Every day, many companies turn operational efficiency in the field into a powerful competitive advantage. And it’s easy to see why:
- Efficiency typically translates into cost savings, which can give your company a price advantage
- When you reduce glitches in the field, it can translate into greater customer satisfaction
- Workers who feel their contribution is valuable – and valued – tend to stick with their employer longer, a critical outcome with today’s widespread labor shortages
You might think you’ve got a pretty good handle on efficiency – your metrics seem fine, or at least you know what areas you need to focus on. But there’s probably something lurking in the shadows that’s holding you back.
The Invisible Efficiency Destroyer
The thing that’s probably destroying your efficiency without you even noticing is something that afflicts almost every complex operation: workarounds.
Workarounds? You might be thinking that sounds completely backwards. After all, workarounds are basically clever solutions to somehow make broken things work. That should be helping to boost your efficiency, not destroy it. But workarounds generally hurt your efficiency because they become invisible. You forget all about them. And soon, you don’t even realize how much they’re hurting your performance because – well, because there’s no alternative. They become invisible because – well, because you’ve always done things that way so you don’t even notice them.
When you focus on trying to find ways to boost your efficiency, you probably focus on things like scheduling and planning. Most field service solutions focus on improving backoffice productivity
But a plan will only be successful when the execution in the field is able to keep up with that plan. A theoretical increase in backoffice productivity translates into zero improvement if it doesn’t factor in the realities of what’s going on in the field.
And what’s going on in the field is often a laundry list patchwork of workarounds. And those workarounds are eventually matched by workarounds in the backoffice that are needed to deal with the workarounds in the field.
Here’s an example: Technicians typically have unique workflows that are tied to their skill level, the job type, a customer type, and so forth. Now, from the customer’s perspective, the only thing that matters is the outcome – let’s say it’s installation of a fiber-to-the-home connection. The customer just wants their service to go live at the scheduled time. But from an operations standpoint, every work order can involve a unique combination of variables. And that introduces any number of problems which could become a drag on your efficiency:
- A single task may require dispatching multiple work orders, which the backoffice will need to plan and manage.
- Field technicians often use the same checklist regardless of the job type. This typically forces them to scroll through pages of items just to find the relevant details. This means technicians spend more time searching on their mobile devices for the information they need versus actually finishing their work faster and focusing on “customer delight.”
- The customer experience suffers since, for example, they will need to track the status of multiple work orders just to know when the task is completed.
Untangling the Knots in Your Workflows
All of these workarounds create a significant drain on your productivity, often without anybody realizing what’s going on. So how do you break the cycle of creating workarounds in the field that require workarounds in the backoffice?
One of the keys is the ability to quickly and easily create customized workflows. Without this capability, your only alternative is often to generate multiple work orders, each of which addresses only part of the task at hand. With robust customization capabilities, the need for that workaround simply vanishes.
And when this type of customization can be done in a no-code environment, it doesn’t require working through IT, specialized developers, or other bottlenecks. Field technicians and backoffice personnel can all become part of the solution, rather than all being forced to just keep jumping through the hoops created by workarounds on top of workarounds.
The Zinier solution is designed with a technician-centric mindset. The goal is to help techs get what they need from an app as quickly as possible, so they can spend less time with the app and more time with the task.
Our solutions enable you to define work as a combination of types of activities: work orders and tasks. For example, multiple tasks can be created as part of a single work order which gets dispatched to relevant technicians. Every task can have its own mobile workflow and experience, maximizing the usability for each technician. So for example, if a maintenance work order requires two technicians to service an asset, you can create two tasks with unique mobile workflows and dispatch them to relevant technicians.
No-code customizability accelerates and democratizes the process of making improvements. It changes a series of unhealthy habits – just living with a series of workarounds – with the much healthier habit of constantly looking for ways to improve on the status quo. And that shifts the corporate culture away from a feeling of resignation – “these workarounds are a pain, but I guess they work, so let’s just keep doing things the way we’ve always done them” – into one of experimentation in the pursuit of continuous improvement. And that shift – coupled with the right tools that make it possible – can help free you from the workarounds that have been silently crushing your efficiency.
For another perspective on how no-code customization helps field service operations improve time to value, click here.