In the first of this 4-part blog series, I will explore how SAP Field Service Management (FSM) will alleviate the typical pain points associated with your field service operations.
In the second blog, I will talk about some of the more advanced SAP FSM capabilities to edge out your competition and develop new service models to increase your service revenue.
In the third blog, my colleague Akhilendra Pratap Singh will talk about the key KPIs you can track to measure the business benefits derived from implementing the SAP FSM solution.
Finally, in the fourth blog, my colleague Lee Pittard discuss how SAP FSM can integrate with omnichannel customer service solutions and ERP backends.
Before we start going into any specific details, let us first see why having the right solution for FSM matters for your business.
Why should it matter what kind of field service I provide?
In today’s experience economy, the kind of service you provide has the most significant impact on your customer’s experience. Given that field service is a very high-touch interaction activity where your technicians visit the customer at their premises, good or bad field service experience can make a tremendous impact on the overall customer experience.
Additionally, the service line of business was traditionally viewed as a cost center, but that is not the case anymore as there are revenue streams which can be explored not only to increase the reach of existing service but also through selling of additional services.
Therefore, whether you provide field service as part a of standard warranty or sell it as an extended warranty, service contract or maintenance plan, it is an important area that deserves significant attention. Providing better services under standard warranty has a direct impact on new sales, whereas selling additional services opens new revenue streams.
So how does SAP FSM address the pain points in field service management?
In this section, I will focus on 3 of the most common pain points that the field service line of business faces.
1.Multiple trips needed to resolve the same issue
This is one of the most common problems, and it is an expensive one particularly because you cannot charge your customer twice the “call out charge” which would typically cover the overhead costs such as travel time and expenses.
Why does this happen? The main reason is that the technician sent to provide the service might not have the right skills. The other common reason is that the technician is missing the right tools and/or the relevant spare parts in their van.
How can this be rectified? SAP FSM provides the following capabilities which directly address these issues:
- Skill matching: Whether it is the language or technical skills, the assignment of a technician to a job ensures that the right person is sent the first time
- Real-time inventory updates: When the technician consumes spare parts on a job, their van stock inventory is reduced and updated immediately in the ERP system. This can trigger the replenishment process to ensure they get the part before running out
- Tool reservation: While the technician carries common tools in their van, special tools can be reserved when needed to ensure they pick up the tool before starting travel to the customer. This is particularly important when tools are expensive, e.g., those needed for medical devices
2.Low productivity of field technician
Low productivity means the technician spends more time travelling or looking for relevant information and less time providing the service
Why does this happen? If you have customers in areas far away from suitably skilled technicians, a lot of time is spent travelling to and from the customer site. The travel planning may not be fully optimized either. Another reason for low technician productivity is not having access to the right information when they are onsite.
How can this be rectified? The following capabilities of SAP FSM address these issues:
- Maintenance history: The technician can view the maintenance history of an equipment, so they have a comprehensive view of what work has been carried out on the equipment in the past
- Mobile & offline access: The information needed is available offline and on mobile
- Optimised resource scheduling: Resource scheduling can be optimised based on configurable optimisation parameters. There is also in-built AI capability for the algorithm to learn and improve itself over time.
- Crowdsourcing: This allows you to rely on local resources instead of technicians having to travel over long distances, thus reducing productivity. I will talk more about crowd services in the second part of this blog series.
3.High customer churn
If the customer is not happy with the experience you provide, they will look elsewhere.
Why does this happen? Fragmented service processes between the front office and back office can lead to longer resolution times. Furthermore, the lack of visibility about ‘where’ a specific issue is stuck in the ‘overall service process’ can further compound the problem.
How can this be rectified? This can be addressed by the following:
- Improve key customer KPIs: Resolving customer issues in the first visit and doing so quickly and efficiently leads to an overall better customer experience, thereby reducing churn
- Integrated front and back office processes: This not only leads to faster resolution times but can also provide additional visibility to the customer in the process. For instance, if a spare part is out of stock due to high demand and awaiting delivery, the customer will know why things are stuck and not feel that they are being ignored
Addressing these pain points will lead to several business benefits:
- Faster customer issue resolution
- Increased productivity of service teams
- Reduced field service costs and increased revenue
These benefits alone can have a significant impact on your business. In the next blog, I will explain how to go beyond the core capabilities of SAP FSM to edge out the competition . In the meantime, If you feel that the points made in this blog apply to you or have other pain points that you are looking to address, I will be happy to have a conversation about them – please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org