What is Field Service Management Software?
Field service management software is designed for companies which provide mainly services, such as telecommunications, facilities, energy and utilities and property maintenance, and for those who offer products which require after-sales services or maintenance – such as household goods, security systems, hardware and other equipment. How about the scale? Of course, the financial effects of FSM software will be more visible in companies that employ hundreds or thousands of mobile workers, but small and medium-sized companies should notice the difference in the quality of management, especially in monitoring options and simplified task assignments.
Why does field service management software bring value?
As this area is connected with a great variety of processes, people and regions, all these factors increase the complexity of planning service delivery of high quality. Even very experienced planners are not able to process the growing volumes of data to plan schedules optimally without the support of software. Service providers also implement FSM software to minimize the risk of mistakes which generally result in poor service quality.
What are the most visible effects of the implementation?
Improved service efficiency – with the software, most crucial service processes can be automated. Complex spreadsheets completed by many employees are replaced with a just few clicks in the system. For example, mobile workers receive tasks straight to their calendars on their mobile apps, without any intermediaries. The systems ensures that assignments are allocated appropriately, based on the configured workflow. Service delivery is shortened thanks to automated centralization of work orders from many sources, and through optimal assignment of tasks, which is the most time-consuming factor in service planning. As a result, service providers increase the number of tasks performed each day, improve SLA compliance, and lower mean time to complete the task.
Cost optimization – This is a result of optimal management of tasks, resources, well-planned routes to clients’ premises, and appropriate task assignment. After implementing field service management software, companies limit costs related to fuel consumption, call center operations and penalties for SLA non-compliance, and limit the amount of revenue lost due to workers’ idle time or ineffective service delivery.
Monitoring – by equipping workers with mobile apps, which need to be updated in real-time (for instance, to report task status), coordinators are constantly informed about how many tasks have been performed and what are the current steps. With extra reports on task performance, managers have a tool to monitor average performance and SLA compliance, by worker or region.
Limited fraud and theft – the more involved workers, the more distant the regions in which they operate, and the more clients to manage, the higher risk of misuse. Tracking such activity is pretty challenging. With the software, you can identify whether an image of finished work was updated at the client’s location, or what equipment a given worker is currently using.
What processes are supported?
Resource management – mobile workers need to be assigned with the tasks which match their current skills, experience, availability and location. Field staff also need training updates and sometimes a day off. All of these elements change over time, which makes managing resources much more complicated, even if the company manages ten mobile workers. The system enables all data to be stored in the system and used to automate the daily work of supervisors, avoiding costly mistakes.
Service request management – service providers receive service order requests from various sources, such as trouble ticketing or CRM systems, or service chats via a website. With the ongoing influx of new service tasks happening at different times, planning the execution of these jobs is pretty overwhelming. But, with some integration with FSM software, all tasks will be stored and easily accessible in one place, updated in real-time.
Planning and scheduling – with all data about workers in the system, planning service visits becomes extremely simple thanks to the automatic algorithm which is responsible for making decisions about who should visit a given client, and when. As a result, manual work is limited to some more complex tasks.
Work order execution – real-time updates of the status of field service visits, as well as uploading photos and the client’s signature, oblige mobile workers to let supervisors know how the task is executed. In such a way, FSM software keeps them motivated to do their best.
Communication – resolving complicated issues on time requires smooth communication between coordinators and mobile workers. Extra notes, information about the equipment needed, and details of specific things about which workers should be aware, are all visible in the field service mobile app, making internal communication faster and more effective.
Asset management – the more field service tasks, the greater need for inventory management and monitoring. With a special function in an FSM solution, workers are enabled to add notes about who has a given piece of equipment. In some circumstances, this facilitates equipment handover to another worker.
Business management – in traditional field service management, there is not enough information to react quickly to misuses or poor performance. With the software, this process is enabled thanks to a single data format, with information sent in real time. As a result, management of the service business becomes more agile and more focused on quality.
So how can businesses reap the most benefits from workforce management software? You need to analyze the specific service delivery processes for your organization, and learn how to automate them. That is what we have already presented in our 23-page guide entitled “50 Ways to Automate field service processes”, in which we explain how particular features may support given processes. Take the time to dive deeper into the benefits of FSM software and apply them to your company.