Service teams are an integral part of any manufacturing business. When these employees aren’t consistently able to access knowledge and information in real-time, whether they need troubleshooting help, info on new processes and procedures, or alerts to hazards in the field, it impacts both performance and engagement.
Modern manufacturers know just how crucial innovation is in today’s market, but when looking at the business, communication is often left out of the innovation equation. By leveraging modern communication technology, manufacturers can better support their teams in the field, drive performance across key metrics, and assist change management efforts as products, procedures, and processes evolve.
Mobile Apps Provide Instant Answers and Support
When technicians are on the job, they need to be able to reach out to their team or product experts for help. Long wait times that accompany traditional support methods of email and call centers stifle productivity as well as frustrate technicians.
Providing modern communication technology that gives employees various modes for communication allows service teams to speed up issue resolution while on the job. Rather than calling a handful of colleagues to figure out how to fix a problem, they can send a quick message and photo or video of the situation to a help group and get support in real time. If the issue becomes too complex to message about, they can hop on a video call to work through it live.
Many companies are jumping on the modern communication bandwagon, leaving email behind for mobile-first apps that combine messaging, phone calls, group calls, video calls, content sharing, broadcast alerts, and even push-to-talk into one platform. Service teams who are on the move to the next customer site aren’t sitting in front of a laptop, and forcing them to communicate and access information via traditional desk-based technologies doesn’t make sense.
Luckily, this trend pays off big for the organizations. When technicians are able to get answers fast, easily access key information, and stay informed on the daily, it directly impact business metrics. First time fix, mean time to repair, repair rate, job duration—all of these metrics get a boost when your service technicians are connected with their peers and support teams.
Ushering in Change Without Compromising Productivity
While manufacturers must be agile, responsive and ready to shift gears when opportunities surface, they can’t let rapid change backfire. When you do decide to implement new ways of doing things, whether that’s expanding product offerings or using a new software solution, the question arises of how those changes will affect the workforce. Innovation requires change, and change must be managed effectively to prevent dips in productivity and employee engagement.
This is an additional place where you can leverage a mobile communication platform. For example, say you are rolling out a new field service management solution. These implementations are disruptive, lengthy projects that touch multiple departments and often change the business processes that the workforce is accustomed to.
Having the service team connected on a single communication platform means they can easily work through any issues that arise when they start using the new service solution. With the ability to get instant support from solution experts, teams feel confident in their ability to use the new software.
From a top-down perspective, management can utilize broadcasts to push timely or important updates to teams so that everyone stays in-the-know, rather than left out on their own. These one-to-many pushes are incredibly valuable in both informing employees in real time, as well as providing accountability through engagement analytics.
As you look toward the next innovative advancement in manufacturing, don’t forget to consider the basics. Something as simple as they tools your employees use to communicate can be a great opportunity to make innovative changes that propel your business into the future.
Stacey Epstein is CEO of Zinc.