Manufacturing field service tech: poor employee onboarding is damaging return on investment

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Manufacturing businesses are potentially wasting millions on field service management technology each year by failing to take sufficient care when rolling out new solutions, new research has found.

According to The Forgotten Workforce Report, by data capture specialists WorkMobile, around three-quarters (73%) of field service professionals now use some form of field service management technology while out in the field. Consequently, the global field service management technology market is currently worth more than $4 billion, and predicted to boom to $24 billion by the year 2030.

However, the research revealed that 27% of manufacturing field workers feel they are not given enough help and support then they are expected to start using a new piece of technology or digital solution, which is having a clear impact on their attitudes towards the technology and, as a result, its effectiveness.  

Just 14% of those surveyed said that technology enhances their day-to-day life, and 18% even said that it prevents them from doing their job to the best of their ability. Meanwhile, only 9% think that it positively impacts customer relationships. 

However, the good news is that only 5% of manufacturing field workers think that the traditional way of operating is more effective, while 41% of respondents said that they appreciate the benefits of new technologies. This suggests that the situation could be improved, provided the right tools are implemented with a good level of support and guidance from elsewhere in the business.

Colin Yates, chief support officer at WorkMobile, commented: “The findings of our research should be very worrying for manufacturing businesses. Employee buy in is one of the most crucial elements of any digital transformation project. If they don’t know how to use a piece of technology correctly, or fail to use it consistently due to a lack of understanding of a solution and its benefits, then the return on investment from that solution will be limited. 

“It’s clear that a supportive onboarding process is vital to ensure that employees are engaged with a solution from the start, and that ongoing help and guidance should be provided to enable the initiative to have the desired outcome on organisational operations.” 

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