The Ascent Field Service Blog

Field Service Tips and Information

Ascent Business Systems, Inc. is a leading provider of mobile software for the field service industry with over 25 years of experience helping small to medium sized businesses overcome operational inefficiencies. Ascent is currently in use by a wide range of businesses with revenues of $250,000 to $500,000,000 comprised of a multitude of service providers within the Trade, Technology and Capital Equipment industries. Ascent now services clients in every major service vertical and metro area in North America.

The Service Glossary: First Time Part Fill Rate

Christopher Esselborn - Wednesday, September 02, 2015

The Field Service Glossary

Earlier in this series, we covered First Time Fix Rate, one of the leading metrics in the service industry. Today, we are reviewing First Time Part Fill Rate, a number which provides greater insight into the impact your inventory management has on your ability to complete the job.


Week 8: First Time Part Fill Rate, Do your technicians have the right parts to get the job done? 


How to Calculate:  Add the total number of service calls for a given period (month) with parts transactions that did not require a return or repeat trip to complete. Divide that number by the total number of calls with parts transactions for the same time period to better understand what percentage of your service calls with parts transactions are completed in the first trip. Factors that affect First Time Part Fill Rate include improper truck and/or main office inventory stocking. After an understanding is gained into the First Time Fix rate, look for part usage patterns in your 'return/repeat' calls. 


Ascent Business Systems is a Sage 100 Development Partner with over 25 years experience developing service management solutions designed to work seamlessly with Sage accounting solutions. The Ascent product line provides clients with a wide range of world class service management tools, superb reporting capability and scalability for growing businesses. These products include AS Office for the back office, AS Mobile and AS Cloud for your customers and workforce.

The Service Glossary: Technician Efficiency

Christopher Esselborn - Monday, August 17, 2015

 

    The Field Service Glossary

    This week in the Service Glossary, we want to reacquaint you with the value of your technician staff and how their collaboration with members of the back office impacts your bottom line. We are comparing estimated time with actual time to calculate your Technician Efficiency.


    Week 7: Technician Efficiency


    How to Calculate: Collect the actual and estimated time spent on service calls for a technician and then divide the estimated time by the actual time. The resulting variance will help you understand the true value of a job. For example, a job with an estimated time of 1 hour that is actually completed in 2 hours will yield a variance of .5 or 50%.  This demonstrates that the estimated value was only 50% of the actual charge for the job--inconsistencies as large as this one can throw off scheduling and affect customer relations.  Factors that influence Technician Efficiency include: the accuracy of customer service request detail, service logistics, parts management and technician competence.

     


    Ascent Business Systems is a Sage Development Partner with over 25 years experience developing service management solutions designed to work seamlessly with Sage accounting solutions. The Ascent product line provides clients with a wide range of world class service management tools, superb reporting capability and scalability for growing businesses. These products include AS Office for the back office, AS Mobile and AS Cloud for your customers and workforce.

Windows 10, Is it Sage 100 Compatible?

Christopher Esselborn - Monday, July 27, 2015

     

      Windows 10


      In less than a day, Microsoft is set to release their latest operating system release, Microsoft Windows 10.  The new version is a hybrid of legacy and Windows 8 features and is being advertised as Free for Windows 7 and Windows 8 users, but before investing in a Windows 10 operating system or new computers with Windows 10, you should consider the following.


      •    • Sage has not yet tested the Windows 10 software so we are unable to determine Sage 100’s compatibility with Microsoft's new OS.

      •    • Sage will officially certify the product, but this usually occurs after the product has had some time with the general public so that any ‘buggy’ issues are ironed out.

      •    • Older versions of AutomatedService (prior to v.2014) will not be compatible with Windows 10


      We advise, in the meantime, that all users continue to use Windows 7 or 8 and to also stay tuned. Ascent Business Systems will keep you updated on the compatibility of Sage 100 with Windows 10. Its simple, either visit our news web page or continue to follow this blog.


