For a cascade of reasons, mostly related to the pandemic, project managers are currently facing supply chain disruptions, challenges with staffing, and numerous other difficulties.
When it comes to IT deployments and service delivery, any single lack of project resources threatens to delay or derail a project. And when you are dealing with resource shortages on multiple fronts, getting any field services scheduled and completed on time seems almost helpless.
It is an unusual moment, one with plenty of challenges. Consider these tips for overcoming resource shortages — both material and personnel — so you will stick to your IT deployment schedule and satisfy your clients and customers.
1. Avoid Overpromising
While we are certainly not discounting the lack of project resources happening on multiple fronts, this strategy for not getting stuck is more philosophical than practical. Start with changing your mindset on resource management. Instead of saying yes to whatever work opportunities surface, learn to say no, and to avoid over-promising.
When your existing team or material resources are maxed out, say no to that next project if you do not have a plan in place to deal with the resource constraints.
Put simply, six happy customers are more valuable in the long run than seven unhappy ones. Scale those numbers to make sense for your situation, but you get the idea.
Of course, to avoid overpromising, you will need a clear sense of what your resources and resource loads look like at any given moment. The right field services management software makes all the difference here.
2. Prioritize Appropriately
Along those same lines, it is acceptable to acknowledge (internally, that is) that not every client has the same net value. And it is sometimes strategic to prioritize those clients and projects by that value. In a perfect world, no one gets short shrift. But if you have to pick and choose who gets the best service, it pays to pick wisely.
We’ve written about this before on the blog, so check out our post on prioritizing your IT deployment schedule post-pandemic.
3. Start Earlier to Overcome Longer Lead Times
One of the persistent outcomes of pandemic-related closures and disruptions is longer lead times across all sorts of sectors. These lead times are not all consistent: a supplier may claim four weeks but take eight, and nothing can quite overcome a supplier failing to deliver when promised.
But where these longer lead times are consistent, you can keep them from delaying your projects. You just have to start your work a bit earlier.
We would all like to get back to a place where the parts flow in exactly when they always have, but it could be a while before we get there.
So, for the time being, look at your material needs and the associated lead times much earlier in the project planning process than you typically would. Once you find the longest lead time, you build the procurement or even project schedule around that bottleneck.
In the end, this should be a fairly small adjustment for you or your team. And your clients will remain satisfied as you are able to complete field services projects on time with greater frequency.
4. Better Leverage Your IT Deployment Personnel
There are certain equipment shortages or delays that you simply cannot overcome: service delivery teams cannot install Wi-Fi routers they do not have, plain and simple.
But personnel shortages? Often, those are different. True, you may be struggling to find the optimal number of personnel. But there are plenty of places to look for additional capacity — without hiring a single new employee.
Consider the resource drain of rolling a truck that does not have the right tools or parts. Such a move practically doubles the time of a field services call — and thus uses up the assigned staff, who could have been off to the next job by now.
Consider as well the opportunity cost of sending too many (or too few) techs to an install. Either way, you will have folks sitting around, either because they are not needed or they are waiting on reinforcements.
In these situations, it is less about the number of personnel you have access to and more about how efficiently you are using the personnel you have.
The right field services management software makes all the difference here. This tool helps you solve common personnel mismatch issues and even lets you inventory a truck before it rolls out to a job site. Your teams also ensure that they have everything they need for an install using digital checklists and tools — much more reliable than paper lists or the senior tech’s memory.
Kinettix can help you manage field management services software, among other areas of your IT deployments. If you are in need of last-mile service delivery techs, Kinettix has a robust network of techs ready to increase your reach and speed.
Ready to see what Kinettix can do for you? Let’s chat.