3 ways to empower your field staff and increase productivity
This week I look at 3 ways to empower your field staff and increase productivity. The benefits of empowerment span many areas, including but not limited to:
- Staff satisfaction across both your employees and contractors
- Customer satisfaction
- Work throughput and profitability
- Efficiency and optimisation
Technology is an enabler in these areas and doesn’t replace an efficient underlying process.
This may sound obvious and over the years I’ve seen some creative ways of training and less optimal ways. On the job training from your field staff peers comes with its risks of bad practice being passed on. It can certainly provide the “real world” scenario and can be more cost effective than classroom-based training, however the true costs of not undertaking training from a trainer at the start may only be discovered months later, if best practice is not adhered to.
- Real world simulation . If your field staff member is required to change a meter, consider a simulated environment where they can do this or any other task.
- Self-help. Searchable information with snapshot information to understand when your field staff are working in the field. Options such as video content with diagrams can be very useful here (data coverage/offline storage should be validated before investment in this area)
Nearly as important is refresher training for your staff. Many professions have “points” to retain accreditation that are required per year. Taking your staff out of the field for a day serves many benefits beyond just training. An example is feedback on what isn’t working or could be done smarter. These are the men and women at the frontline living and breathing the process.
Data is the new oil is a well-used term and for your field staff it’s no exception. Whether the data is sourced from within your organisation or 3rd parties, up to date information can all empower your field staff when applied correctly.
- Access to real time data. This could be traffic information such as traffic jams or road closures that will impact your work schedule on the day. There could be customer updates, such as the customer is running late getting home or other additional information since the appointment or request was made.
- Historical information. Whether its customer, asset, location or equipment related, it can all provide an insight to expedite resolution. Building on this is the ability to provide self service capability to perform analysis from the field. Whether this is simply photos, previous readings or notes, these all increase empower your field staff and increase productivity through saving of time.
This looks at how to improve workflows. There are many touch points during the working day of your field staff and the activities involved in and around their job. These can all impact productivity and in some cases could be low hanging fruit for operational improvements.
- Task Analysis. The task(s) being performed by your field staff have changed over the years. The physical action may be quite similar, such as delivering an item, changing a piece of equipment but the requirements around it will have no doubt have changed. Examples include additional information being sought by both the company and the customer, compliance, safety, SLA’s to name a few. By regularly reviewing these and seeking out efficiencies, they all feed into overall productivity gains.
- Follow on actions. This is a large area for your field staff and could range from replenishing their inventory following completion of a field activity, to notifying another team of a post-job clean up task. By introducing a digital workflow to this, inventory can be ready for immediate collection and a different team from your organisation can be onsite cleaning up before the original field staff member is back at your depot.
- Automation. Examples such as Time Sheeting may still be a separate activity and potentially even performed back in your office. This leads to large inefficiencies despite the reason for capturing this information being important. Consider a solution that allows your staff to either capture their time in “real time” in the field or a solution where this information can be extrapolated from existing work.
Collaboration in your organisation can start today with a tactical but strategically scalable solution, the Intelligent Operations Platform (IOP) from Dusk Mobile. The IOP is an industry leading collaborative work management platform. It connects your staff on any device, any time and in any location. Integrate your favourite products quickly and easily for real time collaboration amongst your teams.
Automating work functions and delivering a connected experience has never been easier and achieving productivity improvements can start tomorrow.
A great Field Services Management (FSM) software solution that includes a Program management tool, provides you with an easy way to build automation into your daily work management processes. The creation and management of these should always be via a user-friendly (and ’No Code’) interface – allowing your business users to maintain and evolve the automation without the need for additional IT or development costs.
Avoid solutions that increase support overheads on your IT department to maintain them, or (worse still) embed a dependency on the provider to deliver ongoing additional professional services to continue servicing your evolving needs’.
So how do you get started? Speak to the team at Dusk about our experience in delivering our collaborative work management SaaS solution to your business. Using bite size deliverables and incremental change, your business can transform progressively. Clean, secure integration with a polished user interface to design and build your baseline quickly.
This leads to improved productivity and visibility for your workforce. Connect to your existing systems to create an all of customer view that can be shared between all authorised parties.
If you’d like to find out more on visibility, consistent messaging, workflows, automation with project management and easy integration for your teams or business, get in touch today with our friendly team.
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