      Ascent Business Systems is a Sage Development Partner with over 25 years experience developing service management solutions designed to work seamlessly with Sage accounting solutions. The Ascent product line provides clients with a wide range of world class service management tools, superb reporting capability and scalability for growing businesses. These products include AS Office for the back office, AS Mobile and the AS Cloud for your customers and workforce. It is recommended that you continue using Windows 7 and Windows 8 until Sage officially certifies the product.

The Service Glossary: Number of Touches/Closure

Christopher Esselborn - Tuesday, June 30, 2015

 

    The Field Service Glossary

     

    This week we are highlighting another important KPI for the back office. When you take the time to learn how to calculate and interpret the number of touches/closure per call in your business, you are enabling your company to overcome operational deficiencies and to also speed up routine processes.


    Week 6: Number of Touches/Closure


    How to Calculate: Collect the number of employees who interact with the service call-from the initial phone call-through completion. It is also extremely important to take note of the number of times each employee engages with a service call. A simple chart is helpful in visualizing the process so that you can more easily identify and eliminate repetitive processes.

     

    If Call has no problems:

    Call Received 

    Work order processed 

    Work Scheduled 

    Customer called to schedule

    Technician scheduled

    Technician Called

    Job Performed 

    Paperwork Submitted 

     

     

     

    Mindy

    Harry

    Harry

    Mindy

    Harry

    Mindy

    Technician

    Technician

     

     

    If Call has issues:

    Customer reschedule

    Tech reschedule

    Technician called

    Job needs parts

    Pick-up parts

    Incorrect parts

    Parts need ordering

    Pick-up new parts

    Job Performed 

    Paperwork Submitted

     

    Mindy

    Harry

    Mindy

    Wiseman's Son

    Technician

    Technician

    Wiseman's Son

    Technician

    Technician

    Mindy


    Use the visualization to help you identify and eliminate the repetitive processes. 


    Quick Tip: Establish procedures to enhance you workflow. By automating your manual processes, you can greatly reduce the amount of time required to gather documentation (ie installed equipment, whether covered under maintenance agreement/warranty, priority level, service address and A/R records)


    Ascent Business Systems is a Sage Development Partner with over 25 years experience developing service management solutions designed to work seamlessly with Sage accounting solutions. The Ascent product line provides clients with a wide range of world class service management tools, superb reporting capability and scalability for growing businesses. These products include AS Office for the back office, AS Mobile and the AS Cloud for your customers and workforce.

4 Tips for a High Performance Workforce

Christopher Esselborn - Friday, June 19, 2015

Field Service Workforce

Management is constantly faced with the need of understanding how to process, manage and analyze business results.

 

Last year, the average employee turnover rate in the service industry was 15.1%. That means it’s likely that you saw some of your staff go as you welcomed the new additions. But what happens if one of those key employees had the role of managing your operations or internal business systems?

 

Do you have operating procedures and training content in place to quickly get your new manager trained and productive? Or are you going to rely on “on the job training” to fill the knowledge gaps? If you choose the latter you are setting you and your new hire up for failure! You may be thinking, my new hire came from a company just like ours so they should know how we operate. With the best intentions this is a false expectation for the new hire; no two service companies operate the same way. Even though the new hire came from a company that sold and serviced the same products, their operational and information system experience will be totally unique to the culture, business systems and practices of their prior employer(s).

 

What impact is there for the business that does not have a sound new hire training program; especially for new hires in strategic roles? Because this tends to impact the service enterprise most greatly, let’s focus on the business system side. The new hire manager has basically three options:

 

  1. 1. Roll up their sleeves and try to figure out how everything works (while trying to handle all the operational needs)

  2. 2. Gain system knowledge from others (typically this only provides marginal information from others who were also never properly trained)

  3. 3. Start making requests to replace your current business system for a “newer – better” system. Beware, once you start down this path you become a sales person's dream for the new solution provider. They will very convincingly uncover every pain your organization has and tell you everything you want to hear to sell you their “newer-better (very expensive)” business solution. Remember where this all started, the need for training. An investment in a new system is a very expensive way to get your people trained!

