What is Field Service? One part is the scheduling and dispatching of resources. However, it is much more than this, it is also all about the communication between the on-site technicians, the people in the technicians’ offices, and the customer. It provides an easy way of using mobile applications, and provides asset management with predictive maintenance, time tracking and analytics for reporting. It also means good integration with third party systems like Business Central or Finance and Supply Chain.
Why use Field Service?
The main capability is to help your business bring in more efficient methods for planning and dispatching. Everyone knows that you can plan things in an Excel Document, but there is no logic behind that. In Field Service we have semi-automated logic that helps you find the correct Resource. It is also possible to integrate automated logic with Resource Scheduling Optimisation (RSO).
Field Service provides much more in order to increase the efficiency of dispatchers and on-site technicians. It empowers agents and technicians by giving them the information that they need to assist them, and helps and supports them directly on-site with “remote assist“. Let's see how.
1. Manage Demand
A customer calls our helpdesk. The service agent obtains all the information that is available regarding the activity. In our case the customer tells them which machine has a problem, and that the temperature is too high for that machine.
The service agent will log all the information as phone call activity with the customer. The service agent in this case is not able to resolve the issue during the call. Therefore, the agent decides to open a case for this activity where they can do deeper research regarding this issue.
2. Work order
After the call, the agent carries out deeper research of the open case, (the research in this case being of the knowledge base of the customer service system, where we store all information about older cases and about our products), and it is discovered that it is not possible to resolve the problem without an on-site technician, because a sensor is broken and has to be replaced. The agent converts the service case to a work order. A Work Order is an order for a technician.
The system will generate a new “work order” based on the service request by the agent. The incident type “Service request” with a priority level of “high” will be assigned to the newly created “work order”. At this stage the Work Order is unscheduled and has the Work order designation of “Incident” with an incident Installation sensor.
Incident types act as “work order templates”, which allow us to quickly create work orders adding duration, service tasks, products, services or skills. They can be manually edited as needed. There can be more than one Incident type in a Work Order.
The newly created “Work Order” will be handed over to the service dispatcher. The dispatcher needs to identify the most highly qualified service technician who is nearest and available in the relevant time slot. The dispatcher can use the schedule board for this, where they can see the requirements and any unscheduled Work orders. On the Schedule board, the dispatcher has an overview of the bookable resources and the statuses of all bookings.
The schedule board is the one-stop destination for the dispatcher, where they can see all the required information and where they can plan and book all resources.
After the planning by the dispatcher and when the scheduling is ready, the system creates a new “booking”. The relevant service technician will automatically be notified via their mobile application about the new “work order”. They are now booked for the specific date and time of the work order.
4. Empower technicians
This “work order” will inform the technician about all the necessary
information, for instance the type of service, the location of the customer and
the actions that must be performed in order to resolve the issue. In this case,
the technician now knows that the sensor must be replaced. Ideally, the new
sensor will have been sent to the customer location before the technician
arrives on-site, however, in this case the technician already has a replacement
sensor in their possession.
The technician sets the status of the “work order” to “travelling” as soon as they start their journey. The dispatcher will be able to see in real time the latest status of the technician.
After the technician arrives on-site, they will update the status to “in progress” upon arrival and starting work.
5. Remote assistance
Now the technician works on replacing the sensor. In this case, as the technician identifies a problem which they can’t solve on their own, they would normally have to stop the work and get further information, and in the worst case they would need a new appointment for the next step (for example, to discover which exact sensor is required). However, an alternative solution could be to make use of the “remote assistant”. An appropriate pre-selected support contact is already noted within the “work order”. The technician can directly initiate a video call with the support contact to get further assistance.
This support contact should be an experienced technician who permanently supports on-site technicians.
The support contact can see what the technician sees via a mobile phone camera or the HoloLens, and can give support with the mixed reality capabilities of the “remote assistant”. The support contact can talk with the on-site technician and can place pointers and mark important objects within the video livestream. The technician can see these highlighted objects and is therefore guided in the best way to carry out the right steps.
It is also possible to directly send documentation such as a pdf to the technician during the call. With this “remote assistant” tool, it is still possible to successfully solve the service case, even if the on-site technician does not have enough knowledge about the particular sensor (for example, where it is located on the machine, which parts have to be replaced exactly, etc). In our case the support contact can tell the on-site technician the correct sensor to be replaced.
During and after the Work (changing the sensor, in this case) is completed, the technician must document all the steps performed and materials that have been used on-site. This is documented directly in the mobile app upon completion of the activity. The customer can, after the technician has completed their work, receive a pre-calculated invoice and can sign it digitally on the technician’s mobile device.
After completion, the “work order” will be marked as completed and the dispatcher can close the “service case” as solved and initiate the billing process. The technician can now continue on their journey to the next available “work order”.