the featured presenter.

See below to find out how you can view the archived Webcast in its entirety, and obtain a complimentary copy of the companion Analysts Take paper.

The Infographic provides a synopsis of how the UK/Europe FSM market differs from the U.S./Global FSM by comparing key survey findings in an easy-to-follow graphical format. By viewing the Infographic, learn how the UK/Europe FSM market compares to all others for each of the key survey findings. Then, register for the 6 December, 2017 Webcast to drill down for more detailed information!

[Download the Infographic at: UK-Europe vs US Infographic (November, 2017).]

[To register for the 6 December, 2017 Webcast on the topic of “UK/Europe Field Service Organisations Are Closing the Global Service Delivery Gap!“, please click on the following Weblink: http://bit.ly/2zt4eu0.]

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The State of Field Service Management (FSM) in 2017 – and Beyond!

[This Blog post contains a sampling of the content and information that will be presented in our upcoming Webcast, Wednesday, November 8, 2017 from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm EST. To register for the Webcast and receive a complimentary copy of the full Analysts Take white paper, please go to: http://bit.ly/CSDPWebinarNov8.]

As we near the end of calendar year 2017, many Field Service managers have begun to wrestle with the question, “What lies ahead for us in the next 12 months and beyond? Of course, there is no quick and easy answer – and everything can change in a heartbeat due to unforeseen internal and/or external factors.

As such, it becomes increasingly important for Field Service Organizations (FSOs) to understand the specific impact that the next 12 months (and beyond) will have on the quality and performance of their field service operations. In fact, the future state of Field Service Management (FSM) will depend largely on what strategic actions FSOs plan to take in the next 12 months or so. Since these actions will be directly linked to the multitude of drivers that are most likely to influence decision making within the global services community, this would be a good place to start.

The results of Strategies For GrowthSM‘s (SFGSM) 2017 Field Service Management Benchmark Survey reveal that the top drivers cited as influencing FSOs today may be categorized into three main areas:

  1. Customer demand and/or preferences
  2. Need to improve service workforce utilization, productivity and efficiencies
  3. Internal mandate to drive increased service revenues

When asked to cite the top three drivers currently influencing their ability to effectively manage field services operations, 56% of respondents cite customer demand for quicker response time, and nearly one-third (32%) cite customer demand for improved asset availability.

However, the need to improve workforce utilization and productivity is also cited by a majority (51%) of respondents as a top driver, followed by the need to improve service process efficiencies (39%). An internal mandate to drive increased service revenues is then cited by 31% of respondents as one of their top three drivers.

Once the key market drivers are clearly identified, FSOs need to create – and implement – the most effective strategic planning actions to address them head-on. As revealed in the SFGSM survey, the most commonly implemented strategic actions, currently, are:

  • 48% Develop and/or improve KPIs used to measure field service performance
  • 40% Invest in mobile tools to support field technicians
  • 36% Automate existing manual field service processes and activities
  • 31% Integrate new technologies into existing field service operations
  • 30% Provide additional training to field service technicians and dispatchers
  • 26% Improve planning and forecasting with respect to field operations
  • 25% Increase customer involvement in Web-based service process
  • 24% Provide enterprise-wide access to important field-collected data

These data strongly suggest that there is a pattern of synergy among the top four cited strategic actions that builds a foundation for all of the other actions that will ultimately be taken by the organization; that is, that nearly half of the FSOs comprising the global services community already recognize the need to build and/or improve their KPI measurement program – this is essential! This is the first step!

Based on the SFG survey data, Jerry Edinger, President, CEO and Chairman of CSDP Corporation, a leading Service Relationship Management software developer, explains, “This is why we start every one of our client engagements with consulting. We ensure that your business processes are designed correctly before automating them. Software alone cannot improve KPIs. We design the exact Field Service Management solution based on the needs and requirements of the organization.  We detail how a solution automates the entire service delivery and customer service processes into a fully integrated field service management system and maps it into the overall enterprise workflow. Once the consultative effort is completed, we then have a detailed roadmap of how to build the most effective solution to meet the organization’s field service goals and objectives.”