The following are some suggestions on how to support the training needs of your organization:

 

  • • Start building your user operating procedures manual
  • It’s not critical that you get it finished immediately. Prioritize by department and then by position. Use simple tools like Microsoft Word and screen captures to build the procedure guide. If you find you have knowledge gaps, “Why do we do this? I don’t know that’s how I was shown” find the right person who knows.


  • • Start building your operations workflow procedure manual
  • Work flow is different than user procedures. Workflow provides a visual interpretation of how goods and services flow through the organization. Since we’re focused on service enterprises, there are typically many different workflows: new sales, break-fix service, depot service, warranty service, service contract management, preventive maintenance, etc. Laying out an effective workflow guide in front of your new hire will assist them in understanding how business flows through the company and who performs which functions. Providing examples of management reports is important. A good tool for this is Microsoft Visio.


  • • Leverage your business software provider for assistance
  • Too often this resource is overlooked. Communicate with your current provider since software providers have many years of experience deploying and supporting their solutions. Utilize their expertise to assist you in planning, manual content creation and filling informational knowledge gaps.


  • • Make your user and workflow training an integral part of your new hire process
  • Setup a training plan for all new hires. Provide them with a check list to sign off on once training has been completed. This will make it easier to make trainees accountable for their training knowledge.


While new employees should always strive to quickly become valuable assets to their new companies, it should never be done without proper training and training resources. By making this initial investment you will empower your new hire with the knowledge to be as successful as possible!


Ascent Business Systems is a Sage Development Partner with over 25 years experience developing service management solutions designed to work seamlessly with Sage accounting solutions. The Ascent product line provides clients with a wide range of world class service management tools, superb reporting capability and scalability for growing businesses. These products include AS Office for the back office, AS Mobile and the AS Cloud for your customers and workforce.

The Service Glossary: Windshield Time

Christopher Esselborn - Thursday, June 18, 2015

 

    The Field Service Glossary

     

    Key performance Indicators are measurements that evaluate how effectively an organization is achieving a particular activity or business objective. For our fifth installment, we discuss Windshield Time, a sometimes overlooked metric that can have a big impact on your bottom line.


    Week 5: Windshield Time


    How to Calculate: Collect the count for the number of travel time during a specific time period and divide that number by the total number of work orders within the same period to better understand your logistical efficiency. Service logistics greatly influence Windshield Time and can help reduce travel time when managed effectively.


    Quick Tip: Automation removes the next tech available versus the closest tech available mentality. By utilizing zones, dispatching and GPS you can greatly reduce travel time and give your company the ability to process more jobs.


    Ascent Business Systems is a Sage Development Partner with over 25 years experience developing service management solutions designed to work seamlessly with Sage accounting solutions. The Ascent product line provides clients with a wide range of world class service management tools, superb reporting capability and scalability for growing businesses. These products include AS Office for the back office, AS Mobile and the AS Cloud for your customers and workforce.

The Service Glossary: Average Time to Invoice

Christopher Esselborn - Wednesday, June 10, 2015

 

    The Field Service Glossary

     

    We have been focused on KPIs that demonstrate how your company performs during field operations, but this week, we’d like to highlight a KPI that is vital to your back office operations. By utilizing Average Time to Invoice, your company gains a greater understanding of how efficiently your service and office workforce perform in completing service call invoices.


    Week 4: Average Time to Invoice


    How to Calculate: Collect the count for each separate invoice.  For each invoice, collect the number of days passed to bill (invoice date) a service job, once it is received back from the technician (service job complete date). Summarize the number of total number of days between service jobs completion and invoice date, and then divide your total by the number of invoices in your sample batch.  Factors that affect Average Time to Invoice include: customer service; service administration; service logistics; service ticket transcription and the service close out processing.


    Quick Tip: Automation will increase productivity while decreasing the amount of time to collection. Be aware of common bottlenecks associated with manual processes like document verification-installed equipment, labor rates,etc-and deciphering handwritten tickets. All of these factor into and affect your cash flow.


    Ascent Business Systems is a Sage Development Partner with over 25 years experience developing service management solutions designed to work seamlessly with Sage accounting solutions. The Ascent product line provides clients with a wide range of world class service management tools, superb reporting capability and scalability for growing businesses. These products include AS Office for the back office, AS Mobile and the AS Cloud for your customers and workforce.

