You’ve probably experienced a surge in demand for field service operations to support the skyrocketing needs of your organization’s business. Whether you’re building out new telecom services or ratcheting up your customer base, the business of field service is booming. (One measure of this is the global market for field service management solutions, projected to grow from $3 billion in 2020 to over $5 billion in 2025.) 

To help manage rapid fluctuations in demand, many organizations are turning to tools to help manage field service capacity management, especially in the telecommunications sector. In the past, many telcos relied on manual processes for managing their field workforce, which often led to inefficiencies and errors – especially since the workforce itself was frequently in a state of flux. With a little luck, they were able to extract some basic scheduling and dispatching help from their software solutions. But you can’t always count on luck, and many organizations sought out more advanced features and functionality, such as real-time tracking, predictive analytics, and more robust automation.

And today, field service operations expect even more from their software solutions. A notable new expectation is the inclusion of applications to help optimize their capacity management processes.

Optimize Efficiency and Performance

But it isn’t enough to simply deploy a capacity management solution. You need to make sure you avoid two traps that many organizations get snared by. To avoid these pitfalls, the first step is to make sure you have clear and complete answers to these two questions: 

  • What is the current capacity of my team? In other words, how many jobs can my current roster of technicians fulfill in each region.
  • What is my current demand? That is, how many jobs do I need to fulfill in each region? 

But the answers aren’t always easy to come by – especially if you fall into one of those traps. 

Trap #1: What goes down when you can't predict demand?

The first challenge is accurately predicting demand for resources, since hiring and training field service resources take time. 

Planning for capacity can be a tricky balancing act, much like Goldilocks searching for the perfect porridge temperature. On the one hand, you don't want too many field workers on standby, as this results in unnecessary costs. On the other hand, failing to anticipate an increase in demand can leave you short-staffed and unable to meet service level agreements (SLAs), growth targets, or other key objectives. 

One common example we’ve seen occurs when telcos launch a new internet service or promotion for a specific region. Expecting an increase in demand, they dedicate a team of field service technicians for equipment installation and service management. But all too often, they underestimate the demand for the service. The sudden surge in demand overwhelms the field service team, meaning some customers will have to wait days for an installation, while others face slow internet speeds and delays to resolve their service issues. Ultimately, this leads to negative customer feedback, declining customer satisfaction, and a loss of business. 

Horror stories such as these underscore the pitfalls associated with demand exceeding initial predictions. And to make matters worse, the solution is neither fast nor easy, as it takes time to train and ramp up additional field service technicians to handle surges in demand. 

Telcos that go through these experiences learn the hard way that they need a more robust and flexible resource planning and management system in place to adapt quickly to unexpected demand and avoid negative customer experiences.

What these organizations really need is an effective way to predict capacity so that they can optimize their future resourcing needs – a capacity planning tool that can act as a looking glass into the future and help you adjust capacity as business requirements change. 

Trap #2: Dealing with Unforeseen Fluctuations

Even with the best possible resource planning, there’s always the unexpected. Demand spikes up beyond your most optimistic projections, or technician absences leave you with fewer resources than expected. Perhaps a technician calls in sick or extreme weather causes a surge in service requests in a particular region. You may have planned capacity to meet demand accurately for the steady state, but now have to adapt capacity on the fly. And all too often, shifting resources to meet demand can be a manual and time-consuming process.

To address this challenge, telcos need a capacity planning tool that provides real-time flexibility, enabling them to reallocate resources promptly and efficiently. This flexibility helps telcos adapt more quickly and efficiently to sudden changes in demand – and sleep better at night knowing that their customers’ satisfaction won’t be unexpectedly jeopardized. 

Three Key Tools for Capacity Management

You can find a walkthrough of Zinier’s capacity management solution here. It includes three distinct tools – capacity planning, utilization, and automation – that work in concert to help you achieve the overall goals of optimal resource allocation and demand management. 

The application provides greater visibility into your operation’s capacity and demand, and streamlines your ability to always have ready answers to key questions needed to deal with real-time fluctuations, facilitating real-time resource allocation and demand management. It also offers automated capacity reallocation, shift and overtime exceptions, and capacity alerts. 

Innovate, Create, and Collaborate

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