Field Service Management (FSM) – manage field service and gain satisfied customers

Learn about the benefits of implementing IFS Field Service Management using the example from the gas industry (FSM).

Service management is one of the most important components for modern companies that have to carry out effective service visits to the customer. It allows a proactive approach to troubleshooting and quickly classifying the problem, delegating qualified engineers, and repairing it in one visit. Everything is managed as quickly as possible, leading to the strengthening of good relations with the client, and increasing satisfaction and trust.

IFS offers dedicated FSM (Field Service Management) software that enables the recording, monitoring, and optimization of services carried out in the field. As a stand-alone product, IFS FSM can integrate into existing programs in an enterprise, which does not change the ERP, EAM, and GIS systems. Thanks to an innovative approach to planning service works, the use of algorithms, artificial intelligence, and the augmented reality tool from IFS has made this tool become the most complete FSM class software available on the market (according to Gartner 2020).

IFS FSM is used in industries where customer contact and work optimization field crews are crucial for the operation of the company. Services it is perfect for, among others, are telecommunications, energy, and gas companies.

To present the possibilities of the operations offered by IFS FSM software, please refer to specific architecture that is used in gas transmission and distribution companies. These types of enterprises are crucial for the functioning of the state, they own an extensive customer base and field teams. Each service action on the gas infrastructure is initiated by creating a notification that goes to the system. Thanks to using a Omni-channel Contact Center technology, reporting a defect is possible through a dedicated platform for the client, via a call center or by using a virtual consultant (IFS Customer Engagement Intelligent Response).

The FSM configuration environment in the gas plant has a base of employees divided into teams and regions, it knows their scope of competencies, current tasks and geographic location.

Dispatcher who receives requests gives them appropriate priorities and the application automatically separates work between fitters using artificial intelligence technology. The app takes all these factors into account, in addition to the presence of individual people at work (integration with the HR database), the availability of tools for repairs and necessary parts to remove the defect (integration with warehouses). Dispatcher has a full overview of the work performed using the schedule view and the map presenting the location of employees, it tracks faults and information about the gas infrastructure from the inventory system.

Communication between the employee in the gas plant and the field worker takes place via the use of mobile devices and a dedicated application (off-line work possible in places without coverage). The fitter receives a list of tasks to be performed, a checklist for each of them, and the ability to take notes and take photos. Also documentation, e.g. emergency diagrams of stations are assigned to the fault and available on a mobile device. Additionally, the application can be equipped with alarms and the fitter performing dangerous work on the gas pipeline starts the counter and must use it after a given time (restart time). Thanks to this, the dispatcher is sure that the life of a field worker is not in danger.

In the event of increased demand for human resources at any time, you can take advantage of remote servicing using augmented reality. System FSM offers IFS Remote Assistance technology, which enables connectivity of the gas plant technician and the field fitter. By using a mobile device they receive guidelines for action seeing the virtual hand of a technician superimposed on the repaired object in the field.

IFS FSM is also about predicting events and preventing downtime in the gas infrastructure operations. Using the Internet of Things (sensors controlling the operation of devices, e.g. their consumption) and machine learning, possible failures are predicted and maintenance works are forecast for the gas infrastructure. They are scheduled and assigned to specific employees. The same applies to the tasks resulting from any SLA that is in place.

Examples of the benefits of implementing IFS FMS in the gas industry:

  1. Transmission:
    • planning the rounds of pedestrian gas pipelines and assigning routes to specific groups off-road; verification of violations of controlled zones and reporting abnormalities
    • collecting field data and selecting areas for increased control
    • control over the work of the field group – eg who has the appropriate qualifications, who is closest to the leak, retrieved tools to work on the task
    • planning the most advantageous route
    • equipment maintenance planning
    • integration with existing IT systems
  2. Distribution:
    • gas emergency – receiving notifications, selecting employees on the basis of availability, location, and competence
    • customer contact to connect to the network – various communication channels and automatic generation of tasks transferred to mobile devices
    • creating a schedule of work with the end customer – commissioning and maintenance of gas supply
    • equipment maintenance planning and inventory control
    • gas pipe check in
    • outsourcing installation work
    • reporting of assembly activities
    • integration with existing IT systems

Author: Radosław Marcinkowski – InfoConsulting FSM Team