If you are a project manager in the field service world, chances are, you are dealing with a major backlog right now.
We covered the reasons for the IT deployment backlog in previous posts, so you know the “why.” In short, the pandemic and its many aftershocks and aftereffects on supply chain, labor markets, and consumer expectations have culminated in a challenging moment for many industries.
Restaurants, in particular, are rushing to deploy numerous IT upgrades to accommodate the changing expectations of their customers and new service models (like third-party delivery and online ordering). Yet many existing projects paused during the pandemic. Now that work has restarted, QSR companies want it all: they want the original backlog completed, and they want all kinds of new stuff, too.
But enough about the “why.” What you really want to know is how to fix it, not how it happened.
With that in mind, the Kinettix team put together some tips on how project managers can further optimize their service delivery process and start to make serious headway on their project backlog.
1. Leverage Deployment Design to Execute Projects on a Compressed Timeline
First, deployment design helps you execute existing and new projects on a compressed timeline, helping you reduce that backlog steadily over time.
What is deployment design? Again, we’ve devoted space to this concept before, so check out our longer explainer on deployment design first. Essentially, deployment design is a deeper, more comprehensive, more holistic approach to setting up deployments than the more traditional deployment planning.
Deployment design goes farther than deployment planning. Instead of simply creating a list of what is being deployed, a deployment design gets deep into the specifics for each of those items, including where they’re sourced, who procures them, and what to do with whatever the item is replacing.
By accounting for every — yes, every — detail in the planning stages rather than just the high-level outline, you’ll be able to trim all sorts of inefficiencies from your process. And when you move more quickly, you give yourself the opportunity to get more done in the same amount of time.
2. Look for Automation Opportunities
Usually when we talk about automation on our blog, we are talking about technology that allows end-clients to automate certain processes. But not today. Today we’re talking about you and your business.
If you’re willing to innovate and look closely at every aspect of your business, you will likely find possibilities for automation within your organization.
Certainly, this becomes more and more relevant the larger your company grows (for example, a chatbot is likely neither practical nor affordable for a solopreneur IT project manager). But consider these automations and whether they can help your business or team:
- Customer Service Automation: If you take a lot of phone calls for repetitive issues or questions, an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system or other customer service automations can get you out of the business of answering phones and let you focus on higher-priority tasks.
- Chatbots: Similarly, if you have a lot of inbound web traffic, setting up a chatbot to answer basic questions and point visitors to existing resources saves you tons of time sifting through “contact us” emails.
Other smaller process automations are likely possible with the right partner. Any tech-based task that is repetitive and predictable has the potential for automation. The only limits are your risk tolerance and technology comfort level!
3. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
If you are finding the biggest bottleneck to increasing service speed is you (or a handful of other high-value employees), this isn’t necessarily due to any fault or problem with your work or abilities. You might simply be overloaded.
One highly effective way to optimize service delivery is to strategically delegate any and all tasks possible to other (usually lower-level or specialized) employees.
Take a look at your service delivery process in a holistic way. Identify the human and material constraints to moving faster. Then drill down into each one and ask probing questions about how you resolve the bottlenecks.
If a key team member is identified as a constraint, look for ways to offload certain tasks or responsibilities to another member of the team. You can only move as quickly as your current bottleneck point, so pay close attention to that point.
4. Further Optimize with Field Services Management Software
Last, you can find additional strategies for optimization by using the right field services management software solution, one that helps you allocate the perfect amount of resources for every job and even helps your teams make sure they have all the needed parts and tools before rolling out.
If you are ready to implement a FSM platform and looking for assistance, contact us. Kinettix has years of experience helping service delivery professionals not only source qualified local technicians but also leverage their field service management platforms to their fullest potential. We also offer a Field Service MSP program, allowing you to leverage our experienced team to provide a-la-carte project design and management services for your labor pool techs.