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Increase Customer Loyalty with Field Service Management Software

One sure way to turn off customers is to give them a disappointing experience. It cuts across the board- from plumbing jobs, electrical installation and maintenance projects, window cleaning or repair, tenants in the property you’re managing, to package delivery firms. If your customers keep witnessing delays, cancelled appointments, to oversights like double booking which end up messing their individual schedules, they are likely to stop hiring your services and seek out a competitor. 

Field service jobs are particularly prone to such blunders, especially with the traditional manual way of doing things. While smartphones and computers have been infused into the day-to-day running of businesses, it is still common to find companies relying on manual processes to schedule their appointments, track the employees providing the services, monitor the progress of the jobs and ask for status updates, to managing inventory and invoices for completed tasks. This creates a major bottleneck in operations. The Small & Medium Business Trends Report, that took responses from nearly 500 SMB owners and leaders, showed that they spend an average of 23% of each workday manually inputting data. This is time that would have otherwise been spent tending to the customers’ needs. It creates a backlog of tasks, forcing the customers to wait for longer to get their issues handled. 

The inefficiencies witnessed in these traditional methods led to the advent of field service business management software. These systems come in to optimise operations and enhance your service delivery. As a business, automating your scheduling, job tracking, routing procedures and handling the invoicing, all through a single platform, greatly reduces your workload. Managing inventory, communicating with your employees out in the field through handy apps on their phone, giving them access to a database of reports and notes on the various jobs they have been tasked with – these all aid in smoothing out the sorting of tasks, and gets rid of the mounds of paperwork that would have been required. 

From Your Customer’s Perspective

When you’re facing a plumbing leak at home, electrical faults that result in power outages in the office building, damaged gas boilers that are hampering operations in the industrial plants- you want them to be addressed. Homeowners, business owners and facility managers in these situations are anxious about getting the issue resolved- yet the firm they are relying on to handle it is caught up in a logistical nightmare, boggled down by paperwork that prevents them from sending their technicians to the location. You really don’t want to hear a series of excuses about why your problem could not be addressed in time. While delays can be a nuisance, cancelled appointments are altogether exasperating. See, the customer is left in a difficult position, since the problem is not resolved, and they have to contend with having to make a subsequent appointment- of which they will not be sure if they can bank on the hired firm to deliver on its mandate. With an FSM, you get to prevent such incidents from occurring.

How Your Customers Benefit From Field Service Job Management Software

Reliable services

Firstly, the customer wants services that they can count on. When an issue arises and an appointment scheduled, they want it to be honoured. With the FSM, you get to accurately schedule the tasks, from the timing involved to assigning it to the appropriate technician, who is skilled in the task. With the automated scheduling and dispatching, the technician downtime that was previously witnessed is reduced- which has the welcome benefit of cutting down your operational costs. 

Speaking of which, the confusion that was previously seen when perusing through documents and simply calling up the first employee whose skill is similar to the job description, is avoided. Here, the field service management platform enables you to determine the most appropriate member of your workforce to handle the task. This makes them more motivated at their job, resulting in higher quality results- whether it’s an installation task, repair and maintenance project, or cleaning service for companies providing them in residential and commercial buildings. 

Get it done right the first time around

The field service scheduling software enables the technician to have all the information pertaining to the job accessible in real-time. This is availed via app– that the technicians will have on their phones. It is through this very app that they will make updates of the tasks being handled, sending in notes, photos and reports to the system. These will, in turn, be monitored at the head office all through the progress of the job, being managed through the interactive FSM dashboard. 

With the customer’s history being accessed by the technician, information that includes the specs and hazards about the particular job being handled, notes from the previous technicians who had been tasked to the building- such as the installation crew and previous repairs that had been done, will enable the personnel on the ground make well-informed decisions throughout the course of the task. Any issues that arise will also be taken note of, equipment and parts ordered through the app as well, ensuring that things proceed seamlessly. That way, the percentage of situations getting fully resolved during the first appointment increases- which translates to fewer cases of complaints being made. 

Instant invoicing

Immediately the job is done, the customer inputs their e-signature through the app, and the technician marks the task as completed, the very same FSM is used to process the invoice and send out an emailed copy to the customer. This will be an accurate invoice, without any data loss, and the customer can then proceed to make the payment through their preferred mode- from credit card payments to cash, without having to wait for hours for paperwork to be processed. All this information is securely stored on the cloud-based platform.

Creating a great first impression

Your image is a core part of your operations. Certainly, you don’t want to come off as disorganised- and your customers will be quick to note this with issues like missing records, outdated reports, lateness, and improper assigning of tasks. On the other hand, having a modern digital solution integrated into your field service operations will enable you to make a great first impression, showing the level of professionalism with which you offer your services.

Customer access

FSM platforms like FieldElite also give the customers themselves access to the system, through their own dashboard. This is particularly handy given that there are cases where the customer will have multiple jobs to be carried out- like property managers who keep on having cases of plumbing accidents, electrical faults, and cleaning service needs in the different buildings that they are in charge of. 

Through the customer portal, they will be able to make appointments, track the history of repair and maintenance jobs carried out on the property, and follow up on queries. What’s more, together with the IoT where FieldElite links to ecoVaro, one can have an interactive energy management system in place to keep accurate tabs on the energy consumption, efficiency, point out areas where repairs are needed, and have technicians come over- with the bookings being made through the FSM.

Enhance Customer Experience And Score New Business Opportunities

Customer service is a key aspect of your operations. When your customers are well tended to, with their needs being met in a timely and proficient manner, it wins you their loyalty, and they’ll be more open to sending referrals your way- growing your market share. Feedback- from testimonials on your site to the reviews on your social media handles, also aids in this- and you want to have satisfied clients who will put out a good word about your brand. By investing in field software for service businesses, you will increase your employees’ productivity, monitor trends, improve communication between your head office and the technicians on the ground, all of which come together to increase customer satisfaction.

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Why Predictive Maintenance is More Profitable than Reactive Maintenance

Regular maintenance is needed to keep the equipment in your facility operating normally. All machinery has a design lifespan, and your goal is to extend this as long as possible, while maintaining optimal production levels. How you go about the maintenance matters, from routine checks to repairing the damaged component parts—all before the whole unit needs to be tossed away and a new one purchased and installed. Here, we will break down the different approaches used, and show you why more industries and businesses are turning to proactive maintenance modes as opposed to the traditional reactive approaches for their field service operations

Reactive Maintenance: A wait and see game

Here, you basically wait for a problem to occur, then fix it. It’s also commonly referred to as a “Run-to-Failure” approach, where you operate the machines and systems until they break. Repairs are then carried out, restoring it to operational condition. 

At face value, it appears cost-effective, but the reality on the ground is far much different. Sure, when the equipment is new, you can expect minimal cases of maintenance. During this time, there’ll be money saved. However, as time progresses there’ll be increased wear, making reliance on a reactive maintenance approach a costly endeavour. The breakdowns are more frequent, and inconsistent as well. Unplanned expenses increase operational costs, and there will be lost productivity during the periods in which the affected machinery won’t be in operation. 

