EV CHARGING STATIONS: PLAN YOUR FIELD MAINTENANCE & INSTALLATION OPERATIONS
3 min. reading time
14 July 2022 ·
lectromobility is now not so much a future thought - it's already broken through. The share of electric cars compared to combustion engines, and now even hybrids, is steadily increasing.
This means that the demand for charging stations is also increasing. In the UK, outside of major cities, demand outstrips supply leading to long wait times and maintenance SLAs set to critical! This is a good opportunity for providers of charging stations, wallboxes and the like, but they need an efficient planning solution for technical field service to be able to meet these demands.
As of June 2022, there are almost 42,000 charging stations (public charging points) in the UK that supply electric vehicles (source: EDF Energy). With the growing number of municipal and delivery specific electric vehicles on the roads, the demand for EV charging points in planning efforts is also increasing. More and more suppliers are entering the market, leading to a fierce price war in this potentially lucrative area.
CHARGING STATION MAINTENANCE IS CUSTOMER SERVICE
In addition to the price of electricity, the reliability of the charging stations is what counts most for customers. Nothing damages trust more than when the charging station they are used to regularly breaks down. Providers of charging stations and wallboxes can therefore build a reliable customer base through regular maintenance and reactive repairs. In this way, you protect yourself against new competitors that are entering the e-mobility market. In addition, the fewer failures a charge point operator (charging station operator) has, the higher the turnover and margin.
That's why proactive maintenance cycles and effective field service are in the interest of every charging station operator. While the charging stations are often the latest technology, the planning and control of the service technicians (the Field Service Management), remains outdated in many companies.
INEFFECTIVE FIELD SERVICE PLANNING DAMAGES EV CHARGE POINT OPERATORS
When it comes to well-organised installation and maintenance, some electric mobility service teams still have room for improvement. Daily manual or overnight batch scheduling by inexperienced field service managers may be 'good enough'. But absences due to illness, traffic jams on important routes, and disruptions that cannot be planned in advance repeatedly overturn the original job order and route planning.
COST PRESSURES AND EMPLOYEE FRUSTRATION IN THE CHARGING STATION BUSINESS
At the same time, there is already an increasing cost pressure through fierce competition and parts/wages inflation. Therefore, a charge point operator must handle its technical service resources as efficiently as possible. Inadequate scheduling and in-day control not only hurts business, but also leads to stress and frustration among the service technicians.
Constant pressure to work faster, and overtime due to inefficient planning wears on field technicians and operatives. It lowers satisfaction and can even lead to hard-to-fill vacancies. This can produce a vicious circle, especially at this time of a shortage of skilled workers.
INTELLIGENT AND DYNAMIC SOFTWARE OPTIMISES FIELD SERVICE
How can technical field services do better? The solution is similar to that of e-mobility itself: the use of digital tools and technology that is already available - and continually improving. When planning your field service, deploy software that has been specially developed to meet the needs of the technical field service. Modern route planning software calculates the best deployment outcome for your technicians (or for other employees in the field, such as technical inspectors or field sales teams), within seconds.
A BEST-IN-CLASS ALGORITHM SCHEDULES THE BEST OUTCOME
The basis for this are intelligent algorithms that determine the optimal scheduling according to your specifications and take into account all restrictions for the planning (deadlines, required skills, maintenance cycles, spare parts, etc.). Furthermore, with a route and tour planning software you not only build your plan for today, but can also react to acute emergencies and breakdowns in real time. The system creates an adapted operational plan, again within seconds.
SHORTER WAITING TIMES AND HIGHER SERVICE QUALITY
With top-rated software for deployment and route planning, your EV charging point maintenance technicians become more productive. Intelligent field service planning reduces waiting times for your customers. Fault history, precise skill, and material matching to the order reduces planning errors in the maintenance, installation, and repair of your charging stations. The first-time-fix rate increases and the time your employees 'waste' driving decreases thanks to dynamic route planning.
IS YOUR FIELD SERVICE MANAGEMENT READY FOR 2022?
Check against these 10 factors to remain competitive.
BENEFITS OF INTELLIGENT SOFTWARE FOR EV CHARGING STATION PROVIDERS
A professional field service solution increases the productivity of your operations in many ways. You reduce costs without your service losing quality - quite the opposite. The time you save in dispatching and in the field removes pressures from your staff and bottom line, and your people can devote themselves to other, more productive tasks than driving and 'appointment tetris'.
Other advantages that route planning software such as FLS VISITOUR offers companies for the installation, maintenance and repair of EV charging stations:
Individual automation: you choose which tasks the planning software should handle for you and where you prefer to continue to plan manually.
Comprehensive planning: The software provides you with all of the data on your work orders at a glance, making it easier for you to plan your operations holistically.
Real-time optimisation: You always receive the best routes and deployment options for your fleet immediately, even in the event of last-minute changes.
Better communication: In combination with a mobile app, communication between head office, depots, and field staff is improved.
Increased sustainability: route optimisation reduces miles driven, cutting fuel spend and your CO2 emissions.
OPTIMISED SCHEDULING FOR EV CHARGING STATION TECHNICIANS
Just as electric cars are replacing the combustion engine, intelligent systems for route planning are replacing the outdated practices of Excel, Outlook, and Google Maps. It doesn't take many assignments and resources in the field to prove that algorithms are simply better at optimal planning. Your reactions to sudden changes in the daily schedule are much faster; but they're equally more balanced and cost-optimised. With a field service solution, your workflows mirror the needs of future operations.
TALK TO FLS ABOUT FIELD SERVICE MANAGEMENT FOR EV INFRASTRUCTURE