The Age of Outsourced Field Service Contingent Labor

Changing labor supply chain strategies marks a new era for service companies


Through these processes, the service level agreements (SLAs) that meet customers’ requirements have held steady at extremely high levels of quality. These performance standards remain fixed at a 92-to-97 percent level of success for on-time performance and first-time resolution including documents; photos; sign-off sheets; test data runs; and parts/device returns. It’s important to recognize that these levels of performance are roughly equal to the levels attained by full-time technical employees and, consequently, signify a definitive change in quality expectations.

In many cases, having a single service model of full-time employment is no longer a viable business option for some companies. With the integration of new staffing models comes a changing employment environment for field service technicians. This shift in employment options has brought about both challenges and opportunities to the technical workforce.

While some technicians struggled with the changing market, other techs enthusiastically embraced the opportunities that are now available to them in this model. Access to a source that provides a continuous flow of jobs allows technicians to spend more time working as opposed to job hunting. Technicians are also able to become part of client-preferred lists resulting in a steady, consistent stream of work. This contract-based workflow engaged both employed and retired technicians who take advantage of the opportunity to supplement their income on a per job basis. Also relevant is the emergence of small, independently-owned, tech companies. These have sprung up as a lucrative response to the steady stream of work available through technology service portals.

Service models on the horizon

As outsourced field service labor becomes more commonplace for American companies with national needs, a new global trend appears to be on the horizon. Field service portals are taking a step further and enabling technology service companies to extend their coverage into global markets. Portals are beginning to facilitate partnerships with international companies that have a network of technicians on the ground. This new contingent field service labor model allows companies to grow their business for global coverage without increasing costs. This rest of world coverage can be run and managed through the same service portals as an extension of North American work, which allows equal levels of quality to be achieved for the same cost.

Marty Reader is Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Minnetonka, Minn.-based FieldSolutions Inc., a provider of independent field service technicians to the electronics industry. With more than 25 years of B2B services experience in field-centric services companies, Reader held numerous thought-leadership roles in human resource strategy and analytics, and outsourced service strategy.

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