Starting over afresh seems not a vague assumption, but a reality that field inspectors should follow close by. As the decade begins, reinventing the conventional means of field inspections by taking into account the current trends and growth patterns is the need of the hour. A novel way to conduct field inspections, keeping efficiency at the forefront, all the while eliminating the clutter and other ineffectual components, goes a long way towards ensuring continuing success in the new decade.
So, what specific challenges pull back service inspectors from achieving total efficiency? Is there a way to mitigate these pressing issues and does leveraging a digital solution be of any value? Here’s a rundown of things that field inspectors need to put their focus on in order to succeed in their craft.
As of now, the field service industry is plagued with a myriad of challenges. Not every player in the service industry has migrated to FSM solutions yet. However, the numbers are on the rise and starting off with the first half of this decade, we can anticipate a steady increase in their adoption rates all across the world.
The things that do impede them, especially in the area of field inspections happen to be haphazard scheduling, failing at safety and compliance especially in tasks that involve a certain amount of risk such as inspecting a cell tower. Meanwhile, customer expectations around service experience have peaked at an all-time high as seamless connectivity to reach out for service became accessible for every user. Tech-savvy users demand instant answers to their queries with higher first-time fix rates and expect the same level of promptness and transparency in the overall service experience.
Nevertheless, a whole new set of trends are up and ready to transform the entire gamut of field service operations in 2020. From increasing reliance on data analytics to the use of AI and IoT for preventive and predictive maintenance, field inspection companies operating across diverse industry verticals are presented with a whole bunch of options to rapidly advance their service delivery.
Related Reading: What 2020 Holds In Store For Field Service Industry
An outburst of growth is expected in the first half of the decade as the market size and revenue will expand significantly to around USD 5.9 billion. For field inspectors, this meant acquainting with the emerging trends and simultaneously applying them across processes to bring about a measurable change in the outcome.
However, while the intent is one thing, realizing it is a different ball game altogether. Here are some helpful tips to achieve excellence in your field inspection efforts.
A typical field inspection or audit is carried out with the sole purpose of examining the state of a particular thing such as equipment, buildings or other kinds of infrastructure to ensure its optimal functioning. Routine inspections are integral to enable close adherence to stringent compliance practices put into effect by different standards and governing bodies. As a part of this, creating reports comes as a vital aspect and this ensures a proper record of the work to be handed over to the customer and the back office for later references.
To keep up with the ever-increasing complexity of compliance norms and audit standards, field inspectors should take the effort to be at the receiving end of the newest trends and practices employed. They should constantly acquaint themselves with all the emerging and current trends related to field inspections, understand closely the requirements of each designated inspection or audit and prepare a solid plan to execute the tasks armed with all the right tools like inspection forms and guidelines.
Besides, the ever-changing regulations and requirements put increasing pressure on field inspectors to keep themselves updated with the latest developments. Referring to field service journals, websites of field inspection companies and online forums do help field inspectors acquire valuable knowledge on the best practices currently employed across the industry.
Innovation in service delivery starts with optimizing processes and modernizing workflows in some of the critical tasks involved in field service such as inspections. In inspections and audits, data forms the underlying element. Gathering accurate data from the field is absolutely necessary to derive favorable outcomes. However, the means by which this data gets procured is undergoing a shift, thanks to the intervention of technology. Now, paper forms are increasingly replaced by digital forms accessible on mobile, which brings greater convenience, accuracy, and quality to the data collection process.
Mobile forms allow field inspectors to easily customize it with fields, checklists, questionnaires, and surveys based on the industry they offer service. For instance, an HVAC servicing firm can customize their own set of mobile forms to deal with inspections in both commercial and residential properties. The ability to accurately procure data is yet another defining trademark of mobile forms as it reduces manual entry, thus paving the way for fewer chances of errors.
Besides, new and emerging technologies like IoT promises a larger scope as it can unveil new types of data and bring automation, which was previously impossible. For instance, industries like HVAC can benefit immensely by deploying an array of IoT sensors abroad crucial equipment. At the other end, field inspection services can easily monitor the steady stream of data procured from these sensor units, which presents a clear picture of their functional levels to detect any malfunctions.
Like IoT, field inspectors should also be wary of other equally valuable technologies like GPS. Route optimization being a crucial component of effective and timely service delivery can achieve a significant boost by incorporating GPS technologies to accurately pinpoint customer locations and guide field techs towards the same. In the coming decade, we can see more of other technologies like smart wearables and augmented reality making their entrance into field inspections to bring about new ways to inspect, diagnose and rectify issues.