While reactive maintenance makes sense when you’re changing a faulty light bulb at home, things are more complicated when it comes to dealing with machinery in industries, or for those managing multiple residential and commercial properties. For the light bulb, it’s easier to replace it, and failure doesn’t have a ripple effect on the rest of the structures in the household. For industries, each time there is equipment failure, you end up with downtime, production can grind to a halt, and there will be increased environmental risks during equipment start-up and shutdown. If spare parts are not readily available, there will be logistical hurdles as you rush the shipping to get the component parts to the facility. Add this to overworked clients in a bit to complete the repair and to make up for lost hours and delayed customer orders.

For field service companies, more time ends up being spent. After all, there’s the need of knowing which parts needed to be attended to, where they are, and when the servicing is required. Even when you have a planned-out schedule, emergency repairs that are required will force you to immediately make changes. These ramps up the cots, affecting your operations and leading to higher bills for your client. These inconveniences have contributed to the increased reliance on field service management platforms that leverage on data analytics and IoT to reduce the repair costs, optimise maintenance schedules, and reduce unnecessary downtimes for the clients.

Waiting for the machinery to break down actually shortens the lifespan of the unit, leading to more replacements being required. Since the machinery is expected to get damaged much sooner, you also need to have a large inventory of spare parts. What’s more, the damages that result will be likely to necessitate more extensive repairs that would have been needed if the machinery had not been run to failure. 

Pros of reactive maintenance

  1. Less staff required.
  2. Less time is spent on preparation.

Cons of reactive maintenance

  1. Increased downtime during machine failure.
  2. More overtime is taken up when conducting repairs.
  3. Increased expenses for purchasing and storing spare parts. 
  4. Frequent equipment replacement, driving up costs. 

This “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach leads to hefty repair and replacement bills. A different maintenance strategy is required to minimise costs. Proactive models come into focus. Before we delve into predictive maintenance, let’s look at the preventive approach. 

Preventive Maintenance: Sticking to a timetable

Here, maintenance tasks are carried out on a planned routine—like how you change your vehicle’s engine oil after hitting a specific number of kilometres. These tasks are planned in intervals, based on specific triggers—like a period of time, or when certain thresholds are recorded by the meters. Lubrication, carrying out filter changes, and the like will result in the equipment operating more efficiently for a longer duration of time. While it doesn’t completely stop catastrophic failures from occurring, it does reduce the number of failures that occur. This translates to capital savings.  

The Middle Ground— Merits And Demerits Of Preventive Maintenance

This periodic checking is a step above the reactive maintenance, given that it increases the lifespan of the asset, and makes it more reliable. It also leads to a reduced downtime, thus positively affecting your company’s productivity. Usually, an 80/20 approach is adopted, drawing from Pareto’s Principle. This means that by spending 80% of time and effort on planned and preventive maintenance, then reactive maintenance for those unexpected failures that pop up will only occur 20% of the time. Sure, it doesn’t always come to an exact 80/20 ratio, but it does help in directing the maintenance efforts of a company, and reducing the expenses that go into it. 

Note that there will need to be a significant investment—especially of time, in order to plan a preventive maintenance strategy, plus the preparation and delegation of tasks. However, the efforts are more cost effective than waiting for your systems and machinery to fail in order to conduct repairs. In fact, according to the US Dept. of Energy, a company can save between 12-18 % when using a preventive maintenance approach compared to reactive maintenance.

While it is better than the purely reactive approach, there are still drawbacks to this process. For instance, asset failure will still be likely to occur, and there will be the aspect of time and resource wastage when performing unneeded maintenance, especially when technicians have to travel to different sites out in the field. There is also the risk of incidental damage to machine components when the unneeded checks and repairs are being carried out, leading to extra costs being incurred.

We can now up the ante with predictive maintenance. Let’s look at what it has to offer:

Predictive Maintenance: See it before it happens

This builds on preventive maintenance, using data analytics to smooth the process, reduce wastage, and make it more cost effective. Here, the maintenance is conducted by relying on trends observed using data collected from the equipment in question, such as through vibration analysis, energy consumption, oil analysis and thermal imaging. This data is then taken through predictive algorithms that show trends and point out when the equipment will need maintenance. You get to see unhealthy trends like excessive vibration of the equipment, decreasing fuel efficiency, lubrication degradation, and their impact on your production capacities. Before the conditions breach the predetermined parameters of the equipment’s normal operating standards, the affected equipment is repaired or the damaged components replaced.  

Basically, maintenance is scheduled before operational or mechanical conditions demand it. Damage to equipment can be prevented by attending to the affected parts after observing a decrease in performance at the onset—instead of waiting for the damage to be extensive—which would have resulted in system failure. Using data-driven field service job management software will help you to automate your work and optimise schedules, informing you about possible future failures.

Sensors used record the condition of the equipment in real time. This information is then analysed, showing the current and future operational capabilities of the equipment. System degradation is detected quickly, and steps can be taken to rectify it before further deterioration occurs. This approach optimises operational efficiency. Firstly, it drastically reduces total equipment failure—coming close to eliminating it, extending the lifespan of the machinery and slashing replacement costs. You can have an orderly timetable for your maintenance sessions, and buy the equipment needed for the repairs. Speaking of which, this approach minimises inventory especially with regards to the spare parts, as you will be able to note the specific units needed beforehand and plan for them, instead of casting a wide net and stockpiling spare parts for repairs that may or may not be required. Repair tasks can be more accurately scheduled, minimising time wasted on unneeded maintenance.  

Preventive vs Predictive Maintenance 

How is predictive different from preventive maintenance? For starters, it bases the need for maintenance on the actual condition of the equipment, instead of a predetermined schedule. Take the oil-change on cars for instance. With the preventive model, the oil may be changed after every 5000—7500 km. Here, this change is necessitated because of the runtime. One doesn’t look at the performance capability and actual condition of the oil. It is simply changed because “it is now time to change it“. However, with the predictive maintenance approach, the car owner would ideally analyse the condition of the oil at regular intervals- looking at aspects like its lubrication properties. They would then determine if they can continue using the same oil, and extend the duration required before the next oil change, like by another 3000 kilometres. Perhaps due to the conditions in which the car had been driven, or environmental concerns, the oil may be required to be changed much sooner in order to protect the component parts with fresh new lubricant. In the long run, the car owner will make savings. The US Dept. of Energy report also shows that you get 8-12% more cost savings with the predictive approach compared to relying on preventive maintenance programs. Certainly, it is already far much more effective compared to the reactive model. 

Pros of Predictive Maintenance

  1. Increases the asset lifespan.
  2. Decreases equipment downtime.
  3. Decreases costs on spare parts and labour.
  4. Improves worker safety, which has the welcome benefit of increasing employee morale.
  5. Optimising the operation of the equipment used leads to energy savings.
  6. Increased plant reliability.

Cons of Predictive Maintenance

  1. Initial capital costs included in acquiring and setting up diagnostic equipment.
  2. Investment required in training the employees to effectively use the predictive maintenance technology adopted by the company.

The pros of this approach outweigh the cons. Independent surveys on industrial average savings after implementing a predictive maintenance program showed that firms eliminated asset breakdown by 70-75%, boosted production by 20-25%, and reduced maintenance costs by 25-30%. Its ROI was an average of 10 times, making it a worthy investment.

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5 Ways To Grow Your Business | How Field Service Management Software Helps

Building up any business is already hard, more so when it involves providing field services.

A field service business owner has to manage the usual tasks, like scheduling jobs efficiently or inventory checks, and you have to do it while your employees are scattered about on various locations.

