The first time fix (FTF) conundrum

First time fix is arguably the most well-known SLA in the mobile engineer sector.

For good reason.

With clients wanting jobs fixed there and then, what can be better than doing just that, and therefore sending your mobile engineers out to do a ‘quick’ collection of materials needed to complete the works?

The reality is not quite the same.

Whilst first time fix (FTF) rates are usually somewhere above 70% for most electrical or lighting contracts, analysis shows that it isn’t necessarily collection materials that is driving this.  Many first time fix rates are high simply because they are either 24hr fix (agreed with the client) or because the job has been made safe and a new job raised for a quoted works.

However, to push for first time fix, engineers are encouraged to go and collect the materials they need, needlessly wasting hours of precious time that could be spent elsewhere. 

The Conundrum | How can you be productive yet maintain a high first time fix rate?

Consider the below case studies.

In one live case study, engineers were costing the FM provider over £100 a week each on time spent collecting materials.  For a 500-engineer strong team, that’s over £50,000 a week, or £2.5M a year.

For another live case study, the FM provider insisted they were hitting 75% first time fix, and whilst productivity was a challenge, they had to collect to hit that first time fix rate.  However, on deeper investigation, much of that was actually being ordered in a wholesaler branch for next day delivery, then being collected next day for the job to be completed.  They still hit their FTF SLA because it was ‘fixed within 24hrs’.  However, they had huge issues with orders being collected, and then engineers being called to other jobs, going on holiday or going on sick leave with a van full of materials for jobs, resulting in them having to be ordered twice, or even three times, for the same job.

Finally, one of the largest providers of mobile engineer contracts was insistent on being able to collect from wholesalers to hit first time fix rates.  The reality was engineers were using a small amount of site stock and van stock to make safe, then raising a new job to complete larger works which had to be approved by the client anyway.  There was no way of completing first time fix for any job over the client approval limit.  On top of this, the jobs the client was approving were taking far longer than they should have resulting in them missing Priority 2 and Priority 3 SLA’s.

You can maintain a high first time fix rate but boost productivity!

A high first time fix rate should not be the reason for low engineer productivity.  Engineers collecting from wholesalers is wasting an inordinate amount of time in the FM sector and is rarely the number one reason for a high first time fix rate.  Consider the following:

  • What is the actual time frame for your first time fix SLA?  If 24hrs, why are engineers wasting hours of time to collect?
  • How many of your jobs are over the client approval limit and therefore can’t be fixed immediately?  Engineers shouldn’t have to collect materials for a job that needs to wait for approval anyway.
  • How many first time fix jobs are fixed with van or site stock?
  • How many first time fix jobs are made safe, closed down and a new job raised to finish the works?
  • How much time is being spent by engineers travelling or collecting trying to fix a job first time?
  • How often can engineers actually get the materials they require to complete the job first time?

With a typical engineer spending over 500 hours a year collecting materials, how much of that time could be saved by truly analysing what a first time fix is for your company and discouraging engineers from wasting time collecting or travelling when it won’t affect the rate.

The simplyonsite system is being increasingly used by the FM sector to maximise engineer productivity.  Through the direct-to-site, or to easierPOINT, delivery model, engineers maximise their time spent on site, boosting productivity by up to 30% and dramatically reducing the operating cost of servicing the mobile engineer contract.

Not only that, but through contract specific stocking, engineers have access to unusual items found on a contract the next morning, rather than having to order through a wholesaler and collect.

With the automated notifications and reporting, engineers and admin teams know exactly when items are on site, dramatically improving productivity and eliminating failed visits.

As the UK’s most innovative distributor of lighting, electrical and compliance materials to mobile engineer teams, RLT Group is transforming the FM sector and allowing FM providers to do more for less.

Speak to one of the team on 0151 480 4000 and solve your first time fix conundrum today!


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