Field service business leaders have a fantastic opportunity to grow business through their sustainability initiatives, as more companies seek to reduce their carbon footprint. Companies adopting sustainability as a strategic pillar are picking partners that share the same values.
Yet this is easier said than done. Getting support from stakeholders on real sustainability initiatives is still a top challenge for field service organizations.
Even so, evidence suggests the tide is turning toward a greener growth mindset. According to IDC research1, 40% of field service organizations cite sustainability as a top priority. It’s clear field service can do more as the world grapples with environmental crises, from global warming to extreme weather events.
“The earth is our top stakeholder,” said Leigh-Anne Nugent, product management director for outbound success, Salesforce Field Service. “We need to keep this in mind, as we grow business through sustainability.”
The right field service management solution helps reduce carbon emissions and build customer trust. Let’s look at how automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and visual remote assistance in field service management can help set you up for success with sustainability.
Route mobile workers efficiently with automation
Fuel consumption is one of the biggest challenges to sustainability in field service. Think about the number of vehicles in your fleet. Each driver services multiple customers a day. Last-minute schedule changes, inclement weather, and heavy traffic all extend time on the road.
Route optimization makes sure your mobile worker, whether it’s an employee or contractor, with the right skills and parts always takes the most efficient route.
Route optimization makes sure your mobile worker, whether it’s an employee or contractor, with the right skills and parts always takes the most efficient route. Real-time automation helps you scale by responding quickly to emergencies and new job requests. This saves on gas, reduces emissions, and limits impact on the road — contributing to sustainability. On-time, complete service boosts customer satisfaction scores.
“If we can take the shortest route possible, if we can track as many appointments we have along the route, if we could maybe restrict our boundaries of where we’re going to service — these can all help the environment,” Nugent said.
Use AI to make sure the job gets done right the first time
Errors in estimating travel, service time, and parts needed can wreck a day’s schedule and necessitate another appointment. These inefficiencies increase the carbon footprint as they add up over time. This has an irreversible impact on the environment.
Errors in estimating travel, service time, and parts needed can wreck a day’s schedule and necessitate another appointment.
AI streamlines field service and supports sustainability. It takes distances, traffic patterns, weather, and more into account to predict how long it will take a mobile worker to drive to a job. AI can also estimate how long a job will take based on the history of similar tasks in the past. In addition, AI can project the tools and parts a job is likely to require, and reduces the need for a second trip.
For example, technicians at a medical device company were arriving at jobs without the right parts. This resulted in a second appointment and dissatisfied customers. The company now uses AI-powered recommendations to make sure their technicians have the right parts for every job — decreasing wear on vehicles, reducing emissions, and boosting customer satisfaction.
Reduce truck rolls with remote assistance
Not all service requests require on-site appointments. In these cases, agents, mobile workers, and experts can use visual remote assistance to guide customers to solve problems in real-time from anywhere.
Visual remote assistance eliminates or reduces time spent on the road. Fewer truck rolls means less emissions and wear and tear on roads.
Visual remote assistance eliminates or reduces time spent on the road. Fewer truck rolls means less emissions and wear and tear on roads. Reducing truck rolls even a fraction can go a long way toward protecting the environment and infrastructure.
Manufacturer Endress+Hauser paired its field service management solution with augmented reality when customer site visits became more difficult during the pandemic. Their engineers use remote assistance to guide customers on how to keep all their plants operating.
“This helps us get our customers up to speed quickly and operate efficiently,” said Drew Barrs, Endress+Hauser’s head of service industrialization. “We use remote assistance to guide employees and contractors — whether we’re on-site or not.”
Go green in field service to build trust with customers and drive business forward
As you look to improve sustainability in your business with field service management, now is the time to get stakeholders on board. Consider this stat from Gartner research: 63% of executives surveyed at companies with sustainability programs say the customer is the main catalyst for their efforts.
Customers want to team with companies who are also working toward Net Zero carbon footprints. Their collective thinking is: It’s good for the earth and for business. Sustainability in field service protects the environment, boosts return-on-investment, and generates revenue.
“Sustainability efforts increase trust with customers,” Nugent concluded. “We’re in it for the long run and we’re committed to this, so how are we going to make the world a better place? When given a choice, I would go with a field service organization that has a sustainable practice.”
1 Source: Future Enterprise Resiliency & Spending Survey – Wave 1, IDC, February, 2022