If your business relies on field and remote workers, then there is no other way to handle the massive work involved than using a field service management software. Manually supervising employee activities, tracking vehicles, scheduling work, dispatching technicians would simply not cut it anymore. If the cost of new investment figures heavily in the conversation, consider shooting for a solution priced within your current budget. Never miss the opportunity to scale up or down, however.
This article aims to provide a guide on field service management software. It covers topics ranging from the issues they resolve, the basic and advanced benefits they provide businesses, to providing examples of FSM systems to consider among others.
Field service management (FSM) software is a class of computer programs designed to see that field service businesses stay on top of works and the employees dispatched to attend to them. To do so, it streamlines and automates the key processes or tasks involved in managing workers and services.
The processes typically involve personnel management, request monitoring, keeping transparency into every operation, vehicle tracking, and integration with other business systems.
FSM systems are usually employed by companies that handle installations, repairs, and services of equipment or systems. These include businesses that provide service in the fields of HVAC, property maintenance, healthcare, cable, telecommunications, and heavy engineering.
Through the years, the evolution of FSM software has made it a viable and useful solution not only for multinational enterprises but for small businesses as well.
This article aims to provide a guide on field service management software; tackling the issues they resolve, talking about the expected benefits from utilizing them, providing examples of FSM systems to consider, and many others.
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Field management software may be split into the major services that they are intended to work with. In this case, the four major categories are repair, maintenance, installation/project commissioning, consultation.
Field service management software can also be classified according to their deployment architecture. Typically it means either on-premise or cloud deployment.
Businesses that incorporate field service management software in their workflow can increase their productivity in terms of jobs completed each day by up to 47%. How is that possible? We list the reasons for this, as well as the other benefits of using FSM software. You may also learn more about how field service management software can simplify your processes.
Field service personnel are decentralized, with the workers out in the field. This makes manual scheduling inefficient and cumbersome, even erroneous at times. To fix this issue, FMS tools are equipped with smart scheduling features. These automatically identify the position of each worker and assign the task to the nearest worker with the right skill set. This saves companies time and effort. To top it off, companies eliminate overlapping and duplicated tasks. Managers also acquire better visibility of the job progress of their technicians.
For field service workers, longtime drives are common. Unfortunately, they are unprofitable as well, since clients are rarely in close proximity to each other. This forces businesses to spend more time and fuel on trips. FMS software can significantly lower the time drivers spend on the road. The result is immediate while cutting down on fuel expenditure as well. This is done by assigning an optimal route for a driver to follow. Taking essential factors into account—client locations, time windows for technicians, and others—allows the system to create a route to minimize travel times.
Insufficient information about a task on hand can lead to a repeated call to the office. This is a crucial aspect that the leading field service management solutions address. The software can accurately record and relay job info such as expenses, parts required, and time spent. This results in the reduced time that technicians spend in sourcing the needed parts. It can also reduce the number of visits to clients since the right materials for the job are brought properly.
First-time fixes can directly affect how clients feel about the service of the companies. That is because customers can become frustrated when their problems aren’t solved on the first visit. This is commonly due to the lack of spare parts and expertise. Aside from that, the business itself stands to suffer financial losses thanks to additional scheduling, more fuel usage, late penalties, and more. In this situation, FMS comes to the rescue. With its intelligent scheduling capability, it puts the right specialist with the right skill set to the job. Advanced inventory management ensures that spare parts will always be available. Also, problems can be communicated a lot more clearly. This guarantees that the equipment that technicians bring are right for the job.
Employees’ safety is paramount. This is why dispatch must maintain constant contact with workers. They must have a process in place in case emergencies occur. This is because jobs in field service often involve a high degree of risk. Field service management software is capable of tracking vehicle and worker location in real time. This way, the central office can easily warn them of any danger that might be on their way. And if anything happens, the dispatch can know the worker’s last location. It informs them where to send emergency teams.
With all the data that must be collected and manually calculated, it’s not a rare occasion when a certain work requires weeks to be properly assessed. With FSM systems, however, technicians can quickly send every job detail from the field. This includes the used materials and parts, e-signature of clients, time spent on the task, and pictures of the job result. FSM software will also consider discounts, account warranties, and other special pricing conditions when automatically calculating the price.
You can link some field service management applications with telematics technologies. Doing so allows companies to control the locations of their equipment. The system then gathers essential information about the equipment’s maintenance state, condition, and the personnel who used it. And with its location tracking capabilities, the system can determine if the asset is stolen or used without proper authorization.
One important aspect of growing a business is understanding how it’s faring. Knowing the weaknesses and potential issues allows a company to know where to properly direct their efforts. In this regard, the comprehensive analytics provided by field service management software is a big leap forward. Businesses will have access to important metrics regarding their KPIs such as average repair times, completion of a service call, the number of daily scheduled and completed jobs, return visits, idle times, and more. This information also provides them with opportunities for increasing their efficiency.
Employees are the building blocks of organizations. A company’s success relies on their performance. For field service management companies, it’s imperative that their field workers are able to adhere to their designated schedules while away from the office. FMS software allows operations managers to monitor all the technicians’ real-time location. They are also able to track their field staff’s performance and compliance with their assigned hours and jobs. It’s easier and faster to allocate work orders and manage task distribution on a day-to-day basis.
