Achieving optimal efficiency in operations is the aspiration of many companies. And why should it not be? After all, even a little difference in efficiency levels could make a big difference to productivity and profitability.
Generally, service operations are complex. Any faulty component could derail the entire operation, which can have dire consequences on the bottom-line performance. How would you identify that the component is not effectively contributing to the operations?
For instance, common components of operations are people, processes, and technology. How would you measure the performance of your team? Is your technology providing you enough capabilities to streamline your service operations? Do you have visibility into your processes? These are a few questions that let you peek inside your operations, while also letting you know the key aspects to shift your focus on enhancing service operations efficiency.
Many companies have successfully improved their operational efficiency by focusing on these aspects, mainly:
- Getting visibility into operations
Visibility in the processes helps you figure out underperforming resources in your operations. While there are tools available to provide visibility into the processes, the catch is with when you are actually seeing the activities.
For instance, the tools that provide you real-time visibility are more effective than those that allow you to track and monitor activities in a time-bound manner. The benefit of seeing things in real-time is that you get better control over operations. As it buys more time for you to take corrective actions in order to prevent unwanted incidents.
For example, if you could track your service technicians at the site using a field service management software in real-time, you could actually allocate resources better or could guide them to complete a job efficiently.
- Choose Lean to Reduce Wastage
Lean will always be in! At least in operations. Whatever may the processes be, lean methodology could help you curb cost and save time. A concept originated in 1930 has initially set up the foundation for robotics, automation, and digital technologies in operations.
Today, according to a report, 98% manufacturing companies admit to using digital technologies to increase operational efficiency. Another report reveals that companies have gained 10-12% in areas such as factory utilization, labor productivity, and manufacturing output. Adopting lean methodology helps you focus on the latest technologies to eliminate wastage of resources from the operations.
- Engage in Continuous process improvement
The challenges in service operations will always be there. As you solve one, a new problem will emerge. And that is why it is necessary to engage in continuous process improvement.
Although the idea of continuous process improvement traces back to lean six sigma method, it lacks its typical format. It gives the leadership teams the liberty to pick and choose systems at any stage as and when needed.
You can identify the new requirements to make the processes function better and deliver more with existing resources. Simultaneously, you can build a strategy to replace existing resources with a new one before they fail or when they continually underperform.
- Develop Key Competencies of Your People
Building your people is the most productive action you can take to improve your service operations efficiency.
According to a report, the overall cost of hiring a new employee is $1000 or even more in the service industry. This cost includes job advertisement, recruiter fees, travel expenses, referral bonuses, and so on. If for any reason, the employees leave the company or turn out as a bad hire, it could double up the cost.
Upskilling or reskilling employees to prepare them for new requirements is a cost-saving strategy. As the employees are already aware of company culture, training them for a new role or requirements could build their confidence in the company and boost their morale to perform a job.
- Create an “essence” of your service
Usually it is the large enterprises that set the benchmark for the industry. Mostly because they are better equipped. However, small and mid-sized organizations can create an “essence” that determines how the processes in operations will be driven.
It is slightly different from USP, as USP revolves around sales, while essence is focused on experience. It is that factor that relates your customers with your process, be it easy, interactive, or reliable. As the essence creates a “memorable” impact on employees and customers, it could strengthen their relationship with your business, making it easier for your teams to do their job.
Operational efficiency will always be a priority for leadership teams. It requires consistent efforts and sometimes revolutionary changes in how things are managed to improve operational efficiency. The key to these efforts is decision-making. If you are well-informed, you can make better decisions.
Suyash is a customer experience manager at FieldCircle, a field service technology company. A writer by heart, he loves to spread the word around how customers interact with business across channels and the role of next-generation technology in customer experience and business success.