How do you like your local weather person? Do you trust the information you get before you head to the office in the morning? If you’re like me, you might check three or four sources of information before you leave for the day. This is partially because I live in Boston and the weather can turn on a dime.
This type of data skepticism has seeped into much of our business life. How often have you double and triple checked a data point that you received? Do you feel reticent to make a decision because you just don’t trust the information you have at the time?
The importance of having timely and accurate data has become even more critical to business as the volume of information available continues to increase. As seen in Aberdeen’s recent research on Service Parts Management, data is one of the top challenges facing organizations. The challenges with data is it is often only historical, demand fluctuates with no pattern, and organizations are unable to capture enough quality data to make decisions. However, the impact of having quality parts data extends beyond just the warehouse or the inventory team. The top reason for a secondary field service visit as seen in Aberdeen’s Field Service research is a technician not having the right part when they get on site. The cost of a secondary or tertiary field service visit is well above just the cost for that additional truck roll. Customers are no longer willing to accept lackluster service as competition has increased the number of organizations willing and able to deliver exceptional service in a timely manner. In order to improve the ability to meet customer needs and resolve service issues more efficiently, top performing organizations have looked to collecting and making available service parts information to better inform management and the service team of the real-time needs in the field. A few best practices have helped the Best-in-Class outperform their peers in regard to turning data into quality intelligence which can be used to solve customer problems:
– Link service parts data with forecasts of future service demand. In a perfect world, information would remain constant and once we learned a “fact” it wouldn’t change. However, the service world is not perfect and changes occur all the time to product configurations, part revisions, and procedures. For this reason, it is important that organizations take parts data captured in the field and ensure it can be analyzed and incorporated into future forecasts for the demand on parts. More than three-fourths of the Best-in-Class (77%) sampled in Aberdeen’s Service Parts research use this valuable data to readjust forecasts to keep up with future demand as compared to only half of all others (52%).
– Make parts data available to the field. Top performing organizations are 50% more likely than all others (51% vs. 34%) to ensure field service teams have access to parts inventories, giving them the visibility into what is available for that next job. Service parts don’t only reside in the warehouse, therefore techs need to have the ability to draw on parts throughout the service network (i.e., other tech truck stock, customer site) in order to speed the time to service issue resolution.
– Incent good behaviors from the field. Techs want to be experts as they are often in front of customers who have a problem and want it to be fixed the first time. For this reason, often times technicians will keep excess parts in their trucks for the off chance they will need that part down the road. This behavior has a ripple effect down the entire service chain. In order to correct this behavior, technicians need to have confidence that they will have the right parts for that next job, every time. Top performing organizations ensure that technicians have up to date information on the tools or parts necessary for jobs before they get on site.
The link between accurate parts information and field service execution cannot be overstated. Even the most well intentioned technician will have a difficult time solving an issue if they do not have the right part when they get on site. The dynamic nature of service heightens the importance of having up to date information at the fingertips of each technician.