However, along with the development and/or improvement of a KPI program, nearly as many organizations also recognize the need to invest in state-of-the-art mobile tools to support their technicians in the field, while concurrently, automating their existing manual field service processes and activities to provide an enterprise-wide foundation for collecting data and information, and disseminating this process to field technicians (and, in many cases, to their customers) on an as-needed basis. Further, about one-third of FSOs recognize the need to integrate new technologies into existing field service operations to make it all come together.

This synergy is built on, first, ensuring that there is an effective KPI measurement program in place, and using that program to establish a benchmark, or baseline, for measuring the organization’s current field service performance. Second, there needs to be a comprehensive internal effort to bring the technical aspects of services operations into the current (and future) timeframe – this can be done mainly by investing in an effective package of mobile tools to support the field force.

Finally, it will be the integration of these new technologies (e.g., mobility applications, the IoT, wearables, 3D printing, Augmented Reality (AR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), etc.) into the overall mix of resources and tools deployed by FSOs that will empower the field force do their jobs more productively and efficiently. The desired results, of course, would be the improvement of service delivery performance and the resultant improvements in the levels of customer satisfaction (and retention).

The data make it clear that there is no mistake – that is, if your services organization already finds itself behind the curve with respect to:

  1. The automation of its existing field service management processes (or lack thereof);
  2. Its ability to meet (if not exceed) its customers’ demands or requirements;
  3. Its ability to support its field technicians and customers with real-time data and information; or
  4. Dealing with escalating costs associated with running its services operations; this gap will likely only get larger over time – unless it considers implementing a new, more state-of-the-art, field service management solution;

SFG’s 2017 FSM survey results clearly show the impact that doing so will have on the organization – as well as on its customers and its bottom line.

[For more information on this topic; to register for the companion Webcast hosted by CSDP on Wednesday, November 8, 2017; or to download a copy of SFG’s companion Analysts Take report, please visit the registration Webpage at: http://bit.ly/CSDPWebinarNov8.

How Service Managers Can Meet Today’s Most Pressing Service Management KPIs: MSI Data’s Interview with Bill Pollock

Field service industry expert, Bill Pollock, explains how service management KPIs in 2016 are shifting back to the basics, although the ways they measure and exceed those goals are changing fast.

[Reprinted, with permission, from MSI Data.]

A seasoned field service analyst, Bill Pollock, president and principal consulting analyst at the Westtown, Pennsylvania-based research analyst firm Strategies For Growth (SFG), has his eye on service industry standards and provides no shortage of advice for service managers looking to run a top-flight field service department.

In this interview, Bill breaks down how business leaders can improve key metrics, such as profitability and customer satisfaction and what service managers can to do exceed key performance indicators (KPIs) using today’s technologies.

Today’s service KPIs are back to the basics, but also back to the future

Even though there have been many changes in how companies do business, and there are many new technologies that have transformed business processes, many of the traditional service KPIs have stayed the same. For example, customer satisfaction is still #1. “The best practices organizations have 90% or higher customer satisfaction,” said Bill.

Service Management KPIs

Here are the top KPIs Bill highlighted for today’s service organizations:

1. Customer Satisfaction
2. Total Service Revenue
3. Total Service Cost
4. Technician Utilization

Returning to Normalcy: The Evolution of Service Management KPIs

In fact, the priority of these top KPIs have evolved significantly in the last decade.

“Recently, we’ve been seeing total service revenue surpass service cost. In 2016, we’re seeing 72% of organizations looking at total service revenue, and 69% at total service cost.”

While this isn’t a huge difference in percentage, it’s reflective of the trend to increase revenue from service since the cost-cutting days of the 2008 recession. According to Bill, best practices organizations are more focused on revenue than cost.

“During the recession, KPIs were cost oriented: cost, per product; cost, per field engineer; cost for service. But, after 2-3 years, the most aggressive – and progressive – organizations had cut all the costs they could, and the market started coming back to revenue generation.”

