Annually, field service organizations achieve higher levels of technician productivity through technology, process improvement, training, quality and hard work. Productivity, as a field service objective, is defined as more output from the work produced, and consistently service leaders make this an annual focus to drive value and meet corporate objectives.
I believe we have options in terms measuring productivity in modern field business service models that better leverage the body of work of a professional field service team. Traditionally field service productivity has been defined with a balance of service quality to improve revenue per tech, first time fix rates, % of travel time, % of 2080 available hours or % non-productive time, CSAT and other normal productivity/quality measures. Often, the standard is the more billable hours by tech, the higher the productivity. The margin gained has gone to the bottom line as an EBITA contribution from service operations.
We constantly recognize the changing value of field service and especially the technicians who are face to face with customers as problem solvers, brand ambassadors, and lead generators and represent the voice of the customer. But are we keeping up with the correct productivity metrics to evaluate the organization’s true productivity, not just in service, but across the corporate enterprise? It can be argued that technician hours used to service equipment, either as billable or per service contract, should be reduced to spend more time on customer relations, lead generation, safety and other soft skill outputs.
As technician billable hour outputs increase with use of new technology, process improvements and other initiatives, it’s important to also recognize the value of:
-Customer relationship building
-Proper inventory control
-Adopting technology and use of systems
-Avoiding safety and driving accidents
-Continuous learning to improve technical and soft skill proficiency
-Care of company assets
-Helping teammates and knowledge transfer
Considering the limitation of “silos” within a corporation and singular business unit contributions, there is no better time to consider the cross functional impact of service business operations and process improvement to improve financial, customer experience and employee development.As productivity increase remains on the corporate goal sheet, this is the time to establish the value of a service business and make critical decisions on how those gains are recognized and valued. At the corporate level, a prudent choice is to measure across the entire business enterprise and continue investment and initiatives that deliver direct service labor gains as well as outputs from their soft skills and new roles.