It’s the reason FieldElite was created, to provide companies with a much better way to manage and monitor their field workers.

Aside from effective management for your workforce on the move, field service management software can also help your business grow.

5 Ways Using Field Service Management Software Grows Your Business

1. Management Integration

You replace manual field service processes. If your business also uses other management apps, like CRM, payroll, industry-specific software, etc., make sure to integrate them with your chosen field service management software. 

Make those software work side-by-side with your field service management app to achieve streamlined business management.

Integration also removes the possibility of duplicate input on the regular system used and your field service management software, maximising your efficiency and business growth.

2. Improved Tracking

Utilising a field service management software gives you better tracking of every aspect of your field service business.

  • Track your inventory numbers in real-time — know exactly how much stock is on hand for parts, and when it’s time to order more
  • Constant updates on Key Performance Indicators — ensure your business is running smoothly
  • First-time fix rates tracking — avoid wrong rate application
  • Monitor your technician’s performance — ensuring quality work, in turn, profit.

Grow your business by having improved tracking on meaningful data and analytics produced from your field service management software.

3. Cost Cutting

Cutting costs can improve your bottom line and a lot of businesses turn to laying off technicians to cut costs. With a field service management software, there’s no need to go this route.

You cut costs through no manual processes needing to be completed. No need to hire back-office staff to field service calls or produce paperwork orders.

Your field service software should have all your automated needs met for efficient field job management.

An example of cost-cutting using field service app:

Track how much your technicians drive and find alternate routes for them to take.

  • Reduce gas expenses
  • Reduce repair bills for the truck
  • Finding better alternate routes can give more time to get to more jobs
  • Increased efficiency for the field technician

4.  Mobile Adaptability

Field service companies are focusing on mobility to grow their business. With a field service management software, technicians have on hand the tools and information needed to complete their job.

Field technicians can utilise the following field service software features:

  • Limit how much time they spend completing administrative work with the automated work-order management
  • Complete checklists on their mobile device and follow step-by-step instructions
  • Check service history
  • Close job orders/calls, collect signatures and start the invoice process

With a mobile app, technicians can complete a call faster, increasing the number of job order scheduled each day, giving additional revenue and that helps to grow your business.

5. Automation

What good is a field service management software without automated features? 

Automation, in any industry, is an important factor in managing and growing your business.

Here are some examples of automation features and tools that your software needs in field service:

  • Create and convert quotations into work orders
  • Schedule/Reschedule jobs
  • Accept jobs in the field
  • Convert jobs into invoices
  • Preventative maintenance service
  • Customer updates
  • Automated job reports

Business Growth with your Field Service Management Software

Field service management software is growing businesses through automation, tracking and workflow management.

Your operation can run smarter and more efficiently, all while empowering your field technicians to do their job smoothly.

If you haven’t turned to a field service management software yet, you’re missing out on chances to grow your business.

Check out FieldElite to help grow your field service business today!

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Top 10 Benefits of Using Field Service Automation Software

Just how much wastage is witnessed in your operations? Each morning your technicians report to work, they receive the day’s schedule, go through the inventory for the parts and tools that will be required, collect and fill the paperwork, before finally hitting the road- translating to hours of manual organisation. What of the information they need when they are at the site? Are they carrying around bulky files on each individual customer? Your field technicians are also responsible for lots of the equipment being handled- and you want to keep a tab on it all- knowing what is being worked on, when it is happening, how long it takes, and the materials that have been used. Dealing with all this on your end through loads of Excel sheets, calculating and updating time logs, and ticking off the inventory- it can be a strain. Field Service Automation Software comes in to handle it all- from the scheduling and tracking, to inventory control and invoicing- all on the same platform.

Eliminating the Paperwork and Optimising Your Operations

There has been a surge in demand for all-in-one Field Service Management (FSM) solutions. They leverage the power of mobile technology, cloud computing and social collaboration to boost the efficiency of field services. In fact, the FSM market is growing at rates never seen before, if the recent statistics are anything to go by. According to the latest estimates, it is worth $3.5 billion and is expected to hit $5.9 billion by 2024.

It’s understandable why this is happening. Technology is advancing, and we all know it’s every entrepreneur’s dream to optimise the use of the available resources while guaranteeing customer satisfaction. If technology can deliver this through automation, why not? Every business now wants to automate things, and the focus is to maximise resource output. You should, therefore, not be surprised to see the FSM software industry booming. If you just considered the field service industry, you’ll realise that there are so many software applications to help with service automation, whether full or partial.

A good example is FieldElite, which helps with the management of field workers. From your desktop or the palm of your hands, on a tablet or smartphone, you can take full control of your field workers, manage scheduled jobs, and use maps to manage work assignments for the already dispatched field workers. Not only does FieldElite help you handle tasks in an accountable manner but also provides options for accounting and reports, all managed in an easy to use dashboard.

10 Benefits Field Service Automation Software Brings On Board

Why would organisations need to invest in a Workforce management app? Below are some of the key benefits of using a Field Service Management software:

1. Cut down the down-time and make every minute count

From scheduling your operations, mapping out preferred routes, dispatching the service team, to staying connected with them throughout the tasks, you get to improve worker efficiency with field service software like FieldElite. 

Most FSM software programs allow the administrator to send tasks directly to the field worker’s mobile. More often than not, the FSM software provides vital information, including service history, optimal route to the site, the tools required, and contact numbers, among other details.

This improves efficiency by ensuring that the client’s needs are taken care of promptly. Where it’s about machine maintenance, the downtime would be as short as possible.

2. Enhance professionalism and boost your brand image

FSM software programs are known for ensuring professionalism in the manner in which business activities are conducted. Of course, professionalism is attained through several factors, including working with a team of professionals. Such a team, using FSM software, results in enhanced efficiency and excellence.

A field service software like FieldElite helps you to consolidate all your business information into a single central database. With different access levels, your employees will access only as much information as is relevant to their respective duties.

An FSM software is ideal because the stored information can be accessed from any location, meaning field workers can pick new tasks while in the field, provided they’ve got the requisite tools. Instead of having to come back to the office, the employee would access all the information and execute the necessary task.

3. Resource Optimisation with Real-time Field Service Automation Software

Resource optimisation is one of the key determinants of a company’s profitability. While businesses vary in size and purpose, they all share one thing in common – the desire to increase productivity while ensuring the optimal usage of resources.

Besides productivity, field service software also allows for efficient utilisation of the available resources to cut down on costs.

4. Stay connected with all your crew- and coordinate them better

FSM software facilitates improved coordination with the workforce. The software streamlines the management of the entire field service life cycle, ranging from labour to work orders, returns, contracts, warranties, and equipment.

The idea is to bring all the company’s field-related operations to a central point. And now, with easy data accessibility from a central platform, improved coordination is easily achievable.

5. Get accurate data and make well-informed decisions every step of the way

Adopting the field service management software is more than just a way to improve efficiency. It goes a long way towards improving a company’s accuracy. When a field service management software is used to trace a company’s activities, all the tasks are tracked on the mobile device, keeping the managers informed of every step.

Besides, the technicians also have a free reign to record the diagnostics, quality information, test results, and the parts consumed. All the information can be captured using text, audio, videos, and still photos. This guarantees minimal to no instances of data manipulation.