Service organizations are prioritizing revenue-production over cost-reduction. But, in 2016 they’ve started coming back around to placing the highest importance on customer satisfaction.

“Today, now that best practices organizations have implemented everything they could to generate more revenue; they’ve come full circle, back to normalcy, and back to customer satisfaction as the most important measure of success.“

How Service Managers Can Help their Team Meet KPIs

As a service manager, it’s one thing to set goals and another to meet them. Empower your team to meet the KPIs you’ve set by following these tips:

  • Set targets: Decide on the baseline, and define standards or targets. Then create a plan to reach them.
  • Define a scoring methodology: Determine how you’ll measure success and assign individual scores that roll up to a total score for each category; for example:
    • 95-100% = Exceeds expectations
    • 85-95% = Meets expectations
    • 0<85% = Does Not Meet expectations
  • Link KPIs to critical factors that drive the performance of the organization. If the metric is not directly linked to a critical organization success factor, it will probably not be worth the resources to measure.
  • Assign someone to take ownership of the data coming in. If you don’t have accurate data to report on, there’s no chance you’ll achieve your goals.
    Communicate KPIs clearly to everyone involved.
  • Invest in resources necessary to achieve goals. You can’t expect someone to increase measurement in an area without listening to their needs and giving them the resources to make improvements.
  • Foster collaboration between sales and service. Give sales-reps an incentive to sell more service contracts and turn the service department into a profit center.

Technology is Changing How Service Organizations Set Goals and Measure KPIs

Manual or paper-based service processes make it nearly impossible to track the data necessary to manage and measure KPIs. That’s part of the reason why FSM software is a crucial piece of the service management puzzle. Not only does it improve service operations, it also enables you to collect the information you need to measure improvements.

“You could be looking at the right KPI for your business, but calculating it the wrong way. You can use technology to figure out what the problem is. Then, once you know the problem, it’s a synch to fix.”

Conclusion: Always Room for Improvement

In closing, Bill emphasized the importance of continuous improvement and measuring success. “Even if what you’re doing is rated as excellent today, you still need to improve it. How are you going to do that? You need to measure where you are and make improvements from there.”

Even if you’re turning a profit today, if you’re not taking steps to stay up-to-date and relevant, you’ll find yourself slipping to competitors.

Bill suggests that “Now is your time! You have the technology; you’re collecting the data. Now you have to use it effectively!”

____________________________________________________________________

Bill Pollock is President & Principal Consulting Analyst at Strategies For Growth (SFG), the independent research analyst and services consulting firm he founded in 1992. In 2015/2016, Bill was named “One of the Twenty Most Influential People in Field Service” by Field Service News (UK); one of Capterra’s “20 Excellent Field Service Twitter Accounts”; and one of Coresystems’ “Top 10 Field Service Influencers to Follow”. He writes monthly features for Field Service News and Field Service Digital, and is a regular contributor to Field Technologies. Bill may be reached at +(610) 399-9717, or via email at wkp@s4growth.com. Bill’s blog is accessible @PollockOnService and via Twitter @SFGOnService.

Building a Best Practices Warranty Management Program for 2016 – and Beyond

How Best Practices Organizations Are Positioning Themselves to Drive Revenues, Reduce Costs and Compete More Effectively

Putting Warranty Management Metrics in Perspective

Each year, Strategies For GrowthSM (SFGSM) conducts a series of Benchmark Surveys among its outreach community of more than 40,000 global services professionals. Total responses for the updated 2015 Warranty Chain Management Benchmark Survey, conducted over a six-month period ending in Q3 2015, are in excess of 225

Overall, global survey respondents identify the following as the top factors that are currently driving their ability to optimize warranty management performance:

  • 56% Desire to improve customer retention
  • 50% Post-sale customer satisfaction issues
  • 37% Customer demand for improved warranty management services
  • 27% Product defect-related costs
  • 24% Mandate to improve service profitability
  • 21% Mandate to drive increased service revenues

