Field service management is ready to achieve remarkable things due to the rapid digital transformation happening across the industry. New tools, including work order software, dispatch software and integrations to ERP, CRM, accounting and the Internet of Things (IoT), are giving those who embrace technology a competitive edge.
Here we will identify some of the best practices to optimize your business and achieve a more meaningful transformation of your field service management environment. That includes:
- Increasing business agility
- Streamlining data entry
- Capturing data accurately
- Leveraging automation
- Expanding visualization
Increase the agility of your business
Today’s work environments don’t stand still. They are agile and workflows can be adapted to fit a range of outcomes and needs. Field service management today is about being as agile as possible and using technology to transform your business from a static one to one that is agile. With work order software, it can be customized in many different ways to achieve this agility your business needs. That includes using applications to quick change data paths, or have workflows produce multiple results, as opposed to one.
For example, think about when you prepare a work order. How much data is going into that work order and how much is coming out? Depending on the type of service call and the time, rates can change, which requires different workflows than your standard rates. Data coming in from CRM and ERP systems can trigger service contracts you have signed with customers, prompting warranties, different payment arrangements and response times. And coming out of that work order is all the data on first-time fix rates and analytics about the service calls you take.
Streamlining data entry
Field service management is almost data management. There is so much data moving that errors and omissions are commonplace. Even the simplest address or phone number can be the difference in the customer experience or getting the job completed on time. And re-entering data from one system, such as a spreadsheet or paper forms, into an electronic system can be time-consuming.
Digital transformation of data entry may be one of the cornerstone pieces of word order software and digital systems. Where it may have been difficult before to go from paper form to digital form, now there are entire integrations build to share information between massive systems. Work order software is connected to things like ERP and CRM systems, accounting software for inventory and tax software. It eliminates duplicate entry as data is shared and updating information in one system updates the information in all systems. With this streamlined approach, every corner of your business is using the same data, regardless of the use.
Capturing data accurately
Field service management is also about data capturing. Data is always flowing into your business and the digital transformation is making great use of all that data. Does your business employ someone to capture data? How about someone who has to turn paper work orders into invoices? That’s a simple example, but it’s still data that needs to be processed into something else. Now imagine having to do that for every work order, plus extensive calculation to figure out analytics around your business.
The digital transformation of field service management has put a spotlight on how data is captured, specifically in the field. Mobile field service apps are a direct correlation to that transformation, as field service management leaders understood that the most important data was coming from the field. And to properly capture it, it was important to develop a device that captures it at the first point of contact, that being the technician. Now mobile apps have the ability to guide workflows, assist in repairs and through checklists and required fields, provide accuracy in all the data being collected.
Learning to leverage automation
To achieve digital transformation, you need to automate as many processes as you can. And that means leveraging a work order system that can automate workflows. It touches on a lot of the points already discussed, as automation will increase the agility of your business, will help streamline data and captured data can activate workflow automation you have already built. That’s how technicians in the field can leave the job site with the customer already having an invoice. Once they close the work order on their mobile phone, automation is what takes care of finalizing the work order, transferring it to the accounting software and producing an invoice to send to the customer.
Automation isn’t just for the simple tasks, but also for complex periodic tasks as well. That includes data convergence, such as building reports and analytics from all the piles of data coming into the business. It can also include advance systems like IoT, where sensors trigger an escalation in your work order software that prompts a service call without the customer having to call in themselves. It’s how the industry is moving towards predictive maintenance.
Expand your business visually
Making your business visual is a key benefit of work order software and digital transformation. Field service management is visual, and these visual operations can be vital to the core functionality of a business. With the data coming in and being transformed into analytics, those numbers can be displayed in visual graphs and dashboards, giving management a clear look at the trends, without having to dissect the numbers themselves.
It’s also inherently useful for dispatchers, as visualized dispatching has given them actual maps with the location of each of their technicians, appointments and unscheduled appointments to better assist in the dispatching, scheduling and routing of technicians. It’s easy to see on a visual map that a technician is passing by a job site for a new service call, rather than pulling out a physical map or relying on the dispatcher’s knowledge of the area.
The best practice is to digitally transform your field service management
The overall best practice when it comes to field service management is to digitally transform your business. Build a digital experience that assists everyone in your business and helps them enter, collect, analyze and visualize all the data coming into your word order software. New technology offers an opportunity to completely change your business operations and optimize the many processes you have to work better for you.