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Using SAP FSM to Combat COVID-19 Challenges

A Rundown of the Field Service Industry During COVID-19

2020 has presented countless challenges for the global workforce. Workers on the front lines have been the most affected by the COVID-19 global pandemic. On one end of the spectrum, we have hundreds of thousands of unemployed Americans, and on the other hand we have understaffed & overworked field service workers risking their lives to meet the essential needs of the public. Functioning businesses in the Field Service Industry, are under immense pressure to quickly adapt amid the rapidly changing climate. The consequences businesses face are steep if they resist adaptation: government-imposed fines, loss of revenue, and customer attrition

Even so, despite hardened attempts to adapt we are still witnessing businesses fold under the mounting pandemic pressure. One lesson this pandemic has taught us all–is to be prepared to adapt at any moment. Therefore, how can businesses in the Field Service Industry be prepared for such an event? The answer to that question comes in many forms, but one of the most important factors is reliable, supportive software that can adapt and scale alongside rapidly changing business needs. SAP Field Service Management (FSM) software helps to build customer and employee trust, provides technicians with specialized on-the-job support, and works to optimize processes despite constant change. Let’s examine how businesses can leverage SAP FSM during the COVID-19 pandemic to support their technicians and maintain customer satisfaction all while making safety as the number one priority. 

Daily Wellness Checks

The CDC recommends that businesses implement strict controls, one being to “encourage sick workers to report symptoms, stay home, and follow CDC guidance”. As a manual process, managing the health status of a team of Field Service Technicians would be a daunting task. With SAP FSM utilization, manual processes are replaced by Smartforms and Feedback. This application allows organizations to quickly create and employ checklists for the technician’s FSM mobile application.

To efficiently apply this technology, users can create and require technicians to complete a daily wellness checklist in the field. In this scenario, managers do not have to reach out to individual technicians to validate their health status, rather the application sends real-time feedback information directly to management for review. Catching COVID-19 symptoms at their earliest stage greatly reduces the spread of the virus to customers and fellow employees. Thereby keeping employees and customers safe from the potential dangers of COVID-19. 

Combat Shortages in Field Service Staff

As an industry that has already experienced a steep decline in workforce resources, COVID-19 has exacerbated the problem with increased employee sickness and mandatory quarantines for individuals exposed. In order to keep the workforce safe and healthy, the CDC recommends businesses encourage their employees to stay home when presenting any of the following health symptoms: cough, chills, fever, runny nose, headache, etc. While the CDC guidelines combat the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus, it also leaves businesses severely understaffed. This is where SAP FSM workforce management and planning & dispatching features come to the rescue. Dispatchers are able to plan and optimize routes so that technicians receive the most efficient combination of assignments. Additionally, the best matching technician feature is available to make intelligent suggestions to save the dispatcher and technician precious time. 

Improve fix rates

Each time a technician is dispatched to a customer location there is an associated COVID-19 risk. Even with proper PPE and social distancing, technicians are at risk of contracting the virus with each service call made. Regardless of the current pandemic situation, a major problem field service providers face is–high fix rates. This reference to fix rates describes the number of times a technician dispatches to resolve a single service call. Without a way to reserve tools and materials, technicians are prone to show up to a service call unprepared, thus creating the need for a follow-up call.

With SAP FSM dispatchers are able to assign tools and materials to the job. As a result, technicians arrive prepared to complete their work the first time around. Additionally, companies have the provision to support their technicians by providing job-specific materials through the FSM Mobile App. Without the right documentation, technicians cannot fully complete their work resulting in an avoidable follow-up call. Therefore, if we can reduce the number of times a technician dispatches to resolve a single service call, then we can greatly reduce the technician and customer’s risk of being exposed. 

You may find general COVID-19 guidance for employees and businesses on the official CDC website. For more specific guidance on how to resume business during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit the CDC Toolkit document. Still unsure how to leverage SAP FSM during the COVID-19 pandemic? ASAR America has a team of experienced, knowledgeable consultants who are available to discuss your specific business concerns. Let’s chat! Reach out to us!

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