Smart Hands Vs. Certified Labor

September 29, 2016

A growing area of our business and expanding need for our customers is service delivery and project rollouts to locations scattered across the US.  As you might imagine the focus is always delivering the highest possible quality at the lowest price.  This often prompts the question “should I use certified technicians or Smart Hands?”

First, let’s define the two.  I will then share my thoughts on how to approach this evaluation since Optus offers both solutions and we will see the benefits of both depending on the need.

Optus defines Smart Hands as skilled labor that is able to follow specific instructions on site but doesn’t possess training or expertise in the specific technology they are touching so the “smarts” have to come from another source.  Optus provides a TAC for many products and manages this expertise remotely with certified technicians and project managers.  In other cases, the customer manages the “smarts” with their own in-house IT team or an OEM provides support.  Regardless, the tech in the field is being provided direction remotely from an expert.

Certified technician labor is when the field tech possesses the training and the skillset to do all of the work on-site with no support or minimal assistance.

When determining which solution is best, I always examine it from the finished project backwards coupled with answering the following questions.

  • Can Smart Hands complete the required work based on the skillset needed at the site?
  •  If no, then a certified technician should be utilized.
  •  If yes, what is the cost of the remote support needed to drive the Smart Hands?
  • What is the efficiency loss by utilizing Smart Hands over certified technicians in the field?

In my experience there is almost always some efficiency loss when using Smart Hands versus certified technicians. To get a true assessment of actual Smart Hands cost add the estimated efficiency loss, the cost of the remote TAC support and your Smart Hands standard rate.

At the end of the day, it’s all about having the project done right and understanding the total cost to achieve.  On service work the same philosophy applies.  You might argue to add a warranty buffer for Smart Hands on service due to additional callback in addition to the efficiency buffer.  Bottom line, it’s always about the cost per site and never about the hourly rate.  I often see too many customers getting hung up on the rate without looking at a comprehensive analysis and regretting it.

Both are good solutions when leveraged and managed properly.  When in doubt, reach out to an expert like Optus who offers both solutions and never someone who only has one flavor.  You can bet what their recommendation will be.



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