The Service Glossary: First Call Resolution Rate

Christopher Esselborn - Friday, June 05, 2015

 

    The Field Service Glossary

     

    In the last couple of KPI blogs, we familiarized you with basic metrics like number of service calls and average daily work orders. We've combined those two concepts this week to demonstrate a very important field metric, First Call Resolution Rate.


    Week 3: First Call Resolution Rate


    How to Calculate: Collect the count for the number of calls that do not require a return or repeat trip-for a given time period (month) -and divide that number by the total number of calls for the same period to better understand what percentage of your service calls are completed in the first trip. Factors that affect First Call Resolution: technician competence, operational performance and parts management.


    Quick Tip: When multiple trips to complete are required, the influencers to measure include: incorrect dispatch details, deficiency in parts stocking or technician’s technical skills.


    Ascent Business Systems is a Sage Development Partner with over 25 years experience developing service management solutions designed to work seamlessly with Sage accounting solutions. The Ascent product line provides clients with a wide range of world class service management tools, superb reporting capability and scalability for growing businesses. These products include AS Office for the back office, AS Mobile and AS Cloud for your customers and workforce.

The Service Glossary: Average Daily Work Orders Completed per Tech

Christopher Esselborn - Monday, April 20, 2015

 

    The Field Service Glossary

    This is the second installment in a series of short definitions for over 30 industry KPIs and how they are calculated. This particular KPI is very simple, but it is important to start with the basics. Over the upcoming weeks, the KPIs will become more complex, more meaningful and more beneficial.

     

    Key performance Indicators are measurements that evaluate how effectively an organization is achieving a particular activity or business objective. To select the right KPIs for your business, you need to know your business goals and you need to understand how to measure your progress toward them. 

     

    Week 2: Average Daily Work Orders Completed per Tech

     

    Definition: The total number of work orders closed by a technician per day.

     

    How to Calculate: Collect the count for each separate technician and divide their total by the number of days (weekly, monthly, quarterly) to better understand technician productivity. 

     

    Ascent Business Systems is a Sage Development Partner with over 25 years experience developing service management solutions designed to work seamlessly with Sage accounting solutions. The Ascent product line provides clients with a wide range of world class service management tools, superb reporting capability and scalability for growing businesses. These products include AS Office for the back office, AS Mobile and the AS Cloud for your customers and workforce.

The Service Glossary: Number of Service Calls

Christopher Esselborn - Tuesday, April 14, 2015

 

    The Field Service Glossary

     

     

    Key performance Indicators are measurements that evaluate how effectively an organization is achieving a particular activity or business objective. To select the right KPIs for your business, you need to know your business goals and you need to understand how to measure your progress toward them. This weekly installment will provide short definitions of over 30 service industry KPIs and how they are calculated.  Some of the first KPIs are very simple, but we feel that it is important to start with the basics.  As we move forward over the upcoming weeks ahead, the KPIs will become more meaningful and more beneficial.

     

    Week 1: Number of Service Calls

     

    Definition:  The total number of service calls by service call type or profit center. Types of service calls include to measure: new business, break-fix service, non-agreement covered; agreement covered; preventive maintenance; inspection; warranty calls; and other. 

     

    How to Calculate:  Collect the total count for each separate and applicable service. Subtotal service jobs by call type and period (Monthly, quarterly, annually) to better understand business cycles.

     

    Ascent Business Systems is a Sage Development Partner with over 25 years experience developing service management solutions designed to work seamlessly with Sage accounting solutions. The Ascent product line provides clients with a wide range of world class service management tools, superb reporting capability and scalability for growing businesses. These products include AS Office for the back office, AS Mobile and AS Cloud for your customers and workforce.


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    Ascent Business Systems, Inc. is a provider of enterprise automated service management software with a solution portfolio with office , mobile and cloud offerings.  With 27 years of experience solving operational business challenges, our offering of solutions and best practice business knowledge will provide you with a competitive edge, increased profitability and overall service enterprise productivity.

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