How Do You Prioritize Service Work with a Massive Backlog?

By January 16, 2020 January 27th, 2020 Blog, Rental Software

While a multitude of factors contribute to success in the rental industry, in the eyes of many, fleet health comes ahead of everything else. After all, every potential order that can’t be fulfilled due to lack of rent-ready equipment represents a lost sale, and customers aren’t likely to stay loyal to rental companies that fail to meet their expectations. What’s more, well-maintained assets are less costly to own as they breakdown less often, and thus require less repairs over their lifecycles. Sounds great, doesn’t it? With all of those benefits, every rental company must keep their fleets in tip-top shape, right?

If only things were that easy. In reality, many rental service departments struggle to keep pace with the short and long-term needs of their assets. While most service managers and technicians intend to get around to important (if not urgent) tasks like preventative maintenance, such tasks are often sidelined by imperative work needed to fulfill orders. As a result, service teams tend to operate reactively (without a coherent strategy), as opposed to proactively. And while this approach may keep rental companies afloat in the short-term, this tack ultimately results in assets not receiving the attention they need, and subsequently, suboptimal fleet health. Over time, backlogs grow out of control as mechanics simply lack the bandwidth to take care of tasks not immediately needed.

So if maintaining a healthy fleet is a core goal of every rental, and over-sized backlogs stand in the way of that objective, what can service teams do? This blog post aims to answer that question.

Prioritizing Service Work

Completing any large amount of work requires starting somewhere, but determining what tasks to complete first is easier said than done. This is where strategic prioritization comes in.

It’s important for service managers to recognize that service tasks provide different levels of value. For example, getting an asset with a high per rent margin rent-ready represents greater potential gain than turning around an asset with a comparatively lower per rent ROI. In a vacuum (with all other external factors removed), it makes the most financial sense to focus on repairing that higher value asset first. Service managers can employ this line of thinking to breakdown their backlog into a hierarchy of tasks, prioritized by business value.

Of course, the example cited above represents a very simple scenario, and in reality, things are often much more complex.

  • What if an asset has a high per rent margin but is seldom rented? Does getting it rent-ready have the same business value as preparing multiple, lower margin assets?
  • How does time come into play? Is it worth spending hours on a particular asset when another one can be turned around in a fraction of the time?
  • What about fulfilling service tasks for orders from highly valued customers? Should they devote additional effort to keeping their business?

These are all difficult questions that service managers need to be able to answer on the fly in order to lead their teams to success. Unfortunately, service managers often have very little visibility over their backlogs and the availability of their technicians. And as a result, it can be extremely difficult for them to set priorities effectively with such limited information.

Thankfully, Wynne offers a solution that alleviates those visibility limitations and even provides prioritization suggestions.

Prioritization Suggestions from ReadyLink

ReadyLink, Wynne’s revolutionary service scheduling and prioritization solution, is designed to help service teams overcome the chaos that holds so many rental companies from achieving their full potential. By surfacing business needs as they arise, ReadyLink empowers service managers with a complete understanding of their backlog, what tasks are being worked on, and the progress their technicians are making in real-time. What’s more, via a specially developed algorithm, ReadyLink provides prioritization suggestions to service managers so that they can maximize their mechanic’s time.

Service work plays an instrumental (if underappreciated) role at every rental company. The demands service departments face are often excessive, but with the right strategic approach, service teams can overcome such challenges and keep the fleets they shepherd in optimal condition.

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