During the COVID-19 lockdown a significant number of businesses have faced the complicated challenge of keeping a proportion of their business open. For many in sectors such as housing maintenance, telecoms and utilities, work has continued but at a lesser, and often harder to predict, degree.
Many of our client-partners have had to make the difficult decision of if, and how, their field based teams will continue to work during these testing times. How many of their team members will be required to carry out the reduced workload? Is furlough an option? How can they ensure the safety of all those on the coal-face? The questions are endless which is why at Oneserve we continue to guide our client-partners on how our field service management software can assist and support their key workers.
5 recommendations for managing emergency works effectively
1. The safety of workers
For field based teams that are still needing to go into homes and properties to carry out emergency works, their safety has taken on even higher importance. There are two ways in which Oneserve has been supporting our client-partners in achieving this. The first is by carrying out thorough job diagnosis at the very beginning. By recording detailed information about the emergency job in Oneserve, the operative that goes out to carry out the work has a complete understanding of what will be required. This foresight often enables them to complete the job faster. Our client-partners also have an in-built forms and surveys feature in which they can create their own bespoke surveys that operatives complete on their mobile device. Many of our customers have created detailed risk assessments to not only help ensure it is safe to enter a property, but to also record the answers in a central place for a clear audit trail.
2. Effective Communication
Maintaining effective communication is crucial with all of those impacted. From the team members completing emergency works, to the administration team keeping this skeletal crew working, to the employees on furlough, to the clients and end users; you have a broad network that each need to understand not just your position in this unusual situation, but also what is expected of them. Information needs to pass effectively between everyone, with no gaps or failures.
For our clients, they use our field service management software to keep up-to-date CRM information (which includes the level of vulnerability of people during the pandemic), live job updates to monitor progress, reports and dashboards to monitor and provide KPI reports and direct communication channels with the end user, such as text messages or letters. Our recommendation is, if in doubt, communicate and then communicate again.
3. Efficient working
If your business is still operating during lockdown you will have needed to make big adjustments to your way of working, but that doesn’t mean efficiency needs to take a hit. We continuously support our client-partners to work to optimum efficiency because they can adjust their workflows themselves within the software to accommodate changes and to ensure that every process operates as efficiently as possible. This ability to adjust is absolutely critical in the current situation. So too is complete visibility across all of your service delivery, whether that is an operative having site of each job they need to complete or the office team looking at job completions and performance metrics. Quick access to this essential data means that further efficiencies can be realised quickly.
4. Rescheduling planned works
It’s likely that since lockdown came into effect a large amount of your workload will have been paused, meaning any planned works will need to be rescheduled as the restrictions are lifted. We have been encouraging our clients to stay ahead of the game and start rescheduling appointments now, so not to risk any missed or lost jobs. Our clients have been using the scheduling functionality to simply push appointments back to a date that engineers will more likely be able to safely enter the home. As guidelines change it will then be easy to keep on top of all appointments and update the schedules accordingly, keeping the customer up to date throughout the whole process.
5. Manage stock effectively
One of the biggest challenges for workforces who are required to continue operating during lockdown is managing stock. Many suppliers have temporarily closed and those that remain open have put safety measures in place, such as dedicated collection times, to reduce the number of people within the facility. To ensure stock is managed effectively and to reduce the risk for their mobile workforce, our clients have been using the stock management feature to keep track of the available stock. As each part is used, the operatives can request a new part and stock can be replenished in a controlled way that reduces unnecessary, and often lengthy, trips to the suppliers.
Many field based teams are required to continue with emergency home visits during lockdown and this can be manageable providing the correct risk assessments and safety measures have been put in place. Workforce efficiency does not need to fall during this time, if you have a team of key workers who would benefit from a job management solution, please take a look at the features our software can offer.