In an earlier post we shared how Field Services (FS) executives are dealing with brutal cuts and little time to accomplish it. We shared one, proven solution that can help – Variability Reduction (VR). VR provides a ‘shortcut’ solution that gets you fact based data fast to focus on where real and rapid cost reduction opportunities can be found, while also identifying customer service improvement opportunities.
One reason VR is so effective is it offers an incremental approach to widespread improvement. VR can be applied to any FS metric. Examples include cost reduction efforts for labor, parts and vehicle fleets. Other examples are operational results for mean time to repair (MTTR), first visit resolution (FVR), and depot repair stats. The ability to create a repeatable process, backed by proper education, can support real culture change about what effective continuous improvement looks like?
RTM Consulting’s Variability Improvement Model
How do I implement VR? The best advice is to think big but start small. Pick a problem area you want to address and put in place a six-step process to achieve your VR plan for that metric:
- Define the problem
- Collect the data
- Conduct the analysis and identify root cause(s)
- Create counter-measures
- Implement counter-measures
- Create and execute an appropriate change management plan
Critical Success Factors
Experience with VR can help any company avoid the pitfalls of a failed VR initiative. Some keys we find important include:
- Gain top down commitment to the approach and the need for institutionalizing VR – while success can be had with a one-off implementation, the real benefit comes from establishing the continuous nature of the process
- Make sure the mission is clear – fast results for cost reduction/control, and customer service improvements
- Data quality is very important
- Provide education on VR for all involved – this can be a culture shift for some, but an important culture shift nonetheless
- Build and execute a change management plan
Get Started Now
For organizations with little or no VR experience, education is a great starting point. It grounds everyone in the landscape of VR and helps everyone think about how the technique can be applied to organizational needs. Even for teams with VR experience, education can help bring structure and a common approach to VR. RTMC has a great course on VR that can be taken remotely or in-class. RTM Consulting can also provide experienced consultants to lead your VR efforts if you have needs for VR capabilities, capacity or both.