Changing customer expectations, miscommunications, and service delays can all slow down your team. Thankfully, modern solutions can help you streamline your workflows and reduce the administrative burden, but there are still plenty of roadblocks that lie in wait.
So what are the challenges for you to look out for, why is it so important to get your field service management right, and how can technology streamline the process?
What is involved in field service management?
Field service management (FSM) is the management of jobs that you and your technicians, contractors, and operators perform out in the field. Your teams might leave the premises to maintain, repair, and install equipment and assets for businesses in industries including manufacturing, oil and gas, and energy and utilities.
Field service managers are responsible for coordinating the work of their technicians, operators, and contractors, including:
- Field service scheduling: arranging service appointments, employee schedules, and completion timelines
- Field service dispatch: deciding when field service technicians are sent out on work assignments
- Work order management: assigning and tracking work orders from creation through to customer invoicing
- Inventory management: making sure there are enough parts and supplies for technicians to perform the work
- Field service contract management: managing contracts with customers and maintaining service levels
However, those are just the headline responsibilities of a field service manager. In reality, the role encompasses every aspect of service delivery as well as the management of the people and processes working behind the scenes. A field service manager’s tasks also include:
- Costing and quoting for jobs
- Optimizing resource routing
- Creating checklists for technicians
- Managing preventive maintenance contracts
- Running customer portals
- Managing invoicing
- Completing reporting and analytics
Why is field service management important?
Managing a field service team is loaded with all sorts of challenges and complications. Managers must juggle a lot of balls effectively to enable their technicians to deliver a smooth and efficient service to their customers.
Some of the common challenges field service managers face include managing the flow of communication, making sure the work quality meets expectations, attracting and retaining talent, and coping with expanding service needs.
The service technicians in the field face challenges of their own. Scheduling conflicts, the ability to obtain the right data, unexpected return trips, and miscommunications about job tasks all make it difficult to complete jobs on time and within budget.
Overcoming these challenges is where field service management is key. When you do it right, field service management takes into account all of these variables and transforms them into a profitable, predictable, and consistent process.
Until recently, you had to log, monitor, and track the process manually, but over time, customer expectations have changed. Customers now want better service, lower prices, and more technology from their service providers. That has made manual FSM a thing of the past, with field service managers now able to work more efficiently using modern software solutions.
What is field service management software?
Field service management software automates and helps to keep track of the various components involved in the operation of a team of service technicians. It helps managers and technicians to process jobs orders, automate scheduling, and manage customer service contracts.
Some of the other features in FSM software include:
- Internal communication tools
- End-to-end project management
- Automated appointment reminders
- Customer invoicing
- Route planning
- Real-time inventory management
- Field data collection
- Payment collection
- Tracking service and repair tasks
This comprehensive range of features means that rather than a nice-to-have, field service management software has become essential for any business that takes FSM seriously.
The increase in the popularity of FSM software has been largely driven by the rise of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business models. Rather than paying the heavy upfront costs associated with buying software outright, smaller businesses can now access the latest FSM software through a more affordable monthly subscription fee. This accessibility has led to a surge in use, with an industry report predicting that the FSM software market will grow by USD 3.68 billion between 2021 and 2025.
Downward pressure costs, heightened by Covid-19, have also strengthened the reliance on FSM software. The increasing need for workforce productivity has also played its part, with businesses searching for ways to maintain their profit margins by making sure their workforce is as productive as possible. Field service management software helps on both fronts, enabling businesses to streamline processes to reduce their costs while improving the allocation of resources to boost workforce productivity.
What are the benefits of field service management software?
Field service management software can help to enhance the productivity of both managers and technicians. The benefits can be immediate, such as the ability to access real-time data on any device, and longer-term, with more effective resource management helping to improve the customer experience.
Here are just a few of the reasons field service teams are implementing FSM software:
Real-time access to information
One of the biggest benefits of FSM software is that it enables managers and their teams to access real-time information. That can range from customer history to inventory levels, and much more. Having a central source of the latest data helps businesses make faster and more informed decisions.
Increased process automation
The manual administration of field service workers is time-consuming and prone to human error. FSM software allows you to automate tasks such as sending out reminders, scheduling, and issuing work orders. That helps to save time and reduce the risk of mistakes that could be costly for your business.
Stronger inter-departmental communication
FSM software connects field workers with their managers and other departments to improve the speed and efficiency of collaboration between them. As an example, the software can connect field workers who require the assistance of other skilled technicians on-site for complex jobs such as installations. The result is faster coordination and better service for your customers.
There are upfront and ongoing cost efficiencies associated with FSM software. The upfront cost savings come from improved workforce management while the incremental savings result from the more efficient allocation of resources.
Better customer service
By giving you quicker and more accurate responses to customer issues, field service management software can help businesses to reduce the number of complaints. The ability to track, monitor, and assign resources in real time also helps to avoid time-consuming mistakes and allows you to dispatch the right service technicians more quickly to your customers.
How does enterprise asset management software help?
ManagerPlus is an enterprise asset management solution that reduces operating costs by combining the functions of asset management, maintenance, and field service management in a single platform.
It enables you to generate, track, and store work orders in a centralized, easy-to-use solution. And because ManagerPlus is based in the cloud, all of that data is accessible to everyone in the business, on any connected device, and from any location.
You can also secure and share valuable knowledge about your customers with custom work order templates that are packed with notes and advice from your best technicians. That ensures your team has everything it needs to deliver an efficient and high-quality service. Importantly, all of that data is stored securely inside a central, cloud-based database. That gives your entire field service team access to a single point of truth that’s always up to date.
Field service management can be operationally complex and customers have become more demanding. That’s why manual methods of tracking, monitoring, and logging field service management processes are being replaced by field service management software. Field service management software automates and helps to keep track of the various tasks that are involved in the operation of a team of service technicians. It can help managers and technicians to process job orders, automate scheduling, and manage customer service contracts to create a more profitable and predictable process. ManagerPlus is field service management software that can help you to reduce your operating costs and improve your field team’s efficiency.