Have Bottlenecks in Your Processes? Here’s How to Identify Them

traffic_jamA customer is having difficulties with a product that’s vital to his business operations. It’s your product, so he places a call to your field service customer call center. One of the field service operators takes the call and creates a service request, which is then handed off to the dispatch center. Depending on how busy they are, the dispatch center may or may not immediately look at the service request.

When the dispatch center does look at the service request, they will assess the job and assign it to the appropriate field service technician. The field service technician receives the assignment, goes to the customer’s location, and fixes the issue. The technician then reports completion of the job to central billing, which generates and sends an invoice to the customer.

This technician utilization process may not be identical to yours, but it’s likely not far off the mark.

The process is broken down into separate specialized functions that operate together like the different components of a machine. Unlike a mechanical machine, however, each component consists of a person or group of people who are subject to a wide variety of mistakes. They are not single-purpose mechanisms that perform the same way each time. People get distracted, make errors in judgment, get stressed out, and frequently miscommunicate with each other. Each point in the chain where information gets handed off is an opportunity for mistakes and delay.

Fortunately, you can identify where your process is having the majority of its inefficiencies and bottlenecks by creating a simple report. This report tracks the time from the beginning of each element to its end, starting with the field service operator. The report would begin with the time that the customer call was received and when the service request was sent to the dispatch center. The time the dispatch center opened the service request and the time the technician was dispatched are also recorded. The technician’s information – when he arrived at the job, when he completed the job, and when he reported the completion of the job to the invoicing center – is also necessary to find the places where your process is experiencing the most mistakes and delays.

This type of pipeline report, when used to track all field service activity, will provide insight into the weaknesses and strengths of your technician utilization process.

After you know what your strengths and weaknesses are, you can take steps to enhance your strengths and improve upon your weaknesses.

This and the technician utilization process itself can be streamlined and better integrated by making use of software that is designed specifically for field technician management. If this interests you, please contact Acumen Information Solutions for more information about making the technician utilization process easier.

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