6. Improve Customer Satisfaction: Win Their Loyalty

Field service management software improves customer satisfaction. How does that happen? Well, using a field service software like FieldElite allows for quick response to customer queries. If there’s one thing that quickly turns your customers off, it’s delayed response to their requests. With the field service management software, however, you can respond to such requests quickly and effortlessly.

Moreover, your customers can also track the service engineer to ensure they’re well informed of any anticipated delays. With quick response time, customer machines have more reliable up-time, which is the desire of every client.

7. Flexibility – because no one likes being tied down

If there’s one thing that customers like when dealing with a company, it’s flexibility. Instinctively, customers will always want different options to choose from when using a service without appearing to be confined to one provision. Having limited options would also appear boring.

To this extent, it would be wiser to adopt advanced FSM software. Advanced FSM software is compatible with mobile phones, meaning users can easily manage their tasks from isolated locations. FSM software can either be device-agnostic or device-specific. The device-specific type supports Android, Windows, and Apple iOS. This guarantees mobile-friendly tasks where users can easily manage the assignments via mobile application.

8. Store client history in secure cloud-based FSM software

Software like FieldElite stores client history precisely. All the past data, including order history, are stored separately and accurately. In so doing, the field technician gets easy access to the tools, specifications, and technician instructions that aid them in their operations. The result is increased productivity and on-time service delivery.

9. Asset Management and Inventory Control

Naturally, companies offering different repair services have plenty of assets to store. Accordingly, retrieving a specific part out of the large collection would be daunting.

With a field service application like FieldElite, the staff members can track down all the products effortlessly using the GPS. Furthermore, the FSM software ensures excellent maintenance of assets.

10. Improve oversight of field workers – and keep them in the loop

The FSM software comes with many useful tools, including a built-in GPS tracker. The GPS tracker oversees the operations of the on-field workers, providing precise details about their geographical location, actual arrival time, and most importantly, the distance from the job site.

While this might not be useful at all times, it comes in handy when you need to assign an urgent task to the nearby technician. Call it a classic example of dynamic scheduling.

Final Thoughts

With so much at stake, it’s increasingly compelling to include the Field Service Management Software in your business. With every industry moving towards automation, your business cannot afford to lag.

Quick and efficient service delivery through FSM software may be the difference between you and your competitors.

The FSM software is no longer the cherry on the cake but a must-have tool for your survival in the highly competitive market.

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Why integrating your Field Service Management with IoT Applications makes sense

Your customers want a smooth experience when hiring your services. Whether there are pests that have run amok in their homes and you have been called in to exterminate them, there is a leak in the pipes and your plumbing repair business is the go-to for repairs, you’re in charge of a cleaning business with clients spanning across the residential and commercial niches, or even a locksmith making new installations and providing aftercare for their clients – it is vital to make the process as hassle-free as possible for your customer. The priority is getting the job done in time, and to quality standards. On the other hand, your mobile workers need access to complete and accurate data to approach the task more proactively, get it done right, and increase the rate of first-time fixes.

When you have multiple clients and a huge workforce, things can get messy with all the paperwork involved. Preparing documents and reports, keying in the data, keeping track of your mobile employees, following up on current jobs and scheduling new appointments – the workload can put a strain on your staff. Field service scheduling software like FieldElite come in to keep your central office staff abreast with all customer details, sending alerts when new issues arise. These are then relayed to the appropriate technician for the situation to be taken care of at the earliest possible time – directing the right employee to the customer based on the skill-set availability and location. While field service job management software, by itself, is a powerful solution, you can crank things up a notch by having a system that integrates IoT into its operations.

Powering Field Service Scheduling Software Systems With IoT

FSM gives maintenance firms, distributors, manufacturers and other service businesses an interactive platform that optimises the workflow. From the customers booking maintenance work, office staff tracking operations right from their desk, workers interacting with it while on-ground through the mobile app, to the billing and invoicing – it is all handled through the same system. IoT applications can boost this becoming a critical tool to show the field managers about the precise locations where attention is needed, for accurate worker and job scheduling and improved customer satisfaction. What if you could also have features like auto-scheduling coming on board? Let’s delve deeper into what it means for your FSM system.

Benefits Of Using Service Management Software With IoT Solutions

Its impact of IoT on field management is seen in the transformation of maintenance data into proactive service actions. Research by Gartner shows that in 2020 there will be over 20 billion connected devices, making the reach of IoT really vast. This will fuel the field management industry, unlocking more potential with the mobile workers interacting in real-time with their equipment and headquarters. This speeds up response time to service requests and transforms interoperability across the different devices.

●        All-round access

The interaction with IoT benefits the technicians, managers, and customers themselves. For instance, while the worker on ground interacts with the FieldElite mobile app, the office staff at headquarters will be engaging them via browser on their smart devices, and even the client gets access to the system through the customer portal.

●        Linking your different business operations

It doesn’t stop there. Integrating the mobile service management software to the IoT facilitates inventory management, automobile tracking, and even automates accounting, invoicing, and other internal processes of the business, giving you more visibility over your field assets and operations. Here, the sensors that have been enabled in the network will notify you of damaged equipment, and go further to route and dispatch the technician who is most suited to go on-site and repair it.

●        Nip things in the bud – A proactive approach

Updates from sensors on the remote equipment are sent over a dedicated network. This is intelligently interpreted by the IoT platform to decide the next course of action, depending on a predefined set of rules. This course of action can be assigning and dispatching the technician through the FieldElite app to fix the equipment before permanent damage occurs. This whole process is automatic, shifting the company from a reactive mode of operations to a proactive and preventative model, resulting in better utilisation of assets.

●        Minimise time wastage

Less time is spent going checking for flaws in the systems. Take management at a wastewater treatment plant for instance. Simply place IoT sensors on the different pumps, mortars and valves to give you this data. In case of leaks or damage, the appropriate operator is alerted, taking away the need for manual monitoring. Monitoring is done remotely. Hazardous situations such as in the oil and gas industry where workers are faced with issues like flare stacks are handled better, where the IoT sensors minimise downtime and ensure that only necessary visits to the plat equipment are done.

●        Interactions at the palm of your hand

The field service workers are also equipped with effective communications through aspects like the chat feature on the mobile app, and reporting abilities where they can make notes, take photos and relay this to the headquarters during the course of the job. Information on the system is readily available to the customer and future technicians who will be handling jobs at the facility.

How does the FSM work with other systems? FieldElite’s core role is to manage the mobile workforce. How do you keep track of the sensors of the different equipment, in order to know when maintenance is needed?

Enter ecoVaro: IoT In Energy Management

The 2018-2025 Global Building Energy Management System Analysis and Forecast showed energy consumption in residential buildings accounts for close to 40% of the world’s energy consumption.  Commercial buildings like shopping malls, hospitals, retail stores and hotels take 30%. IoT tools aid in collecting and analysing the real-time data consumption in these falsities, to improve maintenance and reduce down times. It’s a holistic view that is achieved through a network of smart devices monitoring the ventilation, humidity, air-conditioning and lighting systems.

Home automation tools like smart thermostats and bulbs are already becoming popular. Here, they bring savings to the consumers without them having to use up much effort. For broader energy management, these systems will include units like sensors, controls, meters, data analytics tools, and user-friendly applications that the consumers access all this from. It cuts across the board, from households and commercial establishments, to utility firms and government bodies keen on effectively monitoring and managing their energy resources. Industrial and commercial users need data analytics tools to maximise their productivity and reduce costs, while residents in households want to reduce their monthly bills and take a more proactive role in their energy management.

