Managementors: Building a More Productive Workforce

What the Market for Field Force Technology looks like

Although the number of people working in engineering enterprises in the UK has declined by almost 8% over the last 5 years, the number still stands at around 5.7 million people – around 20% of the working population. Engineering enterprises have a collective turnover of £486 billion.1 It is one of the major economic foundations underpinning the UK economy.

In a world that is constantly looking for ways to improve operational efficiency and reduce costs, every industry is encouraging more and more staff to work remotely. The motivation to increase capacity and make workforces more flexible means that the global mobile workforce is set to increase from 1.32 billion (2014) accounting for 37.4% of the global workforce, to 1.75 billion in 2020, 42.0% of the global workforce.

Although mobile engineers/workforces have always been an important part of the engineering sector, the increased emphasis on improved customer service and lower costs have created the need for engineering enterprises to become more flexible, more productive, more reactive and better organised. This often means expanding the mobile capability. Managing mobile workers as effectively requires a different approach to those contained in a central location.

Field workforce management is the art of managing all of the moving parts a business has operating from a central location. Managers must therefore enable their staff to be equally (or more) productive on the road as they would be working from a central location. In an effort to achieve this, the default position of management teams today seems to be to significantly invest in the latest Field Service Management (FSM) technological solution.

The Field Service Management Technology sector was valued at £1.6 billion in 2015 and is expected to increase to £4 billion by 2020, with the market researchers stating that “the strong need for a central system for the management of field services and increasing operational efficiency are the important driving factors” behind the expected growth.

Technology has always been used to advance business and the FSM industry is certainly no different; increasingly sophisticated and bespoke options are available – from fully integrated to stand-alone, in the cloud or on premise, as part of a handheld or simply an app on an iPhone or Android. All have specific advantages including a reduction in admin, increased visibility and automated performance reporting.

If technology is actually the one-stop problem solver vendors often claim it to be, then why do organisations who buy the exact same product, from the exact same vendor, targeting the exact same market, often achieve wildly different results? What’s the difference?

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