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Metrics. We are all familiar with theories that people buy into, because they are compelling, believable, and supported with hard facts.  But then, people often struggle to apply the theory into their business lives.  This essentially sums up the view on performance metrics. GE Capital states:

“The best metrics are those that communicate to senior management whether the company is progressing toward stated goals or is stuck in a holding pattern.”

When it comes to field service organizations, metrics, or key performance indicators (KPIs), can help discover where there are weaknesses and inefficiencies in processes related to the field.  They can also help managers determine if their field service management software is working towards their benefit. In order to be effective however, these KPIs need to not only measure the right things, but also change and adapt with the organization..

Field Service News published an article last week called “Mind the Metrics! The increasing importance of analytics in field servicethat discusses some of the UK/EMEA survey findings in independent analyst firm Strategies for Growth’s2014 Field Service Management Benchmark Survey.

The survey found that in 2014, the top KPI’s that European (UK/EMEA) Field Service Organizations (FSOs) are measuring are:

  • 78% Customer Satisfaction
  • 75% Total Service Revenue/Turnover
  • 68% Total Service Cost
  • 53% Field Technician Utilisation (i.e., time spent performing repairs ÷ total hours)
  • 53% Percent of Total Service Revenue under Service Level Agreement (SLA)
  • 51% Service Revenue, as a Percent of Total Company Revenues
  • 51% Service Revenue, per Field Technician

This is after survey respondents stated that their number one strategic action for 2014.

(64%) was “developing/improving the metrics, or KPIs, used to measure Field Service Performance.”

What do these survey results mean? European field service organizations are recognizing the need for improved metrics to help them drive a more profitable, effective, and efficient field service operation.

They are looking more at the bottom line and at their field service operations’ potential as a profit center than they are at specific, individual key performance indicators like time on-site, first-time fix, etc.  These metrics are still important, but they are reflected in other measurements like customer satisfaction and service cost, giving FSO’s a better overall understanding of how their field service division is operating.

If this is your organization’s priority for the end of 2014, or for 2015 planning, we have some tips for you to help you get the most out of your metrics, 100% of the time:

  • Make sure your Enterprise Service Management software is easily configurable to allow you to track the metrics that work for your organization
  • Make sure the right data is being analyzed and applied to the right indicators/metrics (this often involves solid integrations between your business intelligence tool and your other data systems)
  • Align your KPIs with company-wide metrics such as your organizations annual growth, profit margin, and other goals
  • Collaborate – make sure that the KPIs managers with first hand access and experience in the field want to measure are aligned with the higher ups.
  • Don’t forget the importance of real-time KPIs – they will help you single out exceptions and issues that will affect the metrics later such as:
    • Overdue PM’s
    • Late appointments
    • Open versus closed calls
    • Calls on part hold

Our business intelligence is only as good at the tools used to collect it and what we do with it, and KPIs are no difference.  Clearly, field service organizations still struggle to hone their processes and the KPIs to match.  In that same European study, Strategies for Growth published that:

  • 32% of FSOs are not attaining at least 80% Customer Satisfaction (UK/EMEA average is 82% Customer Satisfaction)
  • 28% of FSOs are not attaining at least 80% SLA Compliance (UK/EMEA average is 81% SLA Compliance)
  •  26% of FSOs are not achieving at least 20% services profitability (UK/EMEA average is 35% Services Profitability)

As you plan for 2015, think about evaluating your KPIs.  It might also be a good time to reach out to your field service management vendor to see how you can tune up your processes to get the most out of your tools and analytics.


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