Manual transfer of information is prone to errors and duplicate entries. To prevent such troublesome situations, FMS solutions feature automated capabilities to eliminate errors from masses of paper-based works. Thus, they effectively prevent duplicate entries and data loss. They provide real-time analytics to help dispatch paperwork efficiently.
Many of the businesses in the field service management industry rely heavily on inventory access. With its capability to check the stock balance in real time even from the field, FMS software is very useful in this regard. It notifies operations personnel if there are materials shortages so that stock will never run out, especially when they’re needed most. Also, buying bulk items in advance allows companies to fetch a better price from the market.
Customer satisfaction is the major defining success factor in field services. FMS software can enhance customer satisfaction in many ways. With route optimization, mobile access to information, and sending the most suited specialist for the job, field workers render and complete services faster. The system also increases the engagement between technicians and customers. Moreover, improvement in billing processes, providing email reminders, automatic booking, and other customer-centric features reduces the rate of customer dissatisfaction. FMS solutions also offer many ways of measuring customer satisfaction. One that easily comes to mind is by using real-time feedback. This is a significant feature since businesses do better with essential insights on how they can improve their services.
Salesforce Field Service Lightning is a smart FSM solution that features Einstein Vision, an AI that raises the rate of successful first-time fixes through image recognition. By ensuring that the product part replaced is the right one, it eliminates hassle and wastage related to multiple trips back to the office. It also automates jobs designation through intelligent scheduling. The app accomplishes this by using criteria such as business rules, locations, skills, and time. It also comes with a customizable mobile app that empowers the mobile workforce of the companies.
You can use all the features for free for a period of time to see if the software matches your needs. Simply sign up for Salesforce Field Service Lightning free trial here.
ProntoForms features a low-code FSM system that allows anyone to create mobile forms and applications. All of these are good news for people working in the field. It also features automated mobile workflows. This is handy for distributing field data to the stakeholders, the systems, as well as cloud sources. The KPI dashboards allow comprehensive tracking of field productivity, compliance, and quality. ProntoForms can also enable users to route inspection data to every relevant system and recipient. These come in the form of either official documents or custom inputs. See how ProntoForms compares to other leading field servicing tool in the market.
Jobber mainly targets fast-growing home service businesses. It made its name for its affordability and ease of use. It automates many day-to-day activities such as invoicing, scheduling, and quoting. Features like CRM, automated communications, and self-service online portal enrich the customer experience. These push them to keep coming back. Jobber also offers secure and convenient ways of receiving payments via credit cards. Agents can do these in the field or in the office.
The vendor has an appealing free trial where you can tinker with the features at no cost. You can sign up for Jobber free trial here.
QuickBooks Enterprise goes beyond field service management software by adding in accounting, project management, and other features. Comprehensive workflows come with customized pricing, advanced inventory management, job costing center, and financial reporting. It also works in perfect harmony with other QuickBooks products such as QuickBooks POS.
An appealing test drive of all software features is available to you when you sign up for QuickBooks Enterprise free trial here.
mHelpDesk is an all-around FMS software specially designed to cater to the needs of field service providers. mHelpDesk turbocharges repetitive and manual processes in order for users to focus more on their core business. It lets you automate multiple business tasks including customer contact, communication, scheduling, billing, and many more. It also provides pre-built templates that can be used to produce quick estimates and accurate calculation of job costs and profits.
If you want to know more about the features you can easily sign up for mHelpDesk free trial here.
The most expensive field service management software does not always translate to being the best for any business. In the same way, the cheapest does not always mean a good deal. Before actually purchasing the product, here are some of the factors that you must thoroughly consider:
Pricing is a major consideration when it comes to choosing which field service management software to purchase. Vendors offer their FMS using different pricing schemes.
You need to exercise caution when deploying your choice of field service management software. In order to do that, consider the following:
The cost of dispatching multiple field technicians to handle work in a single site makes it imperative for one worker to be more flexible and learn more than one skill set. When technicians have a number of skills, they can be scheduled for any number of jobs. This is especially important if the job site is just close. The dispatcher will not have to spend more time looking for the right person for the job then. This drive for a liquid workforce allows companies the convenience of dispatching any worker available no matter the job order that comes in.
Field service companies will also do well to invest in the virtual and augmented reality technology. The value of this technology will prove immense, allowing expert technicians to assist others since they would be looking at the overlay of machines and structures as if they were there. Virtual machines should make the training of field technicians faster and better. Why? Because virtual repair simulates the real thing as close as they can ever be.
Virtual reality (AR) and augmented reality (AR) are already proving to be game-changers. They are expected to disrupt many industries, including the FSM sphere. By allowing a faithful scan of the job condition, the company can then sync with its inventory management system to ensure that all the required parts are available.
Companies that lack experts in one service category can dispatch the closest worker. They get live updates from the expert who uses VR or AR to walk the worker on-site through the required tasks needed to complete the job. Not only that, the expert can do the same not just for one but also for other technicians similarly needing the assist from the head office.
If your field service business is seeing spikes in problem areas, then most likely the time has come for you to purchase an FSM solution. By such time, you should have the problem areas clear so choosing the right solutions should be easier.
You would do best starting with the FSM tools designed especially for small businesses if you are starting with a limited budget. You can also start with our FSM examples. When you do, don’t forget to jump on the free trial, which is usually offered by the vendors.
For Salesforce Field Service Lightning, for example, you can easily sign up for Salesforce Field Service Lightning free trial here.
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