Why Field Service KPI’s Should Be Like Fit Tests

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This week I started the intense at home fitness program Insanity by Beachbody.  As part of the sixty-day program, you take fit tests along the way to track your progress as well as your strengths and weaknesses.  During the first fitness test, conducted on the first day of the program, while dying a little and wondering what I got myself into, I started thinking about business KPI’s and how they are a lot like fitness tests.  While fitness tests evaluate where an individual is from a physical perspective in comparison to their goals and past performance (also highlighting their achievements and weaknesses) this concept easily applies to the use of Key Performance Indicators in a field service organization.

KPI’s such as field service productivity (jobs per day), utilization percentages, service level achievement percentages, parts per job, and first-time completion rate percentages should help organizations measure and track their progress, hone their focus, and improve their efficiency.  But how often are field service organizations measuring their data?  And more importantly, are they measuring the right things?

Is Your Organization Getting Fit or Fat?

KPI’s are only effective if they are measured often, compared over time, and used to make business decisions and improvements.  After all, if you only take a fit test once a blue moon and don’t record the outcome or compare it to other fit tests, you could be the fittest or laziest person on the planet, who knows?  The key is to tie the measurement and analytics of your KPI’s to your business goals.  If your goal is to increase operational efficiency over time, certain field service KPIs would be most accurate if measured over a business quarter.  However, if the goal is to increase customer satisfaction month over month, you would want to monitor KPI’s such as service level achievement percentages on a weekly basis.

Should I Measure My Flexibility, My Activity Level, or Both?

According to The Service Council, the key metrics that field service organizations are focusing on in 2013 are as follows:

  • Service Revenue
  • Service Cost
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Workforce Productivity
  • Workforce Utilization
  • First-Time Fix

72% of these field service organizations also stated that they were currently developing or improving metrics and KPIs to improve their field service performance.  But these metrics can be broken down even further to make sure you are measuring the right things at the right times.  According to ClickSoftware’sKey Metrics for Measuring Your Field Service Business” there are two types of metrics that measure field service performance.  Proactive metrics are used during planning and forecasting to determine allocation of resources, amount of resources needed, and estimated jobs to be scheduled.  Reactive metrics are based on actual data that is tracked in the field and helps to determine success or pinpoint weaknesses.

Ok, So I Did 20 More Jumping Jacks This Time, Now What?

It is a good idea to reevaluate your KPI’s over time to make sure you are measuring the right data, getting the results you are looking for, and are continuing to improve as an organization.  For instance if your customer satisfaction levels have drastic increases month over month, maybe your goals aren’t high enough, or you aren’t asking the right questions.  Or maybe your customer service just rocks, and it is time to reward yourself.  After all, what is the use in collecting a whole bunch of data if you aren’t going to use it or analyze it?  It is one thing to have KPI’s and it’s another to integrate them into your business strategy.  The same goes for a fit test.  It makes no difference to anyone to see that you completed 35 jumping jacks in a minute if you can’t see that you only did 12 jumping jacks the first time around and your goal is to do 50 jumping jacks in a minute in the future.

The workout program is called Insanity because the workouts are supposed to be insane and so are the results.  That was evident in the first few minutes of the fit test when I felt like my heart was going to burst.  But perhaps field service organizations would get more value out going a little insane with their demands, their goals, and their processes.  It goes along with the phrase “go big or go home.”  A good start is making the most out of your “fit tests.”  Use your endless data and metrics to learn, improve, adopt, and grow.  Then your organization will be at its fittest, minus the hardcore abs workout.

For more information about KPI’s in field service, download this great webinar:

Smarter Services: Realizing The Full Benefits Of A Mobile Workforce Management Solution

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