As any field dispatcher or supervisor knows, not all field technicians are created equal. Different types of work orders require different skill sets, certifications and knowledge to effectively complete. It’s even more complicated across different industries. You wouldn’t send a restaurant health inspector to an oil and gas facility, because the type of field service work for an oil and gas company differs significantly from the work of a telecommunications company, a health care organization, municipalities or any other industry. How do you manage work order and skills requirements, especially when it comes to a highly distributed and often mobile field workforce? Let’s review why skill tagging your field technicians and work orders increases the efficiency of your field service organization.
Assign Work Orders by Job Skills
Effectively managing work orders and a highly distributed, mobile field workforce requires the coordination of many moving parts. The situation is much more complicated when considering the type of work and the skills necessary to complete the work. With the right field service management software, you can easily add skill tags to each field technician, teams and work orders. When a dispatcher or supervisor is assigning any given work order, they can then filter by skills or classify the skill sets of their field workforce, ensuring the right technician for the job–I’ve included an example below from our own field service management software. That translates to fewer return visits, better use of resources and cost savings.
With a distributed mobile field workforce, it’s sometimes nearly impossible to keep track of who has which certification or when the certification expires. Setting up automated alerts can take the stress out of manually tracking such information or relying on the technician to keep track themselves.
When a certification is up for renewal, alerts can be set up to automatically notify a supervisor or the field technician they have so many days to renew. The options should be flexible, allowing for different increments of timed reminders (i.e., 30, 60, 90 days or custom), in addition to different method of reminder, such as email or text.
Remain Compliant, Ensure Training Has Been Completed
In the realm of field service work, the type of training a technician or a work order is required to complete is entirely distinct from certifications. In fact, many of the field service organizations we talk to have mandatory internal training programs for their field technicians, along with the plethora of outside training programs available.
Enabling automatic notifications when a deadline or expiration for training approaches—similar to the aforementioned certification alert—is a quick way to gain efficiency across your field workforce. And given that training requirements typically affect compliance, such a solution demonstrates immediate value.
Take Field Technician Experience into Account
Just as different types of work orders require different skills and certifications, they may also require different levels of experience. The ability to add years of experience to your field technician profiles as well as work order requirements is not just a nice to have, but for many field service organizations we’ve talked to, it’s a necessity.
If a highly complex piece of equipment is in need of repair by a certified mechanical engineer with at least 10 years of experience, you don’t want to waste time, energy and resources dispatching just any technician. Save yourself the effort by dispatching the right technician for the right job at the right time.
Assign Next-Available Technician via Automated Skill Tag Matching
Sophisticated field service management software may provide the capability to automate the selection of a field technician based on a skill tag matching feature. In this instance, the software searches across all schedules and technicians, looking for the next available time slot for a technician whose skills match the job requirements. At least in the case of Field Squared, our software does this for you, returning five time slots the work order could be scheduled for, as shown in the image below. When returning the suggestions, our technology has already gone the extra step to take drive time into account, ensuring the technician has enough time to get to the job site.
There are many ways to document skills or work order requirements, but a paper-based process is not one of them. Digital field service management technology with skill tagging capabilities is the most effective and efficient means to ensure the right technician is dispatched, saving your field service organization time, money and resources.