How Important Is Real-Time in Field Service?


Last updated Nov 19, 2018 at 9:42AM | Published on Nov 19, 2018 | HVAC

Field service is seeing a new trend emerge. It is going above and beyond the ‘on-demand’ type of service operation. When Uber and Netflix turned our world into an on-demand service space, field service had to react to customer demands for the same level of service for their HVAC, industrial equipment, IT Services and fire and life safety maintenance. It meant that at a push of a button, service organizations had to be ready to roll out technicians to complete a job, or to get work orders created with a simple scan of a QR code or email sent to a specific trigger address.

However the problem for field service organizations was that on-demand wasn’t good enough for them. They had to go beyond in their own business to handle that level of service request from their customers. It’s why today, real-time is such a popular term used today. Especially when speaking about field service software, because field service organizations are now, more than ever, needing information that is accurate to the minute across multiple sectors of their business to be able to perform at the on-demand pace.

Manual process won’t be able handle any on-demand or real-time service, so if you’re not using a field service management software, it’s going to be very difficult to make real-time decisions. Not without getting real-time information coming in from the field. Here is how field service software is bringing service operations into the real-time.

Schedule, dispatch and route in real-time

Things in a field service operation can change quickly. At one moment, it could be a quiet day, but then some emergency calls come in, major problems with customers under contract, new requests for service can make a day very busy. And on the road, traffic can change in an instant, accidents happen, and roads are closed. Now this is out of a dispatcher’s hands. However with real-time information from the field, they can adjust to better suit their customers, and ensure technicians have the best optimal schedule.

Advanced routing tools are being fed real-time information from the field. This includes the location of customers and technicians. Including those that are driving to their next appointment. Dispatchers are now able to see exactly where everyone is. In the case of an emergency, they can find the nearest technician, and reroute them to that new service call. At the same time, they can optimize other technicians service calls to limit their idle time.

With live traffic information, dispatchers can reroute technicians around any slowdowns or traffic jams, therefore ensuring that a technician is never missing a scheduled appointment.

Track technician’s progress in the field

As part of dispatchers trying to schedule additional work orders, it is important to know where the technician is. However it is also important to know where they are in their service call tfigure out how much time they have left. Using a field service mobile app, technicians can get a real-time look into the progression of the service call. They now know where the technician is in the appointment. This is important for alerting customers with appointments coming up of any changes in the schedule, or if a technician is running early or late.

Data and information from the field for real-time decision making

One of the most powerful real-time functions field service management software offers is in reporting capabilities. With a Business Intelligence module in your field service software, you can narrow down any analytics you want from the field and turn them into reports. However those numbers are only as good from the time you generate them. If you are using data that is days, weeks or even months old, you won’t be able to make informed business decisions that reflect your operations current state.

With real-time data tracking and recording, information from the field is immediately gathered by Business Intelligence and is part of any active reports, graphs, metrics or dashboards you have programed. You can collect data about how long each technician is driving to service calls, how long they are taking to complete the work, what parts you use the most daily, and figure out who you best technician is.

With paper-based reporting, someone must process the numbers and turn them into the reports themselves, whereas with Business Intelligence, you decide which reports and analytics matter to you, which Key Performance Indicators you want to follow, and get up to the minute information coming straight from the source. This allows you to notice discrepancies today, and make changes today, which will have better results than if you were to find out weeks after.

Field Service Software is Moving Real-Time

Real-time information is powerful! Therefore field service software is making sure that dispatchers, managers and technicians have the most recent information possible. Now they can make the best decisions possible. To keep up with an on-demand lifestyle, it requires greater than on-demand information, and managers and dispatchers don’t have time to request information, but rather, need that information in their hands now, in order to effectively deliver positive change across their field service team.