From Smart Devices To Accurate Loggers

The first step in saving energy is cutting down wastage. Smart light, humidity, temperature and air conditioning controls come in to maintain optimal indoor conditions. Lighting units, smart thermostats, sensor-based HVAC control systems are part of the IoT, taking centre stage in automatically maintaining the perfect indoor environment that will keep the building’s energy use at optimum levels. They have been designed with different sensors that check the humidity, light, motion and even CO2 levels, dynamically adjusting the conditions in the facility. Here, you have situations like smart lights dimming when there is more daylight getting into the room, and then automatically turning off when people leave the room. The smart thermostats can precool the indoor space before the day gets warmer, so that during that scorching midday sun there will be less energy spent by the HVCA to bring down the heat levels.

The whole set up – from the LED lights adjusting to user preferences and routines, learning thermostats that reduce consumption during peak load times, sensors and data analytics that give the user more control over their consumption, creates a smart energy infrastructure, be it in homes or industrial spaces, from retail stores and factories, to entire cities. This is all geared at cutting down energy costs, with the systems automatically adjusting the building’s lighting, temperature and ventilation, to reduce the energy consumption without compromising the comfort of the building’s occupants. LEED bulbs already record 20% lower maintenance costs than the typical commercial buildings.

Adopting IoT Applications For Your EMS System

How can you take advantage of this? With the EMS loggers, you monitor your facility’s consummation in real-time. Platforms like ecoVaro enable both the utility companies and end-users to access this data. The utility firms will be in a position to tailor the power supply in response to changing demand and also adjust their pricing. The end-users, on the other hand, will be in a position to control their usage at a granular level – responding to changing environmental conditions, power consumption, and reducing energy waste.

There are also those appliances that come with sensors, from boilers in the household, to heavy production machinery in industries. The EMS systems allow you to continuously monitor the load on the sensor-enabled assets, predict when overheating will occur and pinpoint risks of outages or damage on the line. Maintenance can then be immediately carried out to vent damages to the equipment. That way components like motors are protected from damages that would have ended up costing the firm lots of funds to replace. The data analytics from the EMS platforms enable the energy manager to strike that balance to optimise performance and reduce wear, thus prolonging the life of the equipment.

Even the heavy hitters in the energy sector get to benefit from the IoT. Take power production for instance. When you’re dealing with stations, solar farms and wind fields – as they provide that much-needed power, they also consume energy and need plenty of maintenance. These are resource-heavy stations and as a manager, you want to keep a close eye on things. This involves a complex approach, from the sensors at the facilities, data analytics, to predictive maintenance. EMS software comes in to continuously monitor the equipment and wiring through the sensors. This enables you to prevent issues like overloads, and ensure that a balanced load is maintained on the line. The EMS goes a step further by enabling you to undertake predictive maintenance, for the timely repair of the equipment on the power grid, minimising accidents, preventing blackouts, and averting the costly down times.

Electricity utilities connecting their power plants and grids to available IoT solution networks get to be more transparent to their consumers, by showing them where the energy they use comes from. This empowers the consumers with the information needed to select the cleanest energy source during that period, which is particularly beneficial for those keen on adopting greener practices. For instance, you can have a system monitoring a network of grids, and dynamically shifting to power sources that have the least amount of emissions at the moment – what’s gaining popularity as “automated emission reduction”. These lead to utility firms that produce clean energy getting more consumers and growing their revenue base.

Field And Energy Management: How FieldElite and ecoVaro Work Together Through IoT

So, on one hand, you have the energy managers following up on the consumption trends at their facilities, keeping an eye on their equipment.  On the other hand, you have field workers needed to carry out repair and maintenance works at different locations.  How do you join them together to ensure a seamless flow of operations?  The IoT.

This can be seen with ecoVaro and Field Elite interaction. Here, you have two independent systems that are interlinked through the internet and secure cloud systems, bringing more convenience on board for the users.

Picture this: Loggers collecting data from the meters and sensors on-site detect an anomaly, which you will immediately be able to view through the ecoVaro platform. This can be a myriad of issues, from plumbing to electrical systems that need to be worked on, and they are at multiple locations. How do you get them resolved? Dispatch your technicians through FieldElite.

Here’s a snapshot of how this works:

FieldElite and Ecovaro Working Together

This way, you get to optimise your operations and cut down on coasts taking advantage of the data analytics tools brought to you by ecoVaro, and streamlining your workflow through FieldElite. IoT powered workforce and energy management systems thus become key in reducing operational expenses, scheduling repairs and maintenance, and planning for peak hours

Accessing real-time data has the welcome benefit of cutting down on the hours spent on energy management processes. Jobs like meter reading that would have taken lots of time are handled by the system. When it comes to field management, operational efficiency is increased by taking away the manual processes involved with all the paperwork.  The sensors monitored via ecoVaro alert the field service manager about equipment that needs to be checked, and FieldElite shows the field manager issues that are on queue to be resolved. In both cases, you get accurate data that will inform the decisions made – from the maintenance measures required, to scheduling the jobs for the technicians to handle them. It’s a win-win situation. 

Building Blocks For A Brighter Tomorrow

What’s more, this sets you up for the future. Adopting IoT solutions for your field and energy management operations will score you higher ROIs going forward. The global community is working towards enhancing the efficiency of its operations and putting in place sustainable practices in line with their Social Corporate Responsibility (CSR). This is from service providers like plumbing and electrical repair businesses, to utility firms and power generation plants. Lighting systems, homes, office buildings, factories, communities, transportation and whole cites are getting connected through the internet and more control done via smart devices. This is further accelerated by cloud systems enabling real-time, reliable and secure access to the information. By incorporating these setups into your business structure, you will gain a competitive advantage in your niche. After all, we’re still in the early stages of IoT across the industries.

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Fine-tuning your Operations and keeping our staff Happy with FieldElite

They are the engine that drives your operations, but are you really giving you value for your money? How much time is spent by your personnel on lengthy paperwork and record-keeping, as opposed to actually providing the service to your customers? Manual tasks create bottlenecks and slow your operations, which in turn affects service delivery and customer satisfaction. You want to reach more clients and boost your brand image, growing your market share and generating more revenue. Field Service Management (FSM) software comes in optimise the operations of your mobile workforce, cut down resource wastage, and enhance your productivity as a firm, by actually enabling your field staff to get more done, thus achieving their individual goals. In fact, according to a report published by Fortune Business Insights™, the global FSM market- which stood at $2.29 billion as recently as 2018, will have expanded to $7.27 billion by 2026. What does this mean for your employees, and how do they benefit from FieldElite?

 

  • Skipping the paperwork with end-to-end automation

Filing reports, keeping track of equipment used, working on the Excel sheets for multiple jobs on a daily basis, all through to the routing and billing- it can be a logistical nightmare. It’s not just about the hours spent poring through documents and typing away at calculators. Manual work exposes you to the risks of human error. Missing records, inaccurate assessments of the situation on the ground due to the overwhelming data streaming in, putting the head office staff under strain- it all hampers the productivity of the company. 

