How Can Maintenance Teams Lessen the Impact of the Fuel Panic?

How Can Maintenance Teams Lessen the Impact of the Fuel Panic?

If you manage a team of maintenance or building service engineers in the current fuel crisis then you must be worried about missed appointments and letting your customers down.  Not only will you be losing money but you will be facing calls from frustrated customers.  In this blog we look at what you can do about it …

When the petrol forecourts filled up with fuel panic-buyers, many failed to consider the impact this would have on services.  Minds were understandably immediately turned to healthcare, however there are lots of other essential workers that the fuel crisis will have impacted, not least maintenance teams.

All mobile workforces are trying their best to carry on. But poor planning is taking its toll on some.

What Has Been the Impact on Field Services?

While everyone with a vehicle has likely suffered the frustrations of long queues at petrol stations, few have considered the impact on plumbers, heating engineers, electricians and a whole host of others worried about getting to their next job.

Aside from the practical challenge of getting fuel in the tank, there are many other potential headaches maintenance teams could encounter.

Unhappy customers: Customers won’t be happy if their scheduled maintenance doesn’t go ahead as planned. Despite there being a genuine unavoidable reason for delays, even late arrivals will be seen as an inconvenience at best. However unreasonable it may seem; one poor customer review has a lot of negative sway.

Time stuck in traffic: Engineers out in the field could be wasting a lot of time in traffic. Time stuck in a jam could mean one or two less calls a day, and a waste of fuel. This means less revenue and a backlog of urgent jobs building.

Shortage of parts: Suppliers are also facing the same challenges – they need to get from A to B too. Engineers could find themselves short of essential parts.

The unknown: Not knowing if fuel will be available from one day to the next makes prioritising and planning difficult.

The upshot isn’t purely about inconvenience. If it continues, the fuel crisis will harm revenues, engineers’ wages, customer relations and more.

What are the Immediate Problems for Field Service Companies?

Field services management companies will be recalibrating right now. There are lots of potential problems that need to be mitigated and resolved. Managers will be assessing:

  • Which jobs are urgent?
  • Which can be rescheduled to a later date?
  • Which vans have fuel?
  • Which are running low?
  • Are there petrol stations on route that are selling fuel?
  • Will logjams of vehicles queuing at petrol stations cause traffic delays?
  • Can jobs be easily re-routed?
  • Are there ways to minimise travel between jobs?
  • How is the fuel panic affecting supplies?
  • Has the delivery of parts been delayed?
  • Which engineers are located the nearest for emergency call outs?

How to Plan for Fuel Disruption

All organisations rely to some extent on fuel, so planning for fuel disruptions in advance to ensure business continuity is a wise strategy. If you haven’t done this already, you can find guidance in the Department of Energy and Climate Change document Business Continuity Management for Fuel Shortages.

Continuity arrangements include:

  • Reducing the dependency of your organisation on fuel
  • Reducing fuel usage during a fuel supply disruption
  • Improving the resilience of supply chains
  • Reallocating resources to deliver only key products and services
  • Effective communication with staff, customers, suppliers and other key stakeholders in advance of and during any disruption

route scheduling

How to Improve Your Planning with Joblogic

Businesses who have invested in field management software are going to find the fuel crisis challenges much easier to navigate than those who are still working with spreadsheets and paper trails.

Here’s how field service management software helps:

1. Centralised data and processes

How can you fix any problems if you don’t have clear sight of your data? Having data and processes centralised in one field service CRM system makes problem-solving so much easier. It enables managers to oversee assets, schedule jobs quickly and easily, and optimise routes.

2. Use a mobile app to plan appointments and save fuel 

Joblogic’s world-class mobile app equips field staff with up-to-date information and works fully offline. Important updates to routes and schedules can be communicated in an instant and managers can plan schedules based on locality to save fuel.

In addition, engineers out in the field get access to site histories, equipment registers, job sheets, mobile compliance forms and much more. It means that they can plan ahead and make sure that they have the equipment and spares they need before they arrive on site – to help avoid unnecessary trips back to base or to a local wholesaler.

With real-time information, managers and engineers are kept on the same page. In short you can connect your field staff to the back-office and manage all individual workflows simultaneously. Simply by sending your engineers to the job that is closest will maximise your fuel efficiency in a day.

3. Keep your customer informed

Going the extra mile for customers isn’t easy in a crisis. Most important are keeping the communication lines open and keeping customers up to date. Whether your engineer is held up trying to refuel or simply stuck in traffic this information can be fed-back to customers, so they are aware an engineer is on their way. With Joblogic, customers get real-time portal access to their job progress and status updates. The more informed you keep your customers the less likely they are to complain.

Responding rapidly to any hiccoughs in business workflow is vital. Joblogic centralises your maintenance information to enable managers to plan, measure and manage business operations effectively, even during a crisis.

Is it time you equipped your business with the right tools to be organised and professional in every way? Simplify your workflows and eliminate all major obstacles with Joblogic today. Contact our expert team and we’ll show you how.

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