The 10 most common workflow pitfalls

We look at the crucial role workflows play in business process management and uncover the factors impacting on their effectiveness.

The inefficiency creep

Service managers responsible for the sequence of operations know as field service workflows, will know that despite their best efforts, inefficiencies inevitably creep in.  It’s easy to understand how this happens: a single, relatively straight-forward process will have at least 20 steps, all of which have various factors which could disable, or at least, hinder the remaining workflow.  When you multiply these scenarios by the number of workflows you have in your organisation, the complex situation becomes very clear.

Due to this intricacy, workflow complications frequently occur. The list of scenarios is vast but these are the 10 most common issues that we help our customers overcome.

  1. Ineffective job diagnosis
    Inaccurate or incomplete diagnosis can restrict an engineer’s ability to complete a job and damage the customer experience. The costs of which quickly accumulate.
  2. Inaccurate/incomplete job data
    If an engineer arrives at a job but cannot access the job history, their task of resolving the issue is made that much more difficult.
  3. Misaligned schedules
    Inefficient field service scheduling can be very costly. The most common issue is allocating an engineer who doesn’t have the skillset or parts necessary to complete the job.
  4. Wasted or prolonged visits
    The number one reason why customers are unhappy with service is because the technician did not resolve the issue.
  5. Inaccurate demand forecasts
    Navigating the complex equation of providing the service customers desire whilst delivering it in the most cost effective way is extremely difficult.
  6. Inability to reschedule
    Rescheduling is an inevitable requirement but a delay in learning about this requirement loses valuable time and can quickly eat into profit margins.
  7. Communication failures
    Communication is always a challenge. From job scheduling to the sharing of information internally, there is a long chain of events which must remain fluid.
  8. Fluctuating stock levels
    To maintain a healthy cashflow it is important not to tie up cash unnecessarily in stock, but not enough stock will inhibit the workforce from completing jobs quickly.
  9. Lost work orders and invoices
    A concerning issue but one that is surprisingly common. An engineer completes a job but there is a delay in informing head office of the details. As a result, they are unable to invoice.
  10. No audit trail
    Whether meeting compliance regulations or reviewing performance, a lack of historical data can severely hamper the success of a service organisation.

Many of these issues are unavoidable, such as staff sickness or customer cancellations, but others should not happen in the first place, particularly when we operate in such an information-rich world.

However the scenarios occur, you need solutions at hand to either prevent the problem from occurring, or to minimise the impact the issue has on the organisation when it does happen. Otherwise the costs quickly mount, both financially and reputationally.

Download our white paper to discover strategies for handling complex workflow issues such as these, together with how to identify the specific workflow pitfalls affecting your organisation. The whitepaper is free and can be downloaded here: Avoiding the common workflow pitfalls in field service.

Find out more about Oneserve’s workflow solution here.