Take scheduling for instance. You have different employees, and various jobs that need their attention, at different locations. It can be a plumbing company whose clients have water filters that need to be repaired, gas boilers inspected, leaking pipes fixed, and others who need new installations to be set up. Assigning your personnel to the different situations will need to take into account the type of job, and the amount of time that it will require, aspects such as the location and the crew that is closest to it. At the head office you will want to keep tabs on the jobs that are in progress, pending, complete, those on hold, and even those that have been cancelled. Running all these through traditional manual processes is enough to drive you to the edge. What’s more, tasks that slip through your fingers amidst the confusion will result in negative feedback from your customers- which you don’t want hitting your brand.

With a field service job management software like FieldELite, you get to handle it all from one dashboard. Optimise your service delivery using the accurate scheduler, that allows you to account for the location of your employees, the status of the job- from the urgent ones like emergency tasks, to the normal duties such as routine maintenance, and low-priority tasks. The field service scheduling software comes with a real-time location feature that allows you to determine the employees closest to the client’s premises who will be appropriate for the job, map out the service areas and give you a birds-eye view of all the operations on the ground, while being updated with the progress of each specific task. Less time is spent travelling to- and from the central office, and more on actually tending to your client’s needs. You can even have situations where you can assign end-of-day tasks to employees who will be passing on that route on their way home.

 

  • Enhanced resource utilisation that promotes personal and professional development

Skill is key across the industries- from electrical services, solar panel installation, landscaping, home remodelling, pest control, plumbing, HVAC system maintenance, to construction and property management. For the job to be done appropriately and make your clients happy, you want to assign the task to an employee who is particularly proficient at it. This tends to be glimpsed over during manual scheduling since the personnel at the head office will be swamped with so many files, and will pick the first one that comes close to fitting the job description, leading to overlapping of roles. Sure, they may get it done, having seen their colleagues do it and even helping them out when they worked together before on similar projects- but will it be up to the required standard? On the other hand, the FSM allows you to ensure that you get the right technician for the task- who will be more motivated, boosting their performance.

What about accidents? Your employees want to feel safe as they go about their mandate. Many of the field service jobs are hazardous- such as electrical repair jobs, window cleaning tasks at high rise buildings, to elevator repair jobs where a slight glitch can lead to severe ramifications. Field service management software also comes in handy here, where the head office can be notified of any emergency the moment it occurs, and arrange for the necessary action to be taken immediately. That way, your employees will not feel neglected while they are out in the field, showing them that their safety is a priority to your business- which in turn increases their morale. 

 

  • Readily available knowledgebase and feedback system

When the employees have been assigned a specific job, they will require certain information about it. This includes the scope of the task, history of previous repairs or maintenance that was carried out, accompanying images if needed, risk assessment, any hazards or contaminants that they will need to prepare for, to notes left by technicians who had handled it. Having to keep checking their email, or picking up documents at the office for the day’s job and walking around with them all day as they tend to one customer after another, will slow things down, and not to mention frustrate them. However, the FSM system is directly accessible by the employees via app on their phones. The information needed for each specific task will thus be at their fingertips, speeding up the process and ensuring that they will be ready for each project being handled. 

While carrying out the job itself, the employees will use the very same app to update the system on how it is progressing, chat with the staff at the head office, update the inventory and even place orders for extra parts if necessary. Since mobile service management software apps like FieldElite also work in offline mode, the photos, reports and other entries that are made are collected by the app and saved on the device. Once a network connection is established, they are then updated to the central database- thus ensuring that the job can proceed regardless of the location. 

Once the job is completed, the customer input is also taken, registered in the system through their e-signature. A signoff comment included gives the customer the opportunity to indicate their experience with the job, and the feedback that they would like to provide. In case the job has not been completed, then the scheduling software kicks in, putting it in queue for another appointment to take care of the task, or resolve the issue that had caused it not to be completed the first time. The completed tasks head right to invoicing, which is also handled within the field service management platform, making it a seamless task for the head office staff.

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Job & Staff Scheduling with FieldElite Mobile Service Management Software

Field Service Management (FSM) software systems are designed to enable you to manage your mobile workforce from a central point- and do away with the paperwork involved with the process. They connect your technicians on the ground (via app on their phones), to the staff at the head office- who have an interactive dashboard accessed through their browsers. The office team will have access to all the jobs that are to be handled by the company, simplifying the management process and taking away the risks that come with manual data entry. Here, we will walk you through a quick process of scheduling a job for your personnel with FieldElite.

Say you are a HVAC contractor, licensed, bonded and insured. You’ve made quite a name for yourself in the industry, and have a wide range of clients- in both residential and commercial establishments. Consequently, you also have a large workforce to attend to the different situations- from installing to repair and maintenance. One of your clients- let’s call them ABC Computer Supplies, has an issue with their HVAC unit- perhaps a pipe is leaking. It needs to be fixed, and ABC have booked an appointment.  Your goal here is to get one of your personnel to handle the task as soon as possible, and this field service scheduling software comes in handy.

There are two approaches that you can take:

1. Job Scheduling

From your Dashboard, on the left-hand side you will see the menu option. Clicking on Jobs, will take you to all jobs carried out by your company.

FieldElite

The filters will allow you to view different categories of jobs:

  • Complaint– This means that there was an issue with on ground during the task delivery, and the client lodged a complaint.
  • On hold– Here, different aspects can cause a job to be paused- like when spare parts or equipment required for repair jobs have been ordered, and one needs to wait for them to be shipped in from a different location.
  • Pending– This is basically your in-tray, a list of jobs that are to be carried out.
  • In Progress– The technicians are on the ground, attending to the client’s needs, and you’re getting routine updates from them.
  • Incomplete– Though the job had been assigned to the required technician, it was not completed in the set amount of time, thus requiring an additional visit to the site. Given that the FSM solution increases the first-time fix rate, cases of “incomplete tasks” are reduced.
  • Complete– The task is successfully done and the customer has appended their e-signature, and now it can be invoiced.
  • Cancelled Invoice– The head office determines that a particular invoice shouldn’t be paid, and thus cancels it.

Our focus here is the pending tasks, so use this filter. ABC’s HVAC job will be among these.  Clicking on its Job ID will open up the details of the task, with such an “Update Job” window:

FieldElite Job

This section contains all the information of the job- both past and present, which you can update in real-time. Any changes will be recorded by the system and can be viewed on the “Audit” tab.

As you can see here, the HVAC repair job is both “pending” and “urgent”. No one really likes sitting in an office that feels like an oven. Being the headquarters, it’s likely handles lots of foot traffic, and the damaged HVAC unit will make the working conditions really difficult. It’s best not to keep the client waiting, right?

So, head on over to the Supervisor and Workers section (on the same “Details” tab), and select the personnel suited for the task.

FieldElite Job Details

Set the time that the task will take for your technician, and once satisfied with the details of the job, click on Update. Voila! You’re done.

FieldElite Job Update

Immediately this happens, the worker received a notification on their app, telling them that they have been assigned the job.

From the app, the technician will be able to view the specifics of the HVAC job, including notes and attachments that you can add directly from your own dashboard, such as schematics of the building and reports from other technicians who installed the air conditioning system for the facility. You also get to add products that will be required for the task- like the pipe and panel mounted socket shown here. As the system also includes an inventory of the products used, their quantity and costs, you will be able to keep an accurate record of the supplies as they as are used.

