There’s More to Field Service ROI Than Technician Performance

Field service as an industry is on fire. With a projected growth rate of 16.5 percent annually until 2022, organizations that provide field-based services, as well as organizations with field services teams, can expect to see more demand for the benefit that the function provides. Hiring in field service is increasing, and more manufacturing and distribution companies are not only investing in field service but also discovering how valuable it can be as a profit center.

But what do you think about when you hear “field service?” Do you think about a well organized, highly trained, and fully efficient team of technicians visiting customer sites in polished fleet vehicles to engineer, install, repair, or maintain various types of manufacturing equipment? It’s ideal, but the reality is that field service teams often suffer from just as much inefficiency as other departments and functions. 

This plays a large role in understanding overall field service ROI, but while we can’t assist you in training field service techs on customer service and efficiency, we can help you understand another aspect of field service that’s just as important: hardware.

In the field service industry, people are only half of the equation. They’re an important part (it is called service, after all), but a field service installer, repairperson, or maintenance tech can’t do their job without certain hardware. For an individual, this most often includes a mobile device (perhaps equipped with various applications for time tracking, ERP/CRM updates, invoicing, etc.), a tablet for allowing customers to authorize estimates or work orders, or some variation of a scanner depending on the industry and what the field service role is.

There’s more hardware involved than what the technicians use, too. Smart organizations utilize fleet telematics to understand vehicle performance, gas usage, mileage, location data, and more. This factors heavily into calculating field service ROI as fleets are costly to maintain. However, both technician-used hardware and fleet hardware are critical to gaining a true understanding of field service ROI. Their performance, coupled with technician performance, gives you powerful insight into whether your field service program is becoming the profit center that it can be — or if it’s just a cost center.

Inevitably, the hardware your organization uses in the field will age, need repair, or outright need to be replaced. When devices start to break down, what happens? Field service techs can’t do their jobs, leaving your customers high and dry until a new device can be obtained (which can be costly). All the while, your service backlog is filling up and customers are becoming more and more frustrated with the lack of results. Pressure mounts across the board, and you could even start to lose relationships to competitors that have a more well-oiled field service solution.

Also keep in mind that while hardware depreciates and ages, so too does its OS. Software updates will be needed to keep the hardware operational and efficient. While these updates may not necessarily have a cost, they will cost your organization in device downtime. 

Whether it’s due to exorbitant costs from repairs and replacements, or from struggling to keep your hardware’s OS up-to-date, your field service ROI will eventually become negligible. We’re sure you’ll agree that this is not an acceptable option. 

Make Hardware Prove Its ROI From the Start

The success of your field service team relies on hardware that performs well and is available at all times. Purchasing hardware for a field service team can be a significant investment, and ultimately, it will only need to be replaced — another significant cost. And if those devices need to be repaired or replaced prior to the end of their expected lifecycle, your organization’s investment will only increase. 

Rather than continually make these capital investments that only depreciate with time and diminish your cash position, protect your field service ROI with Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS). As with other “as-a-service” models, HaaS eliminates the need for your organization to constantly purchase hardware that’s expensive, depreciates, and results in additional costs due to unforeseen repairs or losses. You simply make a monthly payment for your hardware.

With HaaS, hardware included in your contract is swapped out on a more frequent basis — typically every three years. This not only ensures that the devices you’re using retain their reliability, but they also keep your field service team more productive since downtime isn’t as frequent. The devices are newer, the OS is newer, and more work can be accomplished.

Perhaps the most immediate benefit in using HaaS is capital preservation. Because there’s no heavy cash outlay, your organization retains significant resources and instead enjoys a simple monthly payment. This also helps you demonstrate a positive field service ROI faster because your initial investment is lower and doesn’t require a long time to recoup. And in the end, this leads to greater profitability from field service in that your costs are lower and you can realize more gain from your field service revenue.

Ready to Strengthen Your Field Service ROI?

A successful field service program starts with strong hardware. At River Capital, we’ve been helping companies make more cost-effective use of enterprise hardware for years. We’ll work closely with you to understand your goals, build a program around them, and provide the services and support bundled in to ensure you remain operational. Contact us today to learn more and to take the first step toward better field service ROI.