The risks associated with maintaining the status quo during economic uncertainty are clear. Keeping risk in check is key to surviving the downturns. However, myriad ways exist to confront the economic difficulties to increase field service capabilities.
One way to challenge the status quo in times of uncertainty is to keep on point with emerging trends. For example, the shift toward remote work accelerated after a long pandemic and significant new trends became apparent. These trends emphasized how functionality needs to be commoditized. In addition, the acceleration of new consumption-based methods, such as technology as a service, must be considered more intently.
As we dive into 2023, it’s crucial to think about new ways to improve capabilities in the face of economic challenges. For example, by discussing recent trends, testing old ideas, and challenging the status quo. It’s crucial to ensure your business is thinking of new ways to understand this shifting and complicated economic environment. Functionality and acceleration require new ways of understanding risks and challenges in this new economy. Your business needs a different way to evaluate where to find additional revenue without cutting corners.
Thinking outside the box during times of uncertainty is one of the biggest challenges top field service managements must take on when finding these new opportunities for growing revenue and avoiding unnecessary or unexpected risks.
What Must Be True for Field Service Organizations to Challenge the Status Quo
Two strategically important things are cutting costs while continuing to be a low-cost provider and managing expectations while finding new ways to increase revenue. Focusing on the issues will mean management must choose between mutually exclusive options.
When assessing options, such as what to do regarding the status quo, the field service management team should not only focus on issues or lack of complex data. Instead, leadership should think about what must be the case in each possible, known scenario. Evaluating these scenarios is part of strategic thinking.
Of course, there is risk in any new way of thinking regarding business responses. Questioning assumptions and prior ways of dealing with scenarios helps management think outside the box. Management can downsize risk by knowing the latest trends, untapped market potential, and strategic ways to cut and find revenue. Executives should evaluate the status quo through two scenarios to determine risk and reduce compromising future growth and revenue.
Where to Cut Costs? Two Scenarios
To reduce risk, exploring options is helpful when clear data hasn’t emerged. Of course, the first order of business is to reduce cost per incident scenarios. This means working more with the same resources, which risks burnout. However, a second option is to enable field service technicians to resolve issues before they dispatch.
Regarding the status quo, field service teams can manage risk by knowing if work content is the same across all cases. In addition, they can lower risk only when the supports have accurate case triage, creation, and assignment. Finally, teams can also see risk through the lens of whether they can provide customers with timely access for troubleshooting.
Allowing field service techs to attempt remote resolve is also a way to determine and minimize risk. This assumes that management allows technicians to work remotely on equipment issues. Organizations must understand which scenario makes the most sense. Also, it is critical to know if the inventory is consolidated, whether customers will accept longer response time and increased returns, and contractual issues regarding missed service commitments.
Further, field service organizations should expand advanced exchange and remanufacturing to reduce new buying commitments. However, only if the company can manage the workflow and parts are designed for remanufacturing. Considerations like these help reduce risks when the outcomes are unknown, or data is unavailable. Risk is mitigated by having more capabilities, whatever the scenario.
Educate, Assess, Prescribe, Align: Successfully Navigating Change
Confidence is essential to inspire your corporate endeavors and field service technicians. Navigating change takes agile, innovative thinking. Educating your workforce is critical to optimizing a new technology-based business model. Risk is also mitigated by assessing your company’s technology against peers, and providing key takeaways on initiative and performance. Finally, aligning stakeholders is critical to leverage all known facts and frameworks in making crucial business decisions.
However, the biggest risk of all is not doing anything to look for new ways to cut costs and generate new revenue. Continue to assess scenarios, debate in-house, and challenge the status quo. Opening up to new solutions is critical for cutting risk.
Vele Galvoski, The State of Field Services 2023, TSIA.