As field service businesses evolve, they start to outgrow many of the tools they use to operate the service department. Small businesses may be able to get away with a more simplistic field service software that focuses just on break/fix work order completion with a limited scheduling capability, but larger, and scaling operations require a more robust platform.
With the growth in your field service business, you should also evaluate the software you are using to ensure it’s still a fit. Solutions geared towards smaller companies lack the functionality of a more extensive, more enterprise operation. They can actually hinder your growth by requiring manual inputs or offering limited integrations and automation.
Keep pace with your business growth with your software’s growth by noticing signs that your current field service software isn’t up for the challenge anymore, and it’s time to look for another platform.
Your teams are on two different systems
One of the most common themes we’ve experienced is companies using two or more systems for different departments. For example, many growing companies in the HVAC industry have a team for everyday break/fix maintenance work and another for installation projections. Often, those two departments are on different systems, which means there is a lack of visibility into both operations. As a result, business owners can’t get the full scope of their business without looking into two systems, and technicians have to use two solutions or be siloed into one specific role.
That was a problem Waibel had before adopting Fieldpoint, as they have their teams completely separated.
“We perform services on existing equipment as well as construction project work, and those two worlds were written separately and handled separately in the previous system,” said Mike Cooper, Director of Information Technology for Waibel. “So, it made it hard to show resources or track revenue, and hard to unify the way we’re trying to operate our business.”
It’s hard to get answers if you have to use two systems. By unifying into a single platform, you get the full scope of your entire business, the revenue it’s generating, and the utilization of your technicians. In Waibel’s case, as technicians worked on projects or break/fix maintenance, they were inputting their time into one system rather than two, which gave service managers a chance to see exactly how much work they were doing.
Evolving into a mobile operation
Smaller field service software may come with a very limited mobile capability if any at all. For example, simple mobile apps allow technicians to see work orders and enter time, but they can’t handle complex requirements like ordering parts, completing checklists, generating invoices, or taking payments.
A limited mobile app reduces the effectiveness of your technicians. Kraft Power, an engine-generator systems specialist company, was doing plenty of manual work and missing out on business because they lacked a mobile app. Technicians wrote down that customers needed quotes on paper, and they were often missed.
“The process we had before was all manual,” said Brian Donahoe, Information Technology Manager for Kraft Power. “The technician would write down, on a sheet of paper, that the customer needed a quote and the required parts and services. It was then up to somebody in the office to catch that on the sheet of paper.”
Technicians are now using a mobile app for everything from work order management, timesheets, scheduling, entering work order details, requesting quotes, and directly billing their time on projects and having it apply to the right project to know exactly how much they were working. It started to give control to the technicians who had a mobile app that was essentially field service software in their pocket.
“The technicians were still using paper at the time. We were looking for something that had a mobile component to it for the technicians,” said Donahoe. “Between the scheduling and the timesheet detail, where they’re entering work details on the work order, or entering in their indirect time to a project we created to capture that information, they’re in charge of their own time now. Now all of that is entered into the mobile app.”
Basic mobile apps may help a team early on, but as your operation grows, you can quickly outgrow the limited functions mobile apps have. And with mobility being one of the significant trends in the field service industry for the foreseeable future, having a lacklustre application isn’t something that will help you scale your operation.
Needing more software solutions to integrate
As your operation grows, the need for more software will come with it. That could mean an ERP, CRM, and accounting software that better aligns with the size of your company. Using basic accounting software for an enterprise operation limits your ability but also may not integrate with your field service software, creating a gap between the two systems. And that may require manual data input between the two systems, which could result in errors.
Nwestco, a design, permit, construction, and maintenance company that offers turnkey project construction of petroleum equipment, had this problem as they grew. Their previous accounting system couldn’t handle their needs, so when they went to NetSuite, they got a field service software that could integrate with their new ERP and accounting system for a complete field service platform.
“We outgrew QuickBooks because of the size of our company, and that’s when we looked at NetSuite,” said Dave Vanderploeg, Director of IT and Operations with Nwestco. “One of the weak points was that all invoices had to be entered manually into QuickBooks. They had to go in and hit each part number and quantity. So all of that is eliminated.”
The combination of Fieldpoint and NetSuite streamlined many of their processes, including workflows that automated invoicing and purchasing. Both could be started in Fieldpoint and completed in NetSuite without any manual effort from the accounting team. Before the integration, they used multiple systems for different processes, and now they have two integrated solutions, and their field service team works in just Fieldpoint.
As companies grow, their needs for more software grow as well. So, your field service software needs to be able to support multiple integrations so you can leverage all the tools you need to be successful.
Let your field service software grow with you
Field service software needs to fit the size of the business, and as you outgrow your old software, it’s important to see the signs that it’s time to move on to something that can handle your new size. In addition, finding a field service software that can adapt as you grow is ideal, as you can change workflows as needed to eliminate the need to move to another software.
Fieldpoint has worked with many businesses that transferred away from smaller field service software with limited functions and needed a more robust solution. Over time, Fieldpoint helped them evolve their software to continue to fit the needs of their operation. Our software offers a customizable solution that can deliver for a growing business and give you stability in your service department.
Contact us today to see how Fieldpoint is the right fit for your evolving business and how our field service software can advance your service operations.