Using AR to Address an Aging Workforce Crisis

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Older field technicians are starting to retire in large numbers, causing challenges for field service organizations. The world’s population aged 60+ is growing faster than any other age group. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), by 2022 more than 25% of the U.S. labor force will be in the 55+ age category.

In a recent report by The Service Council, workforce and talent issues were highlighted as one of the top challenges faced by service organizations with 70% of field service organizations reporting they are concerned about knowledge loss related to the retiring workforce and insufficient incoming workers.

Many service organizations are seeing the benefits of remote virtual support to solve two related problems at once: capturing the knowledge of experienced technicians while attracting and training new talent.

Knowledge Sharing through Experience

Learning studies have shown that workers prefer learning from each other over more formal training methods. Mentorship and coaching programs combat future knowledge loss while fostering camaraderie within the workforce. These programs also help incoming workers identify career paths and specializations that they might want to pursue, which reduces churn.

By pairing the benefits of mentorship with the power of technology, field service organizations are finding that using remote support they solve two problems at once. First, they allow technicians approaching retirement age to stay in the workforce for longer by supplying their experience, knowledge, and insight remotely.

Second, they are able to onboard new talent quickly. Having remote expert technicians ready to assist means getting new workers in the field faster while providing them all the resources they need to successfully perform services while expanding their knowledge.

Leveraging Technology to Empower Technicians

Specific recommendations on what technology is helping reduce the skills gap in field service included using mobile devices to reduce administrative tasks and remove obstacles from technicians’ workdays. Remote visual support does both by streamlining processes without cumbersome manual data entry and providing rich resources and access to experienced experts.

One of the other highlighted recommendations was increasing the level of connectivity to increase efficiency. Specifically, eliminating unnecessary truck rolls through remote visual assistance that improves diagnostic procedures and information access.

Harnessing the Power of AR

Using Augmented Reality technology is a popular strategy to address the issue of the aging workforce as well as a way to increase first-time fix rates and improve efficiency by reducing truck rolls. Most organizations using or evaluating augmented reality see clear value in using the technology in both field service execution and field service performance support.

AR has extensive implications for training delivery including dynamic content creation. The benefits of this are multifold: as technicians are better prepared for their tasks with the help of augmented content and access to remote experts, they are able to resolve service tasks with the most efficient use of both parts and time.

Success with SightCall

At SightCall, we’re helping field service organizations to overcome this challenge through the power of remote visual assistance. Our customers have been able to bridge the knowledge and skills gap between older generation field technicians and new trainees and apprentices.

In addition to widespread benefits including drastically reducing travel costs and parts wastage, remote visual support with SightCall enables on-the-job training and often decreases the time to train new or junior technicians by 41%.

The data collected through remote visual support sessions provides an invaluable knowledge share across the organization, so you can build a repertoire of visual documentation that can be used for future training across the business.

Remote field service with SightCall has helped Fike Corporation train and onboard new technicians, placing them at the innovative edge of avoiding developing skill shortages. Junior technicians can join a session alongside their senior counterparts to see their best-in-class support in action, allowing Fike to onboard and nurture internal talent in real-world settings while providing excellent service to their customers.

In addition to the benefits of nurturing new talent, Fike has seen a 90% reduction in travel costs and a 70% decrease in customer response times.

For more information on how to use AR-powered visual assistance to empower your technicians and avoid the challenges of the emerging skills gap, contact one of our experts today.

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