It is an uncomfortable time for project managers overseeing IT deployment initiatives.
Right now, the industry is facing resource constraints throughout the supply chain, from components to finished products. At the same time, there is a labor and skill shortage threatening to disrupt field services even further.
Check out our top recommendations below for managing both.
For Resource Constraints
Of the two, resource constraints are in many ways the more straightforward — though a total inability to source a particular item or resource will certainly bring any IT deployment to a halt. Consider these strategies for overcoming resource (that is, material) constraints.
Plan Ahead — Way Ahead
Early on in the pandemic, material and component shortages were erratic, widespread, and impossible to plan for. And while these shortages and delays have not gone away, thankfully they are much more predictable now than they were in early- to mid-2020.
In most cases, what you are dealing with isn’t really a shortage or a lack of availability as much as a delay in availability. Parts that you could get in two days before now take four weeks.
So what is the answer here? Plan ahead — way ahead. Your IT deployment strategy does not have to change in drastic ways. You simply need to move up the initial steps of identifying what the service delivery team needs and ordering those things with more than enough lead time.
This adjustment requires your clients and customers to adjust their expectations about your turnaround time, but it is a relatively simple adjustment to make.
Go Deeper into Who Needs What and When
When resource constraints are a concern, you will benefit from a tighter understanding of who needs what and when.
When your warehouse is full of inventory and it is easy to get more of anything, it might not matter as much whether a project manager or a field services tech knows how many components you have on the shelf. But when it could take six weeks to get more, suddenly this matters a great deal.
To manage resource constraints, you need to know the state of your inventory as well as the specific resource needs of any jobs coming up. You want to identify any problems before they occur so you go order more or readjust your IT deployment schedule.
Double Down on Workflow Efficiency
When resources are tight, waste is a more serious problem. This is true in terms of material waste as well as wasted labor. Now is the time to double down on workflow efficiency, eliminating waste wherever it exists.
Here is an example. Left to their own decision-making, field services techs might toss a few extra parts on the truck or go for a larger or longer run of conduit or cable just to be safe. But when resources are the biggest constraint, actions like these can take away from other service delivery teams.
Field services management software helps you solve these workflow inefficiencies. Using this tool, you drill down to the per-truck level, making sure every truck is fully equipped (but not over-equipped) before it rolls out.
For Skill Shortages
Skill shortages feel more serious than resource constraints: where are you going to find more people with the skill you need? That is more complicated than buying widgets or routers, it seems.
The truth is, many of the principles are the same: you must either look harder, find better partners, make your own, or do more with less.
Let’s look at how these take shape for skill shortages.
Skill shortages are real, and they are not going anywhere until more people learn the needed skills. Consider developing training courses or modules for your existing staff that can help them upskill to meet the needs of modern IT deployment.
Do More with Less
Another option is to rely on technology to empower your existing teams to do more with less. While this does not directly solve the skills shortage, it helps you get more done with those skilled workers you do have.
Again, the right field services management software makes all the difference here. Sending too many techs to a deployment severely limits your ability to get work done. So does sending out a truck that is not fully equipped to get the job done.
Work with a Partner with Access to the Right Skills
Our final strategy for overcoming a skills shortage is to look outside your own team or organization. By working with an enablement partner like Kinettix, you gain access to a deep roster of contingent techs with the right skills, distributed across the globe.
No matter where you need to deploy a project or what skills you need on the site, Kinettix gets you taken care of.
Want to see what Kinettix can do for you? Let’s talk!