Blog: How Knowledge Tools Can Help Recession-Proof Your Company

Whether you are a small business owner or the CEO of an enterprise, everyone is tempted to pinch pennies and cut corners when the threat of a recession is looming. Of course, it is a good idea to routinely examine and curtail costs where possible, but organizations should be on the offensive, not defensive when it comes to cost cutting strategies. 

Investing in the right knowledge tools now is a prime example of how an offensive move will help ensure your field service organization stays resilient amid an economic decline. 

Mobile knowledge tools can help with training, address skills and learning gaps 

The growing complexity of today’s high-tech equipment is quickly becoming a hurdle for recruiting and adequately training new talent, particularly in industries like Medical Technology. Recent studies found that 60% of medical field service leaders feel that the service and maintenance of medical devices has become more complex in the past year. 

Moreover, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, companies will need to rely on 3rd party field service engineers more than ever. The right knowledge solution will provide the digital training and rapid knowledge acquisition that both new hires and contracted engineers need. 

Some knowledge tools also allow trainers to monitor progress via analytics so they can identify areas needing more emphasis and training. All of this means new engineers can find their sea legs sooner, become more efficient and accurate in their jobs, and help your organization retain its competitive edge.

Mobile parts knowledge can eliminate incorrect orders to decrease operational costs

When preparing for an economic downturn, service organizations are under intense pressure to reduce costs and maintain – even increase – profitability. Eliminating incorrect parts orders through better access to parts knowledge is one very effective way to do this.  

In fact, field service analysts suggest that service engineers order the wrong part approximately 25% of the time because they did not have access to the best information about what part to order. As any field service leader will tell you, incorrect part orders lead to return visits, unhappy customers, lower first time fix rates, and expensive return shipping and restocking costs. 

Providing onsite engineers with mobile access to parts knowledge, such as exploded diagrams, images, and product and revision specific parts lists is a great way trim faulty parts orders, yielding immediate boosts to both your customer satisfaction rates and your organization’s bottom line.

Mobile knowledge tools can improve service process efficiencies 

In a downturn, improving accuracy and efficiency when a technician is onsite becomes even more crucial than ever before. For the safety of your both field workers and customers, it is imperative that technicians limit onsite contact by completing the fix as quickly as possible during the first visit. 

There is ample evidence showing that knowledge management is key to increasing service efficiencies. In fact, research has shown that knowledge management can have a huge impact on technician performance and productivity, reducing mean time to repair by as much as 50%. 

Moreover, similar studies by industry analysts have concluded that nearly 20% of possible first-visit repairs are missed because the technician did not have access to the correct technical information.  For example, a recent study by the Service Council found that 63% of respondents said they needed better access to knowledge articles, databases, and service manuals.

What does the right knowledge solution look like?

Implementing the right knowledge tools can provide big benefits during an economic downturn. But what exactly does the “right” knowledge tool look like? 

Here are 3 features that any knowledge solution worth its salt should have:

  • The knowledge base should be mobile and available offline. Connectivity is not always an option when engineers are onsite. It’s important that they have access to the information they need, regardless of an internet connection via cell or Wi-Fi.
  • The knowledge base must be current and incorporate your engineers’ feedback. Your field workers need access to the most recent data available and they must be able to provide feedback on how to improve the knowledge base. If keeping a knowledge base optimized seems like a herculean task, don’t fret: a good knowledge management tool will keep your knowledge base up to date. 
  • The knowledge must integrate with your existing field service management software. Your new knowledge solution will quickly fall out of favor with your team if it creates extra steps for them, like having to navigate away from work orders. Fast, easy access to knowledge will ensure the tool is used regularly, as intended, and not abandoned as too difficult.

The message is clear: for companies to successfully navigate economic turbulence and remain competitive, they must provide their field workers with better access to knowledge. Implementing the right knowledge solution today will help position your organization for success now so you aren’t left scrambling when the economy starts to turn. 


Bo Wandell

Bo Wandell is Vice President of AnswersAnywhere. A 30-year veteran of technology companies including successful startups based in Silicon Valley and Seattle, Bo has spent a significant portion of his career focused on creating and selling technologies and services focused on knowledge management methodologies that help corporations differentiate their interactions with customers. Bo is focused on helping AnswersAnywhere customers leverage knowledge management to create an integrated field service experience that is valued by end-users. When not working, Bo enjoys taking advantage of all the outdoor activities the Pacific Northwest offers including hiking and snowshoeing, crabbing, shrimping, fishing, and clamming.

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