LogicaCMG has revealed the results of a pan-European research that found that businesses could be losing €5m each year by not providing real-time asset information to engineers in the field.

A lack of flexibility in rescheduling work dynamically could also be contributing to this cost.

The report showed that field service crews in the telecoms, utilities, transport and allied service industries spend 39 per cent of their time back at base or en route to jobs, thus only spending 61 per cent of their time actually working. According to LogicaCMG, by reducing commuting time, companies with 500 field workers could save almost €2m annually.

People who took part in the survey said they felt that remote access to real-time information on the location and status of assets could solve the productivity problem. They also believed that it would save eight per cent of travelling time and increase overall productivity by nine per cent.

There were large differences in productivity between the industry sectors analysed by the report. For example, European utility field service teams spent 42 per cent of their time on non-productive tasks, compared with telecommunication companies at 34 per cent.

According to LogicaCMG, the productivity differences means that there is a need to share best practice methods across the industry sectors in order to close the gap.

The study also highlighted the top concern (an average 80 per cent) of European field managers, which was the inability to reschedule workloads while engineers were on the move.

Alternately, the inability to get real-time information to engineers was the biggest concern for airports (84 per cent) and improving customer information while at a call out was highest for utilities (84 per cent) and for telecommunications companies (86 per cent).

‘If organisations can maintain and make available to their engineers accurate, real-time information about the location and condition of assets this could reduce operational costs by 7 to 8.5 per cent – an amount that could make a significant difference to profits for what are essentially low margin businesses,’ said Nigel Spooner, group director for Enterprise Asset Management at LogicaCMG.

‘The lack of accurate information in the field has an impact on customer service quality too. Respondents noted that their customers report poor service because they are not given information on the time needed to complete work and fix faults.’