As such, the field workers will not have to keep coming back to the central office to get documents and reports of new tasks, or walk around with bulky files. When they are carrying out the job, they will also be able to keep the staff at the office updated about its progress, through the chat feature on the mobile app, taking photos and adding notes as required.

2. Staff Scheduling

With this approach, the perspective is basically: “So I have a couple of jobs- which of my employees has time to handle them?” The FSM allows you to optimise your productivity- by ensuring that you get the most out of the staff work hours, and avoid cases of jobs going into overtime.

Follow these steps:

  1. Select “Scheduler” from the left-hand side of the window. You will have a view of the workers of your company and how their day is planned out, and a summary of the unassigned jobs.

Here, you can tell whose busy, and who can have a new task assigned to them at the click of a button- which is far more effective than keeping on jotting down points in your diary or going through files of documents.

If the job has yet to be added to the system- like for the cases of new clients, simply click on the “Add Job” button and key in its details.

2. Scroll down, you will see a list of unassigned jobs.

unassigned jobs

3. Next, click on the edit button under “Actions”. This will take you to the same “Update Job” window described in the first approach, in order to assign the preferred worker to the role.

This real-time dispatching avoids cases of your desk getting cluttered with paper sheets, and prevents duplicate entries as each job has its own ID and task details- from the scheduling to the invoicing. In this case, your HVAC technician will have access to the information needed right at the palm of their hand, to ensure that the task at ABC’s head office goes seamlessly. The optimised schedule will enable the task to be carried out faster- restoring normalcy to your client’s facility.  In case the client’s location is on the route that one of your technicians takes while heading home, you can take advantage of this by giving them the task towards the end of their working day- thus clearing more of your backlog, sorting out your client, and easing your technician’s worries about getting home late.

As you can see, the field service scheduling software enables you to easily and efficiently handle your workflow, avoid the mess that is associated with manual documentation and cases of your employees getting conflicting schedules and overlaps- which would strain them and dampen their morale. Streamlining your workflow and standardising operations ultimately results in increased customer satisfaction.

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Plumber with pipe wrenches poses at the showcase

7 Challenges Facing Mobile Field Service – And Overcoming them with FSM Solutions

Managing a mobile workforce comes with its set of challenges. There are multiple coordination levels, administrative hurdles when distributing tasks amongst your employees, the need to meet your customers’ expectations, whilst still operating profitably. Your goal is to rake in more revenue, while striking a balance between the number of employees and the quality of the service being rendered. Under utilisation of the company resources may be misinterpreted to mean that you need more employees- which will affect your bottom line. Repeat visits with older jobs affect the response time for new client appointments. Clients get frustrated when their needs are not met on time. Remember that, for your client, their priority is getting their issue sorted- be it that pipe leak, electrical fault, damaged gas valve, or window installation completed on time. Administrative challenges on your end will simply come off as excuses, costing your brand dearly. The different fields share similar challenges- from utility firms, pest control, installation and repair services such as with plumbers and electricians, those running residential and commercial window cleaning companies, to property managers in charge of different buildings. Here are some of the obstacles faced:

1. Coordinating your team

Running things from the office can get hectic when your technicians are out on ground, and clients are at different locations. From appointments being delayed because the workers met traffic on their way, those calling in sick and requiring you to find replacements on short notice, clients who cancel appointments without notice- they all present a logistical nightmare. There is also the need to have a skill-based task distribution in place. Here, the focus is on getting the right technician for the job, not someone who has simply “dealt with it before as they helped their colleagues on a similar job“. With your firm having different personnel, you want to ensure that you spend the most appropriate technician to your client. This also aids the employees themselves, by increasing their morale as they will be dealing with tasks that they are particularly adept at, score you a high first-time fix rate, and avoid having to do follow up visits to resolve issues that were not properly addressed the first time round. 

Capterra undertook a field service software survey, which showed that 82% of organisations adopting FSM solutions saw an increased rate of first-time fixes, and a 90% rise in actual conversations from quotes.

Capterra

How field service job management software impacts businesses. Source: Capterra

 Follow-ups tend to cost extra with the additional dispatch, and take away your fiend agents from the work that had been scheduled to be handled. Resolving these logistical issues with traditional approaches can be problematic, especially with all the paperwork involved. In fact, let’s delve into that.

2. Mounds of paperwork

Having loads of data streaming in from your field workforce can put one on edge. Organising the documents, creating the spreadsheets and typing away at calculators, sorting the files in cabinets and the stress that comes when a single file appears lost in the heaps of sheets – it creates a bottleneck for your operations.  Manually handling the data at the central office also compromises on the accuracy of the process due to human error, from syntax issues when transferring information, incorrect inputs, to duplicate errors- which is expected to occur with increased frequency due to the tiring nature of the process. Actually, 46% of the respondents surveyed by the Service Council said that paperwork and admin work was the worst part of their day.

The field worker is also affected by the paperwork. From having to come to the office each morning to collect the documents needed for the day, walking with the bulky files from one site to another, perusing through lots of sheets whenever they want mire information about a particular customer or the job description- and the frustration that comes when some documents have been forgotten back at the office- it hampers productivity. Running out of copies of paper will also be unavoidable when your staff are away from the office- and more time will be spent coming back to restock. There are also additional issues like the forms getting soiled or torn, and even the wind blowing them away as your technicians are out in the field.  Dealing with the contracts, collecting signatures for each job that is handled, jotting down notes concerning the particular tasks that they are taking care of- it increases the workload. In fact, this often results in errors in data entry, and jobs being poorly documented.

Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case for your firm. Technological advancements have seen solutions being developed to minimise the paperwork involved. These mobile service management software allow the field worker to access all the details of the job via handy apps on their smartphones and tablets- as is the case with FieldElite. Instead of walking around with the documents and files, the information is stored via cloud, and is accessible in real-time. The job documentation- from photos, notes to the customer’s e-signature are all collected through the app, and the information is securely stored and immediately available to the personnel back at the head office. 

Service analytics- where you get to observe product demand, performance of your workforce and analyse your customer base growth through the dashboard reporting modules that come with the FMS software is a key tool for decision makers of the company. You get to optimise your performance without having to resort to adding more work hours, or pushing your employees into overtime. Field service analytics has been shown to increase profitability for leading companies by 18%, going by theGet Smart: Business Intelligence and Analytics for Service Organizations study done by Aberdeen Group.

3. Scheduling conflicts

First, there are multiple jobs that need to be attended to- and disappointing your clients will lead to backlash. Secondly, you have a large team of workers- and you want to optimise on their productivity at an individual level. From an administrative perspective, you are also required to provide proper work structures that incorporate your employees’ safety during the jobs being handled- and not to run them like mules, overworking them in a bid to hit your targets. Thirdly, the workers have different individual hours of operations- or they work in shifts. Running all this from a central point, allocating the jobs as needed and managing the different schedules, can be a tall order without the right field service scheduling software.

When your customers book an appointment, they expect that your company will deliver on its mandate, providing the services that they are paying you for as required. On the other hand, as the company, you are relying on your employees to meet those expectations. This means that you should have structures in place to ensure that your field workers stick to their assigned schedules. For this you will need to know their location in real-time, track their performance, and check on their adherence to the set schedules. Working with field service job management software allows you to handle the logistics of every task from one dashboard. By tracking your technicians while they are out in the field, you will be able to allocate orders faster, monitor the incoming customer requests, and manage the task distribution more efficiently. When you have an FSM that allows your workers to coordinate with the head office via mobile app, there will be an increased rate of job completion, and a reduction in overtime. Both your clients and employees get to be happy at the end of the day.

