COVID Still Disrupting Workforce Productivity

2021 Prophecy – Part 3

In case you missed our whitepaper “Service Supply Chain Prophecy: 2021 and Beyond” and our webinar of the same name, we want to offer a bit of each of our prophecies here in our blog.

We’ve all experienced the impacts of 2020. Offices sat empty as most daily routines moved into the home. Business and personal travel dwindled to record lows. Many of the shifts of 2020 weren’t just temporary; they disrupted the status quo and presented organizations with a lingering batch of challenges.

For service organizations, one of these challenges concerns the fabric of their workforce. As a consequence of extreme declines in activity during 2020, many had to furlough or lay off technicians. Now, even if business returns to pre-pandemic levels in the second half of 2021 or 2022, some of those experienced technicians will not return to the workforce.

There are multiple reasons for this:

  1. Near-retirement technicians may stay in retirement, at least partially.
  2. Companies will use technology to supplant the loss of experience when they hire replacement techs.

New Tech to Bolster a New Workforce

A technician retirement boom has been discussed for years now, and it looks like the COVID crisis will accelerate it. That said, the existing group of seasoned employees may need to spend more time providing guidance to a cohort of new, less experienced replacements.

To accommodate this, continued growth in technology such as augmented reality (AR) tools will likely grow in adoption, enabling experienced technicians to provide remote guidance to newer employees as they man the field.

Additionally, more organizations will probably use machine learning tools to leverage insights from experienced technicians, even after they’ve retired. One such example involves harvesting call history to capture best-service approaches, looking at the root cause of successfully closed cases and how they were solved.

Act now:

  1. Consider ways to better capitalize on remaining long-tenured and highly experienced technicians to lift the entire organization.
  2. Implement workflows and technology solutions such as AR that allow these techs to both train and make your whole team more productive.

For a deeper look at this prophecy, be sure to listen to our on-demand webinar. You can find summaries of our other 2021 predictions in the Baxter Planning blog, too! Check out the blogs for prophecies one and two.

Mike Ross
Director of Product Strategy

Mike Ross is one of our primary subject matter experts. He has been on the Baxter Planning team since 2000, currently as Director of Product Strategy. Mike works on new feature conceptualization, requirements, and product design.

For more than 20 years Mike Ross has designed, developed, implemented, and supported off-the-shelf solutions for service parts planning that have been used at over 100 companies in a broad range of industries, including telecommunications, medical equipment, energy, imaging, printing, and aerospace. Mike has led many service-parts implementation and consulting projects and maintains solid client relationships focused on continuing education and process improvement. And in 2014, he was named as a Supply Chain “Pro to Know” by Supply and Demand Chain Executive magazine.

Mike lives in the Rochester, NY area with his wife and three amazing kids, as well as a dog, three fish, a leopard gecko, and a hedgehog. Mike and his wife enjoy running 5Ks (slowly) in their spare time.