In addition, processing all these gathered data is equally important. Uploading this procured data into cloud-based systems allows for anywhere access and makes it visible to other stakeholders that help make informed decisions for sprucing up the efficiency of service delivery.
Related Reading: 5 ways to improve customer satisfaction in field services with predictive analytics
Garnering deeper insights on routine field service is possible now due to the advent of data on a huge scale. When leveraged properly, data can be the game-changer in bringing highly efficient delivery of services in a consistent manner. There are all manner of data now available to field inspectors and utilizing them to its fullest brings about a measurable change in service delivery.
Data from all the components of field service delivery, if utilized to its fullest can aid field inspectors to get a clear understanding of the larger picture involved. Leveraging insights give a concrete understanding of the sole business practices allowing field inspectors to fulfill assigned tasks in the most efficient manner and within the stipulated deadlines. It’s akin to the preventive maintenance strategies incorporated by service industries operating in domains like HVAC, telecom, etc.
For instance, the degree of functionality of cell towers across a designated service area. Cell towers need to be constantly maintained over time to maintain their optimal function and deliver uninterrupted service to the end customers. Inspectors should run diagnostics across critical equipment in towers to make sure that they are prone to lesser chances of downtime. Adopting a preventive mindset does facilitate a wider awareness of the problem that helps in proactively addressing them beforehand.
Having a close understanding of the stakes involved in the larger picture offers a string of benefits to field inspectors. This is more visible in areas that deal with statutory compliance, which must be strictly followed up during inspections with a definitive “yes” or “no”.
At times, field inspectors can come across unfavorable situations that mar the quality of work that they do on a daily basis. In some instances of fieldwork especially for certain industries, compromising safety and hygiene while conducting a process forces the field inspector to mark it as “unsatisfactory” and request to redo the task. Diverting attention to such details is downright important even though the new method may bring about several benefits in the long run.
Informing and engaging with the stakeholders involved forms a crucial part alongside the various means to identify such unfavorable conditions in the work. Proper communications thus remain vital to clearly pass on the information and assist the customers with the required countermeasures to resolve the situation.
Teamwork forms the basis of successful field service. To achieve that, service firms should invest in means to enhance the collaboration levels between the workforce and the back office to deal with any unforeseen situations or complex cases that may come across. A workforce built around collaboration can better work together in resolving even the most complicated of tasks within the predefined time-frames, much to the satisfaction of the customer.
As field service firms catering to diverse industries are built around a highly mobile workforce, bringing in the means to broaden collaboration does prove to be a valuable asset in speeding up service delivery and mitigation of issues. Using a single platform to centralize all communications brings together every stakeholder involved from the field techs to inspectors and service managers to constantly remain connected and collaborate across multiple tasks over the course of the day in the most effective and timely manner.
The ever-growing challenges cropping up in field service are forcing service firms to look for solutions that address their problems well. Relying on mobile solutions like an inspection app can streamline the entire workflows involved in routine field inspections or audits. Getting hands-on a field inspection solution simplifies tasks involved in assessing, recording, cross-checking on checklists and other areas of regular inspections to save time and effort.
One area where a field inspection app can really benefit inspectors is to get rid of paperwork clutter and replace it with portable digital versions that they can access anywhere using a mobile device. Such smart forms bring in numerous additional advantages in the form of auto-populating information across checklists and questionnaires, which saves time and ensures accuracy as well as automatically generates compliance and audit reports using the data gathered from the field.
Besides, with a field inspection app, inspection service companies are really investing in a productivity tool as it opens up new levels of collaboration that were never possible before. It connects the field workforce together letting them collaborate on routine tasks in case any complexities are involved and wrap up the tasks within the predefined schedules.
An inspection encompasses the entire array of field service from proactively managing customers to automating data collections and simplify assets management. All these significantly raise the quality of service delivery, which paves the way for increasing customer satisfaction and thus invariably contributing to the success of field inspection companies.
With our expertise spanning several projects, cutting across major industries, be it retail, telecom, or any other domain, where we have automated many complex and knotty situations, we are best poised to offer cutting edge field inspection software and solutions, customized specifically to your unique requirements. Partnering with us is guaranteed to measurably boost the efficiency and productivity of your field inspection interventions.
Related Reading: 2020 Action Plan to Upgrade Your Field Service Business
Aarathy is a Senior Digital Marketing Analyst at ReachOut Suite. She is majorly into content marketing and focuses on getting the messaging right across a host of marketing collaterals. While not working on content, you can find her juggling SEO, social media, branding and more. She enjoys exploring new frontiers in digital marketing and the associated challenges keep her going.
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