For any size of field service operation, gaining visibility is the number one reason they are turning to field service mobile apps. Mobile field service management is pulling many service departments out of the stone age of paper-based processes and giving them electronic methods to better their service delivery. Paper-based work orders are a clumsy system to use, especially if you want to gain visibility into your workforce.
Visibility comes in many different forms. From dispatchers to technicians, from work orders going out to work orders coming back in, there is plenty to see going both directions. Unfortunately, when your communication is limited to the paper you print your work orders on, everyday problems can be harmful to your business’s performance.
Let’s take a look at some simple, everyday field service problems that can be solved by using field service mobile apps.
Scheduling without field service mobile apps
Scheduling and dispatch are already very difficult processes to undertake. But without some form of mobile field service management, dispatchers may be limited in who they can send to a job site. That’s because visibility into the customer may narrow down who dispatchers can send the job to. Scheduling is less optimal if you have limited options. You’re then scheduling around what is best for the technician, and not what is best for the customer.
With field service mobiles apps: Visibility into your customers opens up when you give your technicians field service mobile apps to use. Firstly, all your customer information and equipment is made available. Secondly, all past service history is available to the technician. Finally, because visibility is open to your entire workforce, any technician can look at service history and become a customer expert. Dispatchers are then able to schedule the first available technician, rather than the one who has been to the job before. In cases where it’s an emergency or contract demands need to be met, this kind of mobile field service management will make a lasting difference in your responses to service requests.
Paper-based work orders offer limited visibility
Along with paper-based work orders being time-consuming to produce, fill out and process, they lack any form of visibility – both for the technician and back office. On paper, it’s easy to forget to jot notes down, and often they lack critical information. Things such as:
- What parts were used
- The full details of a solution
- Request for a quote for additional service
- Accurate tracking of labor and travel time
So, when those work orders need to be processed, it can cause expenses to be missed and incomplete information entered. Customers could be overcharged, or undercharged, depend on the information the technician writes down. That’s a lose-lose situation either way.
With field service mobile apps: Technicians on field service mobile apps have to complete each part of the work order in order to close out. Required fields and checklists keep your technician not only on task but also ensures they enter in all critical information when billing. Furthermore, travel and labor time are tracked properly, giving you an accurate account of all the technicians work hours.
Field service mobile apps provide record visibility
Part of any good mobile field service management strategy is collecting valuable information from the field service mobile apps. Paper-based work orders always need to be processed, and as we wrote earlier, not everything gets put down on paper. Even when it is all written down, it has to be read correctly. Then input into a system, analyzed and turned into reports. There is a serious lack of visibility into the business when you have to do all those steps. Furthermore, it reduces the type of analytics you can have. That’s because someone has to do all the calculations to figure out: first-time fix rates, average travel time, part consumption and profit margins on each job.
With field service mobile apps: Visibility into your business grows with a mobile field service management strategy that is powered by field service mobile apps. It’s open lines from the field to the back office. And it turns all the data that the technician is collecting into useful analytics. Where paper-based work orders are slow in their turnaround time and accuracy, information from field service mobile apps is automatically turned into useful data. It’s a real-time look into what is happening in your business. That isn’t something you can get with paper. The result is a faster analysis of data that can lead to business decisions to stop the escalation of problems.
An open line of communication
If communication between your back office and technicians in the field is an issue, then a mobile field service management strategy is something to consider. Whether it’s changing a work order to include additional tasks or parts, changing a scheduled service call time, or adding more calls, communication is critical between the office and the technician. With paper-based work orders, that requires a phone call, and for the technician to write notes down on the work order to either remove or add tasks. It’s possible those tasks get missed, or information isn’t recorded properly. And if large changes need to happen, the technician may need to return to the office to get a new work order, wasting time they could be working.
With field service mobile apps: Any changes that need to be made happen through the field service mobile apps. Updates to schedules, work orders and tasks happen instantly, without the technician even knowing it. It reduces the amount of communication. However, dispatchers now have greater insight into the movements of their technicians. They can see status updates and the GPS location of the technician because of the field service mobile apps. Whether the technician needs something from the office or the other way around, the lines of communication have opened because of this mobile field service management strategy.
Add visibility with field service mobile apps
In order to run a successful field service operation, you need to add visibility to your team. Between technicians, managers, and dispatchers, there is plenty of insight they can’t get from paper-based work orders. So, turning to field service mobile apps as part of an overarching mobile field service management strategy will get you the visibility you need. It will reduce the amount of paper, analytical time, and lost revenue. And replace it with real-time information, open lines of communication and accurate reporting of all things happening in the field.