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Field Management 101: Measurement

Field Management 101: Measurement

In building myFLO we drew on a deep knowledge about core principles in field service management and workflow. And while it's useful to us, it's also useful to you. This is the fifth article in our series about core principles.

Have you missed the other articles in the series?
1. Standardisation
2. Lifecycle
3. Collaboration
4. Access

Never miss another one:

In the world of field service management, measuring the right things is crucial if your business is going to keep improving.

Measure the right things if you want improvement

You will be familiar with the old saying, "what you can measure you can improve". That's true, provided you are measuring the right things.

How do you know what are the right things to measure? You go back to your workflow map and how you standardise the work.

Right back in the first article, we unpacked the workflow. In it, we talked about:

  1. Knowing every step in the process
  2. Knowing how long it takes.

In the second article, we talked about standardisation and predictability. Some of the things we mentioned were:

  1. Scheduling
  2. Customer service response time
  3. Cashflow
  4. Time tracking
  5. Waiting time.

Going through the process in the right sequence gives you all of these starting metrics. You know that they are important to the flow of work, you know that they important to the business.

Agree on your critical path metrics

The two lists above tell us that we already have some key metrics to measure. They are:
1. Time taken to complete a task
2. Time to customer response
3. Number of on-time completions
4. Time spent idle (or waiting).

Depending on the tasks you build into your workflow management system, you will also have other metrics that you can measure. Some examples might include the time it takes to:

  • Sign off or approve jobs, orders, or documents
  • Invoice clients
  • Send purchase orders
  • Set up a client file
  • Reconcile employee hours
  • Reconcile employee travel claims

and a range of other things.

The most important thing for you to do is to agree on them before you make a change. Are they critical path, or are they nice to have? Make sure that these metrics will be used to assess how well your business is performing. If you spend your time looking at any other metrics, then you will be well informed. But you will also be wasting your time if youâre not going to use them.

If any of the metrics is not critical to the continuing improvement of your business, ask whether or not it's truly valuable to you. Will you need it in future, if you don't need it right now? And if you had information about something you currently can't measure, how would that change what you're doing?

Spend some time thinking about this territory. Data will tell you anything, but it's only as good as the question you ask.

Benchmark your agreed metrics, before you change anything

Once you've agreed on the final set of metrics, bunker down and measure them. This will do two things:

  1. Show you how easy (or hard) it is to measure them
  2. Give you a baseline from which to measure improvement.

'Improvement' is the amount of positive change. The only way you can measure improvement is to have a baseline. Without a baseline, you're playing a guessing game.

Key metrics can be part of your workflow management system

If possible, avoid turning metrics into another activity if a system can do it for you. When you start thinking about putting a workflow management system in place, find out what kind of reporting it can give you. Ask about whether your key metrics can be built in.

Many of the metrics described above can have automated measurement. For example, if you need to measure the time it takes to complete a job, you will want to think about what that really means. Is it the time from when a file is opened? Or is it the time from when a worker gets to the site?

Whatever your measures are, ask whether they can be integrated into your reports. The chances are good that many of them can be.

Good measurement is critical to improving your field service management

At myFLO, we have been helping people solve this issue of what, when, and how to measure improvement almost since we started. Our platform grew out of a need to enable easier reporting and data access, with the flexibility to adapt and grow as you do.

To learn more about how we can help your team, give us a call on 1300 78 46 60.

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