In field service, the work order is king. Everything comes down to the work order. Whether it’s a work order created from a preventative maintenance call, or as part of a project, or simply an emergency call, it all comes down to the work order. Managing work orders is definitely a top priority for field service management organizations, as so much of the business runs through the work order. That’s why work order management software is being used as the main tool to streamline the work order process on all fronts.
When it comes time to choose a work order management software, there are plenty of factors to think about. How much time is it going to save you per work order? Will your technicians be able to complete them easily with a mobile field service app, or are they still being printed off to be completed manually? Is someone having to build every aspect of the work order, or will automation take care of a lot of the work? The benefits definitely outweigh the negatives, and field service management organizations are saving 15-30% of their maintenance budgets because they went with a software solution.
Let’s look at a typical day in field service with work orders and how a work order management software benefits the business.
Every request begins with a work order
A customer is on the phone with your call center agent needing to request service. There is plenty of information to collect early in a phone call to start building a work order.
- Customer’s name
- Contact information
- Service location
In work order management software, all of that is a simple click away. When you start working with software, all your customer information is brought over from your CRM system. So, customers loaded into QuickBooks, NetSuite or Microsoft GP are available in your work order management system.
With that complete, move on to gathering information about the service call, including problems and possible solutions. What a work order management system does is give you a uniform way of handling service requests. Rather than spending time producing paper-based work orders, information is readily available in an easy to use system. This speeds up the creation of work orders and makes it easy to create a work order for any type of maintenance call.
A standard workflow that never fails
What happens to a work order when it’s on a piece of paper? How does it get from the person who took the phone call, to the dispatcher, to the technician in the field and back again? That’s a lot of hands that work order has to touch to go from a phone call to an invoice. And when you’re dealing with work order management, you’re trying to optimize each stage of a work order’s life. It’s important to know where your work orders slow down during their regular workflow.
Perhaps information is being missed by our call center reps and it’s not getting passed onto your dispatchers. Or your technicians have to drive back to the office to pick up a new work order because a change was made. And one of the slowest processes is turning that work order back in and processing it. Someone has to manually enter in all the information on the work order, calculate costs and invoice the customer. And that’s providing the technician’s handwriting is legible and they turn the work order in on time.
With a work order management software, a standard workflow is built in to get the work order from the call center rep to the dispatcher to the technician and back. Work orders can be prioritized so dispatchers know they have to go out first. And with mobile field service apps, work orders are sent back to the office as soon as the technician closes the call on the phone. So, no more waiting for the work order to be turned back in or trying to read someone’s handwriting.
Complete the work order using mobile apps
Gone are the days of pen and paper. It’s a mobile world now and work order management systems are benefiting from mobile field service apps. It’s becoming a go-to strategy for field service management organizations to have a mobile solution. On their mobile app, technicians can complete any part of the work order. Firstly, they check-in and out of the job site, collecting the proper work time. Secondly, they complete any listed tasks or checklists available by inserting information on their phones. This makes it readable for anyone involved. Finally, they insert any parts or expenses used and collect a customer signature to close out the call.
As previously mentioned, once the call is completed, the work order goes directly back into the work order management software. Workflow and automation take over and that work order can be turned quickly into an invoice. It can all be done in minutes now, rather than weeks to get an invoice back into the hands of the customer. Mobile apps also make it easier to schedule technicians and move work orders around. Dispatchers have greater control of technician movements, saving time on driving. They can reschedule work orders, insert new ones and make updates to existing ones, all without having to communicate those changes. They just show up on the mobile app, ready for the technician to complete when ready.
Work Order Management Software is an important piece of field service
To make a major difference in your field service management, you need to manage the most important thing for your business. The work order is the lifeblood of any field service operation. It is how information is passed from the office to the field. And it’s how the field tells the office how much to invoice for. Without a work order management software, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of all the paperwork. It can delay getting work completed and invoices out the door. And it’s easy to lose a work order when it is paper laying around on a desk or in a truck.
Get a system that is going to benefit every day of your field service life. With a mobile app solution included work order management software can change how you look at field service management.