In a high-growth company, technology is the link to streamlining people and processes at every stage.Each department of the business adopts a ‘best-in-breed’ software to improve its day–to–day productivity. A CRM software to manage customers, an accounting system for billing and procurements, a work order management system to streamline service requests; in the quest to achieve short-term goals, the proper planning of FSM software often takes a back seat. The lack of coordination and integration between these stand-alone software systems results in multiple inefficiencies and challenges. Duplication of employee efforts, incorrect data, mismanaged information, and lack of real-time visibility are some of the challenges your business could face. The sooner you identify the warning signs from your disconnected systems, the sooner you can improve your business’s efficiency and productivity.
Once a technician completes a work order, he/she needs to communicate the details of the service provided to the invoicing department. The particulars can range from customer details, service details, inventory used all the way to time spent. When these details are provided over a call, email or even face–to–face, there is the potential for errors. For example, an incorrect part number, incomplete customer address or a difference in the part cost; any inconsistency reflects poorly on the company’s service performance and ultimately its reputation.
The Solution: Streamlined FSM Data Between Service and Accounting Departments
If the details of a work order are automatically updated in the accounting and inventory system(s), it results in faster processing and accurate information. An invoice should be generated as soon as the work order is completed. A technician can capture customer signatures, close work orders from the field, and immediately have all expenses and time applied to the invoice. This helps in a significant reduction in data entry errors and escalates the invoicing process. Overall a well integrated FSM software leads to higher customer satisfaction and improved cash flow for your business.
Barriers in Project Management
Field service projects require complex job planning, taking into account multiple resources, equipment and schedules. These projects need weeks and/or months of planning. The project manager also needs to have updated access to all these resources over the project’s timeline. For example, he/she needs to know the technician’s availability two weeks from now and ensure the technician has access to the necessary equipment to complete the job. Any inefficiency in this planning may result in loss of labor hours, rescheduling of technicians or a delay in project completion.
The Solution: Real-time Visibility of Resources
The manager can take control of planning if all different resources involved in a project are available on a single dashboard. Materials, parts and equipment, estimated job hours, costs, and technician availability are visible and updated in real-time. This automatic flow of information reduces the back and forth of communication between the different departments. Any change in one resource is visible to all concerned departments and parties on a shared screen, resulting in on-time project completion with higher accuracy.
Losing Revenue with Inaccurate Quotes
Manually preparing a quote requires you to pull out information, like labor and material costs, from different accounting and inventory software. It is a tedious task to locate the details from different sources. Once you find what you’re looking for, the information in your old files may not be accurate and the manual entry into a quote may result in data entry errors. A critical aspect of a quote is the profit margin; if any of the costs are incorrect, you could end up with a lower quote and lose revenue.
The Solution: A Powerful Quoting System
If you have a pre-built quote template, it can lead to faster quote creation without the need to enter multiple line items to define standard configurations. An option to add your mark–up to this pre-built quote will help you keep consistent profit margins. An integration of your quoting system with the CRM, ERP, and accounting software will make it instantaneous to collect the information while ensuring that it’s correct. Once the quote is approved, the same information (parts and labor items) is converted into a work order, ready to be scheduled. This saves time on data entry, eliminates any margin of error and leads to higher efficiency.
Missed Service Level Agreements
The long-term revenue and profitability of a service business comes from perpetual service contracts and maintenance agreements. In an industry where customer acquisition costs are so high, a service business cannot afford to lose customer contracts due to mismanaged schedules, unstructured paperwork or stand-alone systems.
The Solution: Automated Service Level Agreements
Based on the type of service agreement, a work order should be created automatically. To maintain a perfect workflow, the new work order is attached with appropriate checklists, inventory parts and tasks. Further, following the contract’s schedule, work orders and invoices are generated automatically, facilitating complete management of the service contract. This way, you can be on top of your agreements at all times, ensuring higher customer satisfaction.