However, in order to effectively execute on each of these drivers – and strive to attain Best Practices – respondents then cite the following as the most important strategic actions already in place at their respective organizations:

  • 52% Develop / improve metrics, or KPIs, for advanced warranty chain analytics
  • 39% Streamline parts return process to improve overall efficiency
  • 35% Improve warranty management-related planning and forecasting activities
  • 32% Restructure for improved Warranty Management oversight & accountability
  • 31% Foster a closer working collaboration between product design & service

How well an organization steps up to each of these drivers by taking the most appropriate – and effective – strategic actions will ultimately determine its prospects for successfully attaining a desired Best Practices position in the global warranty management services marketplace.

Based on the updated results of the original SFGSM benchmark survey, this report provides additional insight into each of these and other related areas that may be impacting your organization’s ability to attain Best Practices with respect to its overall warranty chain management processes – and it all starts with the need to have a full understanding of the numerous processes, policies and procedures used to run your warranty management operations, coupled with the development of a Key Performance Indicator (KPI) program that can be used to measure your success all along the way.

For the purposes of this report, we define Best Practices Warranty Management organizations as those that have attained both 90% or higher customer satisfaction, and reflect average warranty claims processing times of four days or less. Accordingly, approximately 11%, or 25, of the total respondents are classified as Best Practices.

[To obtain a copy of the full White Paper report, or to register for the March 3, 2016 Webcast of the same name, please visit the Tavant Technologies Webcast landing page at: http://info.tavant.com/Warranty_Webinar_2016.html.]

“7 Simple Strategies to Increase Revenue in 2016” – Our Take

[The following is a transcript of the “One Simple Strategy Recommended for Increasing Revenue in 2016” material we submitted to Field Service Digital in response to their request. The full interview was published in the December 18, 2015 issue of the magazine; however, only some of this material actually made the cut (i.e., there are six other industry experts who also had their say in the Field Service Digital piece).

Read our response first, then read the Field Service Digital piece to gain a perspective from among the seven of us. A link to the magazine is provided at the end of our Blog, for your convenience.]

One Simple Strategy to Increase Services Revenue in 2016

“The best services strategies are typically the simplest ones – particularly the ones that target improved service revenues and profitability. But, whatever the strategy, it should always follow a process of ‘Measure, Assess, Adjust & Track’ (MAA&T). What that means is, whether you’re looking at overall service operations, or individual components of service, such as warranty management, parts/inventory management, customer relationship management, or the like, you will need to, first, measure where you stand today, how you got there, and where you’re likely to end up if nothing else changes; second, assess what needs to be changed, modified, upgraded or replaced; third, make the necessary adjustments to facilitate – and in many cases, expedite – change, as appropriate; and fourth, track your progress over time as you implement new and/or revised processes, policies and procedures, or new technologies.

Supported through the ongoing review of input and feedback, the process then starts all over again on a virtual continuous loop, thereby fostering continuous quality improvement that goes directly to the bottom line.

Using warranty management as an example, a sound strategy might be to (1) measure its current contribution to the bottom line in terms of revenue generation and profitability, (2) assess alternative scenarios for process improvement; (3) make changes to the current program to stimulate improved revenue generation; and (4) track your progress over time. Then, you start all over again!

The old adage goes something like, “You can’t know how much you’ve improved if you don’t know where you’ve come from” clearly supports the MAA&T approach. And the ability to continue cycling through the process time after time allows this strategic approach to foster continuous quality improvement.”

[To read the full Field Service Digital article for which this information was prepared, please visit: http://fieldservice.com/2015/12/18/7-simple-strategies-increase-revenue-2016/.]

The Evolution of Enterprise Field Service Operations

Enterprises Embracing On-Demand Workforce to Drive Growth in a Hyper-Responsive Service World

[Excerpted from the SFG℠ White Paper of the same name, sponsored by Work Market.]

Historically, Field Service Organizations (FSOs) within enterprises had a relatively easy time dealing with the staffing and management of their own field service workforce – basically, they recruited, hired, trained and placed their service technicians in strategic locations situated within a city, throughout the region, and across the country.

