Building a Field Service Engineering Team
We have built many field service engineering teams for clients. And even though it can be extremely difficult, time consuming and challenging enough to achieve and retain, only a select few clients do it correctly.
The objective is to build a team in such a way that your customer base is covered for their service needs, the team have the appropriate skills to fulfil these needs and you have the right balance of a team that can handle the workload efficiently without overspending on wages and resources. It sounds simple. It is not.
What are the challenges?
Sourcing the skills required can be tricky. If you are paying more than anybody else that makes this easier. In the real world you will be paying market rate though so you will either have to be patient, lucky or get support from a recruiter.
Then you have the location issues to deal with. Whilst you might be able to find talent, it is a bit like buses. They come together in the same location. Therefore, you need to find people in certain locations that compliment your existing teams, so you have the engineers you need spread out evenly to service your customers.
Training is often something that is easier avoided. Trying to train team members in the field that are spread out and often remote is a nightmare. Firstly, they cannot keep coming to head office all of the time as it is impractical. Secondly, if they shadow another engineer, it is not an efficient use of resources at all. And thirdly it is very hard to train someone remotely for a practical skill position. If you just get pre-skilled people who require no training in, then problem solved. But then you have got the sourcing talent problem all over again.
Getting it wrong
The usual entry to the process that comes from my experience is midway. A client calls stating, “we’ve started building a field service team and are finding a particular role difficult”. It then does not take us long to establish that these problems could have been solved had they engaged us earlier in the process to assist with strategy.
If we can plan a strategy in advance, we come in to our own. We can map talent out, source and build you a team. But I see this mistake all the time and yet it is so avoidable.
The problem getting it wrong causes.
So what if we have a problem role though? It is one problem. Using a recruiter to hire an entire team is expensive. Whilst this is true let us explore the typical events breakdown of making this mistake.
1-Start building a field service team where skills exist first.
2-Fill in the gaps by finding people in those areas.
3-Find a problem role or two where there is dead zone for talent where you need them.
4-One or two of your team resign as they are annoyed at having to cover areas that were not in their job description for the roles you cannot hire.
5-Risk of defaulting on your SLA customer agreements as you do not have the staff and are overstretched.
6-Lose the contract and must make your team redundant as the contract no longer exists.
What should you do?
Call us. Explain the long term plan and what you want in an ideal outcome. We can accommodate an affordable but sustainable plan to build you a team that you can retain, within your budget and that can efficiently handle your SLA’s.
Avoid the hassle and heartache. We can help. We can help you with building a field service team.