Just about every service manager will tell you that finding (and retaining) productive technicians is far from easy these days. Qualified mechanics are in short supply across the country, and the wise among them are leveraging that scarcity to their advantage. Service technicians demand competitive wages, and as a result, whenever they sit idle, the rental companies that employ them lose out on significant revenue.
With all that established, it’s important to note that service work contributes a massive amount of revenue for many equipment rental companies around the world. While anecdotal, Wynne personnel have even been told by multiple equipment dealers that service work accounts for 50-60% of their annual revenue. In other words, the remarkable profitability of service work more than makes up for the costs and difficulties of keeping technicians on the payroll.
But by achieving greater productivity from their technicians every workday, rental companies stand to unlock even greater revenue. In this blog, we’ll be exploring a common field service inefficiency and how a Wynne solution can help rental companies overcome it.
Let’s momentarily put ourselves in the shoes of an ordinary field technician ready to get to work.
About half of the time, their day begins by commuting to their company’s nearest location. Upon arriving, they usually make some coffee and chit-chat with their co-workers as they wait for a dispatcher to assign them their jobs for the day. Depending on the efficiency of the dispatchers they are working with, this process often takes longer than anyone would like. Eventually, they receive a stack of paper work orders detailing their tasks before heading out.
The other half of the time, John/Jane Field Mechanic’s starts by taking a phone call with or receiving an email from one of their dispatchers. From these interactions, dispatchers learn where they need to go, what tools they need to bring, and what equipment they need to work on. While more time-efficient than having to drive to one of their company’s locations, this approach still consumes considerable amounts of time of both technicians and dispatchers.
Idle Time and Inefficiencies
In both of the scenarios detailed above, multiple inefficiencies prevented field technicians from reaching the level of productivity they could have achieved. When field technicians are forced to pick up paper work orders in-person, they miss out on valuable hours each week they could spend wrenching. Additionally, while phone calls and manually delivered emails might seem like a perfect way of communicating assignments on paper, such methods also inhibit field mechanics from reaching their full potential. Talking on the phone requires the active attention of both dispatchers and technicians, preventing them from working on other tasks. Emails, while not demanding of people’s concentration in real-time, still demand considerable attention from dispatchers that can quickly add up over a week.
What’s more the time sinks described above just have to do with technicians receiving their work orders. A multitude of other obstacles come into play once technicians actually reach a job site. Who do they need to talk to? Where within the job site is the equipment they need to work? How do they report status updates? If a field mechanic has any of these questions, left with no other option, they’re usually forced to call one of their dispatchers. And as explained, every avoidable phone call or manual email diminishes overall productivity.
So if the burden of manual communications is the problem preventing field technicians from achieving their maximum level of productivity, what’s the solution?
TechConnect, Wynne Systems’ field technician scheduling solution, is designed to streamline dispatcher-to-mechanic communications. Instead of having to pick up paper forms, answer the phone, or review an email that took a dispatcher minutes to write, TechConnect automatically notifies technicians when they are assigned a new task (via SMS text message or email).
This simple improvement can save dispatchers and technicians hours each week, especially for mechanics who previously had to pick up physical work orders in-person. With TechConnect, they can start their days productively at the job site instead of waiting idly. What’s more, the automatic notifications TechConnect sends include all of the information technicians might need, but are at risk of being forgotten by a dispatcher. Details like point of contact and precise asset locations ensure that technicians don’t need to wander around a job site before they can get to work.
Ultimately, the real value of all these efficiency gains is increased wrench time, which directly correlates to more work completed and greater revenue earned. Field technicians can command the wages that they do because their skill set is unique and their contributions to a rental company’s bottom line are immense. And with the right solutions and processes in place, rental companies can elevate their service revenue to even greater heights.