However, in the last several years, the field services market has grown ultra-competitive. Increasing customer expectations, pricing pressures and growing talent shortages mean enterprises are facing a perfect storm. They must find new ways to adapt in a rapidly evolving market or succumb to being left behind. And this is especially true for enterprises that are supporting a large installed base of equipment, comprised of a large variety of products, distributed in multiple geographic locations.

Historically, almost every major platform, device or piece of equipment had its own set of metrics, or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). It was by these KPIs that services organizations – and their field technicians – could track their performance over time to ensure that the customer’s equipment was always running as smoothly and efficiently as possible – and with as little downtime as possible.

Equipment performance was optimized, for the most part, by strict adherence to a periodic schedule of both routine and preventive maintenance. KPIs such as MTBF (i.e., Mean Time Between Failures) and MTTR (i.e., Mean Time To Repair) were the two most commonly used metrics in an age when equipment typically failed up to several times a year.

Fast forward to today. The field services landscape has changed quite dramatically – largely as a result of the introduction of new and improved technologies, an intensely demanding and volatile market economy, and an increased emphasis on technician skills, training and certifications. For these reasons, many enterprises and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) now find themselves either overwhelmed by the demands typically associated with the recruiting, training, on-boarding, managing – and paying for – their respective field service technicians. Others have decided to get out of the direct business of performing services themselves – even on their own equipment.

[Click here to read the entire white paper, compliments of Work Market, the company that provides an end-to-end Workforce Solution to help organizations manage their freelance workstream.]

[Click here to register for our July 29, 2015 Webcast on the same topic, also compliments of Work Market.]

Measuring Field Service Success: The Essential KPIs

[The following are just a few of our quotes about Field Service KPIs, taken from the April 21, 2015 issue of Field Technologies. Read the full article to learn more about which KPIs you should be measuring, monitoring and managing at your services organization.]

  • “Overall, KPIs should be directly linked to the critical factors that drive the performance of the organization. If the metric is not directly linked to a critical organization success factor, it will probably not be worth the resources and dollar expenditures to collect and process. Regardless of how your organization defines KPIs, the following factors should always be taken into account: The KPIs must reflect, and relate directly to, the organization’s stated goals; be quantitative and quantifiable; and be linked directly to the measurement of the organization’s success.”
  • “Field service organizations (FSOs) aspiring to attain best practices do not merely look at outcomes, such as improving the bottom line or increasing customer satisfaction; they also look at ways in which to identify the root causes of major problems and leverage process improvement opportunities through the implementation of effective technologies and tools to support their resources both in the field and in the front and back offices that support them.”
  • “At best-practices organizations, which are attaining 90 percent or higher customer satisfaction and 30 percent or higher profitability, the average number of KPIs used is as high as 14. The key is to measure the right KPIs.”
  • “The basic rule of thumb is, simply, that you will need to measure and track any and all areas where your organization is consistently performing below expectations. Areas that require improvement need to be measured regularly — especially before, during, and after the requisite improvements are being made. Once you hit your goals on a consistent basis, and over a long enough period of time, the specific KPIs you have been using may be ‘retired’ from active duty. They can be reinstated if, and when, your performance in those areas begins to decline.”

To read the full article, please visit the Field Technologies Website by clicking on the following Weblink (or pasting it onto your Web browser): http://www.fieldtechnologiesonline.com/doc/measuring-field-service-success-the-essential-kpis-0001?sectionCode=Articles&templateCode=Single&user=1929567&source=nl:42973&utm_source=et_6212910&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ISWIR_2015-05-07-DigitalMag&utm_term=BD231469-8790-42B5-9E55-F794372F4453&utm_content=Measuring%2bField%2bService%2bSuccess%253a%2bThe%2bEssential%2bKPIs

To view a companion Best Practices Service KPI Infographic prepared by Strategies For Growth℠, and sponsored by ServicePower, simply click on (or paste) the following Weblink: http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/380173/KPI_Infographic-1-1.jpeg?t=1431451714116