70% of field service organizations are worried about the growing scarcity of skills, triggered by the retirement of skilled technicians from the baby boomer generation (The Service Council Survey, 2017). And despite 77% of field services currently managing this shortfall with contractors (Field Nation, 2017), younger generations are not readily stepping forward to plug the gap.
The work of field service employees is increasingly complex which makes finding and training qualified people an increasingly difficult task. In Switzerland for example, the field service technician’s role is one of the toughest to fill, according to the Adecco Group’s Swiss Skills Shortage Index.
Such disparity between supply and demand is being further exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis. With non-essential maintenance and fixes put on hold during the height of the crisis, field service organizations are bracing themselves for a huge spike in demand as economies and businesses begin to reopen. This surge in demand will further necessitate hiring third party support, but now in a post COVID-world where remote diagnostics, customer self-service and agility on-site will be the new norm.
Flex-up resources with cost-efficient BYOD scanning
One of the biggest challenges for field service providers is keeping labor and training costs low, while maintaining high service levels. Recruiting and training a field service technician is very costly, and given the uncertainty around the scale and timing of the spike, a cost-effective, flexible solution to support the rapid onboarding of resources is essential.
Digital processes on a technician’s own device is a smart and efficient way to flex-up your field service resource and onboard people quickly to meet the anticipated demand.
Such a BYOD (bring your own device) strategy is used to great effect in many other sectors, such as Post, Parcel and Express, to manage COVID-19 and regular seasonal peaks. In fact, BetaNews predicts the BYOD market will reach an eye-watering $367 billion by 2022, up from just $30 billion in 2014.
Unlike logistics, third party peak hiring in field service is a relatively new phenomenon so it’s impossible to predict how many smart devices will be needed. BYOD offers an agile and flexible solution in the same way it does for logistics. Watch how Hermes fulfilled peak demand by giving couriers a more intuitive and flexible last mile delivery solution.
With a high-performing mobile scanning app on a technician’s familiar, easy-to-use smart device, contractors and employees are trained faster in many tasks, supplementing the requirements of more formal certified training. Productivity is increased, costs are reduced and worker satisfaction goes up.
When the pressure is on to scale-up operations fast, learning how to do it successfully with a BYOD strategy from some of the world’s leading logistics businesses that have already done it, is a great place to start.
End-to-end processes in a technician’s pocket
Scandit’s high-performance scanning software is easily integrated into mobile apps and turns a field technician’s personal smart device into a high-performance scanner, capable of capturing barcode data quickly and accurately. This not only saves technicians from having to type in lengthy serial numbers, but the data can also be used to connect multiple processes and streamline entire workflows.
Adding AR (augmented reality) enables field service organizations to go one step further by simplifying complex workflows, which are common in the industry. On a single device, a technician can track and find the right parts, access maintenance or installation information and enable contactless proof of completion.
New or temporary technicians can set to work quickly and hassle-free by simply downloading the company’s field service mobile app onto their own smart device.
With BYOD there’s no need for dedicated devices which can save up to 70% on the total cost of ownership. And with Scandit supporting over 20,000 device models, even lower-end devices, newly-recruited third party technicians can be onboarded instantly using their own device.
Attract hard-to-find talent with BYOD digital convenience
A BYOD strategy is also a weapon in your armoury for winning the field service talent war by offering technicians the convenience of using their own familiar device.
There’s no need for time-sapping multiple device use or manual paperwork, making BYOD an attractive proposition for new technicians and a greater bargaining feature for field service recruiters.
Forbes estimates that one-third of all US workers are part of the gig economy, making it a key battleground for talent, including experienced technicians. Typically, these resources work for a number of companies, and field service technicians are likely to be given multiple pieces of kit for each job e.g. laptop and bluetooth scanner per company.
Not only do workers have to remember the right hardware when they leave for work each day, but on site, the equipment can be cumbersome with inefficient processes. Offering efficient processes on a familiar, single device is likely to attract many gig economy workers. And in the current climate, avoiding the practice of shared devices helps to reduce the risk of infection too.
Extend own device self-scanning to your customers
COVID-19 has accelerated the emerging trend of customer self-service and remote diagnostics in field service. Cost reduction was the initial driver, but now minimizing time on site to increase the safety of both the technician and customer is an added essential.
First-time fix rates are more crucial than ever with field service organizations preferring not to send a technician back for safety and cost-efficiency reasons. When you consider a single return visit, often needed because of missing customer information, costs around $250 per visit, it pays to fix an issue first time, every time.
Enabling customers to scan equipment themselves at home using their own mobile device helps dispatchers send the right technician with the right parts, reducing time on site – increasing first-time fix rates and boosting customer satisfaction.
Also, as companies adapt to the COVID-19 crisis and look for ways to cost-effectively, future-proof customer service, remote diagnostics are taking center stage. We envisage a new concept of ‘zero-time fix rates’, where issues are resolved by customers themselves – when safe to do so. Using a Scandit-powered mobile app, customers can access all the information they need about a product, including warranties and instructions on how to troubleshoot and fix the issue on their own. See it in action.
Talk to us about scaling up your field service operations
It’s easy to integrate our high-performance scanning into apps on everyday smart devices, so that new or temporary technicians can complete critical end-to-end workflows using their own smartphones. To find out more, contact our team today.