PraxedoOur blog How to get the best from your broadband engineer teams
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How to get the best from your broadband engineer teams

Lauriane Potin
November 9, 2022
6 min. read

Across the UK, cities, towns and villages are undergoing transformation, as broadband companies, with the support of their partners and contractors, install fibre optic technology and connect up homes and businesses, at a collective rate of thousands per week. This undertaking requires the effort of many hundreds and thousands of engineers. Managers are expected to maintain high volumes of installations across their teams, based on a “right first time” ethos, with minimal errors; to ensure targets that are reached, safety standards are prioritised and customers are satisfied.

Typically, managers may be responsible for planning and prioritising teams or projects and working with other teams to ensure efficient installations. Broadband installations consist of several phases, from enabling and civils works, from roadworks to installation of ducts and poles as well as trimming vegetation, to undertaking of cabling work, which can include aerial and underground wires, to splicing, termination and testing.

Each phase must be completed correctly and safely ahead of the next. Because the role can require managing multiple projects and teams at any given time, managers will need to be well-organised and efficient to ensure delivery processes are being followed. Such roles also entail producing status reports on projects and teams and maintaining motivation among teams to consistently complete high volumes of installations.

How you can empower your engineers to be more productive

Managers cannot be in all places at once or working alongside every engineer in their team. Field service management (FSM) software designed for the telecoms/broadband industry, spanning fibre to copper cable network installations, comes with multiple features and benefits that support managers when it comes to helping them get the best from the engineers and field service teams they manage. It does this by streamlining engineers’ schedules in real-time and reduce travel time between each
customer location.

As a result, engineers spend less time in their vehicle and more time getting on with installations or other jobs such as maintenance tasks or customer callouts. When productivity is increased across multiple teams or projects, rollouts can be achieved on time and operational savings achieved.

Gain transparency and insight into how jobs are progressing

The software also provides a level of transparency that more conventional systems may not be able to provide. Once a project is planned and schedules are finalised and jobs are raised, this information is recorded in a digital format so that managers have a record of schedules and jobs for each engineer in their fleet or on a project. This minimises potential for discrepancy and error.

Keep track of who is doing what and engineers’ whereabouts

FSM provides a 360° view of engineer’s whereabouts and work progress. Real-time work order tracking is achieved through different “views” – “Available”, “Driving” and “Working” provide an engineer’s activity and work order status so quick decisions can be made about who can respond more promptly to an urgent call-out, for example.

Activity tracking features report valuable data like actual vs planned work time, and hours worked per day, per week and monthly.

Whenever an engineer changes their status, there’s also an option to send end customers alerts to keep them updated at every stage of a work order. Field service management software for broadband has online/offline capability so managers and
engineer teams can always be connected, even in very rural areas.

Key benefits of FSM software for managers

Simplify scheduling

Dispatching engineers is made easier with a drag and drop scheduling feature allowing a quick simple way to move work orders, change schedules and allocate jobs within teams and fleets.

Optimise tasks and jobs

Flexible settings enable enhanced dispatching by setting parameters customised to scale and type of job or project.

Ease management and dispatch of teams and equipment

Enter skills for each engineer into the software to group engineers into teams, based on different skills to complete installations, then allocate equipment and tools and assign them to a job, to enable complete control of the availability of field resources.

Benefit from real-time geolocation

The ability to see where the locations of teams of engineers via their smartphone GPS locations, at any given time, is a helpful for seeing where engineers are in the field or between jobs.

Interactive Cockpit dashboard

FSM has a Cockpit dashboard developed to provide an overview of what’s happening in the field at any given moment. It instantly updates a wide range of indicators, allowing managers to keep an eye on how jobs are progressing when mobile teams are in the field.

It can facilitate the setting of custom alerts to increase the response rate of teams. Safety is a fundamental priority in the telecoms/broadband industry. The Cockpit dashboard helps ensure field operations are conducted in the safest manner, for example by allowing managers to assign tasks to field personnel with the correct levels of training.

Ensure KPIs are met and exceeded

Metrics are the only way to know if broadband installations are on track, if maintenance-related work is being carried out to a high standard or if call outs and repair jobs are being addressed promptly. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are vital benchmarks that indicate how successfully engineers are completing installations or other jobs, whether they are taking too long, whether there is a high incidence of errors or tasks having to be redone, all of which can impact budgets and timelines for broadband rollouts.

A mobile workforce management solution for broadband providers can analyse KPIs based on work order histories among engineers and can quickly pinpoint areas that can use improvement by monitoring number of jobs, actual time spent on-site, and overall performance of your field engineers.

It can provide information to see if KPIs such as the following examples are being met:

  • Planned value, which estimates the total cost of the remaining planned project activities based on a specific reporting date.
  • Planned vs. actual hours, which is the amount of time a project was estimated to take versus the actual hours it took to complete.
  • Resource utilisation, which shows how effectively your project resources are being used.
  • Schedule variance, which identifies whether a project is ahead or behind the planned schedule and by
    how much.