Growing a service business starts with field service engineer development. Field Service is an ever-changing industry with not just new and different product technology in which a Field Service Engineer (FSE) is responsible for maintaining and applications but there is increasingly new technology deployed to do their jobs. Often this is non-product technology that automates a company’s processes and provides value to the customer. Obviously we are accustomed to Field Service Management Systems to automate service dispatch, service agreements and inventory. Then of course there are basic things like expense report systems, payroll time reporting, and on-line training. Most today are applications used by the FSE’s smart phone. Now we frequently hear about engagement/knowledge networks, augmented reality based training systems and of course the prevalent IoT of the products and troubleshooting processes. What ever happened to basic RS232?
As often spoken about, soft skills are critical elements of a successful FSE career. So technology being the hard skills, and customer relations and service sales being the “soft skills”, this opens the focus on yet a 3rd critical skill set and that is the “job skills”, which can be based on advanced technology to do our jobs and the mission critical elements of a FSE’s job such as productivity, safety, inventory and use of technology systems, especially mobile applications.
Figure 1: 3 Major FSE Focus Areas ©FIELD SERVICE RESOURCES, LLC 2017
The proper training and engagement strategy for FSE’s, needs to address all three FSE critical focus areas not just from a training standpoint but as an entire management plan to drive the desired results to the organization’s bottom line.
Too often we rely on completed training hours or proclaimed “proficiency” levels as mission success, when in fact FSE’s are not truly engaged and the organization misses its business goals. Training is one element of a management plan and cannot stand on its own and be justified as a proper business investment without linking properly to the business plan and actions.
Figure 2: Field Service7℠ ©FIELD SERVICE RESOURCES, LLC 2017
The exclusive Field Service7℠ FSE Development program addresses organizational alignment, strategic goals, training, and engagement and business results. One emerging best practice to field service organizations is to further engage and ensure daily FSE practices, that is their hard, soft and job skills, are configured into their Field Service Management system. This technique is an engagement practice and an effective learning approach,