|By Kevin Benedict||
|July 8, 2014 01:37 PM EDT||
There are many different objects and variables that can impact the performance of a mobile workforce, especially in the services industry. In my enterprise mobility workshops I call these things PIOs (performance impact objects), and PIVs (performance impact variables).
Examples of PIOs:
- Job locations
- Equipment (and availability)
- Transportation (and availability)
- Vendor (and availability)
- Subcontractor (and availability)
- Jobsite access
- Schedules (dependencies)
- Condition of equipment repair/maintenance
In an ideal world, we would have full situational awareness. All of the data from each PIO and PIV would be instantly available to our management system so predictive analytics and artificial intelligence could align all the variables for optimized service delivery. Full situational awareness does not happen by accident. It requires a great deal of strategy, planning and execution.
All of the PIOs and PIVs need to be tracked and monitored. Sensors (IoT), GPS vehicle tracking and smartphones all play an important role here. The data that is needed to make right decisions, either by a human decision maker or an artificial intelligence system needs to be collected, and as data has a shelf-life, it needs to be timely. Those on the Titanic knew they were in trouble, but only when it was too late to prevent the trouble. They would have appreciated good information a few minutes earlier.
Let me provide a scenario for consideration. A customer calls in and requires repairs to a specialized, expensive piece of equipment. The repair requires specialized training and skills, certifications, special parts, special tools and experience. Knowing just the schedules and locations of your field service technicians is not good enough. You need to know information concerning each PIO and PIV. In order to optimally provide service to your customer, you need to know and monitor all relevant information, and since most field services teams are mobile, that means mobile technology and wireless sensors must be integrated with as many PIOs and PIVs systems as possible in order to provide the necessary data and visibility to maximize productivity.
When PIOs and PIVs are all connected via a shared network that provides visibility to network members it is called a Network Centric Operation. A full network centric operational environment may not be economically feasible for 25 service technicians, but for 2,5000 service technicians yes.
If you have an available field service technician without the right experience or qualifications, then that doesn't help. If you have a qualified, experienced and available field services technician, but without the right tools, equipment, parts or their location is too distant to be of service, then that also doesn't help.
PIOs/PIVs are most often not in one location for easy management. They are located in many different locations and accessed via many different systems. Enterprise mobility, sensors, connectivity, integration, dashboards, dynamic scheduling, HCM (human capital management), GPS tracking and event/project management, predictive analytics and artificial intelligence are all required to bring all of these pieces, data and variables together to provide optimal productivity. Ideally these would be brought together under a considered Code Halo strategy for collecting, analyzing and using data to optimize productivity.
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
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