4. Lonely workers

Working in the office has its perks. You are surrounded by your colleagues, and can easily get the attention of anyone in management if needed. However, while out in the field, the workers can feel disconnected from the company structure, left to their devices while still bearing the responsibility of presenting the company in positive light- as they also double up as your brand ambassadors. The loneliness can get to them, with a report by the Service Council showing that isolation was the worst part of the work day for 21% of technicians. The chat feature that comes with the mobile service management software apps is one of the reasons behind their popularity, keeping the employees connected to the rest of the manager at the central office, and even other field employees- which makes them feel as part of one large family.

Safety is also a concern, especially for cases where your field staff will be working in hazardous situations – like conducting repairs on top of radio towers, dealing with gas equipment in concealed spaces. The central office needs to remain in constant communication with the workers, and have the appropriate structures in place to handle emergencies. You don’t want to lose employees because they don’t feel that their safety is a priority to you. A skilled technician is an asset that should be protected- and certainly you wouldn’t want to incur extra funds to hire and train personnel- which will end up being an additional strain to your budget over time. Field service job management software with features that allow your employees to check-in remotely via app will be handy in notifying the head office of their arrival at the job site, and in case of any incident, the field manager can quickly see the employees’ last location, and dispatch help to them. 

5. Difficulty in assessing performance metrics

When you have a situation where timesheets are only handed in after the workday- and in some cases at the end of the week, it becomes difficult to assess the level of productivity of your field workers. Are you getting value for your money with the wages that are being paid out? Are there lots of lost work hours due to logistical hitches- or cases where the field worker delay the tasks, or take out sections of their day to attend to matters of personal interest- and still bill you for it? All this translates to poor customer service, with issues ranging from cancelled and rescheduled appointments, unmet targets, disagreements based on the scope of work being handled, to client dissatisfaction for not having their issues addressed in a timely manner- which becomes a hit on your brand.

FSM comes in to enable the field service manager to always be in the loop during the entire process- knowing exactly how long the workers are spending on each particular task, the jobs that are pending, cancelled or rescheduled, in order to constantly review and optimise the planning of the firm’s activities. With software like FieldElite, you even get a birds-eye view, as the work areas are mapped out, that way you will be in a position to direct your field workers on aspects like the best routes to take to avoid traffic gridlocks.

6. The break factor

How do you plan for breaks? Jobs are different, and there will be unexpected issues cropping up regularly. However, the field worker is still entitled to breaks during the working day- such as the all-important lunchtime. The problem arises when there is unextended time on some job sites, and cases of unscheduled breaks being taken. These have a ripple effect, as they will cause delays on other projects that are on queue, and you can also expect customer complaints to be coming in hot and hard. From a management point of view, you want to have the ability to respond to the issues as they arise, and reassign the jobs accordingly. Mobile service management software gives you this power.

7. Customer relationship management

Customers want to be part of the process, staying in the loop with the service appointments that have been scheduled- and understandably so. From the booking process, to following up on the progress of the job- it all factors in. In case there are issues that crop up- like service vehicles being delayed, situations where extra parts need to be ordered, or the session cancelled and scheduled on a different day- being fully transparent with your customers will be a great boost to your brand. Gaining new clients and retaining the current ones requires the firm to maintain a quality customer service.

Negative feedback because of your customers’ feeling neglected will be a setback for your business. Integrating the customer relationship management into the field service will go a long way in enhancing their experience. Here, software solutions like FieldElite have also got you covered with a customer self-serve portal, accessible online through their browsers. This has the welcome benefit of reducing the number of calls as they conduct follow-ups, since they will be in a position to track the project right from the comfort of their homes and office desks, thus increasing customer satisfaction.

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Busy skilled maintenance technician repairing brewery equipment

Proactive Preventative Maintenance: How IoT and Field Service Management Software Helps

FieldElite, our mobile workforce management software, has been key to several industries’ return on investment. Whether it’s for plumbing, electrical, property management, cleaning, and maintenance, FieldElite has provided data centralisation for efficient management of these business activities. 

Field service management software is important to utilise current workload, and also helps resolve future issues. We’re talking about a proactive approach to preventative maintenance. 

How exactly do field service managements help in preventative maintenance? 

The answer lies in how field service management is interlinked with IoT in predicting future jobs for the mobile service industry.  

What is IoT? 

Simply put, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of devices and sensors connected to the internet. These “things” (e.g. your smartphone or smartwatch) enable data to be sent and be received without human intervention.

Fundamentally, IoT is about devices being connected to the internet to allow remote monitoring

For many years now, remote monitoring for IT infrastructure has been widely used. 

What’s new that we’re experiencing right now is even the smallest devices — individual light bulbs and sensors — can have a network and internet connection, allowing entire systems to be monitored in great detail. 

Implementing IoT and accessing data can be challenging for most service organisations. However, when combined with predictive analytics and field management software, it can have a huge potential impact on individual businesses and the service industry as a whole. 

What is Preventative Maintenance? 

Preventive maintenance refers to regular, routine maintenance to help keep equipment up and running, preventing any unplanned downtime and expensive costs from unanticipated equipment failure. 

The goal of preventative maintenance is to decrease the likelihood of a machine or an equipment’s failure by performing regular maintenance. 

Preventative management can be very complex, especially for companies with a fleet of equipment or customers. It requires careful planning and scheduling of maintenance on equipment before there is an actual problem. 

Also, preventive maintenance is evolving. It’s not just about scheduling the same work every month to prevent failure anymore. Today, working smarter with better information about equipment conditions is critical to ensure maintenance is effective.

That’s where IoT and field service management software, like FieldElite, comes in. Together, they organise and carry out preventive maintenance needs for service industries. 

How IoT and FieldElite Helps in Preventative Maintenance

With FieldElite and IoT technology, you get the best in preventive maintenance management.

  • Evaluation of equipment or machines — the condition of machines or equipment is evaluated in order to predict when maintenance needs to be performed. 
  • Automated work order — automated time-based work order creation
  • Full condition-based plans — allows you to do the following:
    • Right-size your maintenance work
    • Lower costs
    • Extend the life of your or customer’s assets 
  • Quicker reporting — due to its efficient and automated nature, IoT and field service management software can reduce a field technician’s average report time from two weeks to two days, therefore boosting your cash flow! 

That’s the most important result a mobile service management software can produce (in connection with preventative maintenance). It’s cost-saving! This can be achieved over routine or time-based preventive maintenance, as tasks are only performed when they are needed. 

The Internet of Things (IoT) and field service management software is changing field service as we know it. 

Companies who adapt and utilise these technologies will benefit the most from the resulting competitive advantage of preventative maintenance. 

Start elevating every field service experience now!  

Our field service software, FieldElite helps you: 
  • Accepts jobs in the field
  • Automate appointment scheduling
  • Manage scheduled jobs 
  • Get real-time visibility into all operations
  • Have a clear and easy viewing of job locations 
  • Resolve field service calls faster 
  • Enable mobile workers to get the job done right
  • Keep customers updated at every step 
  • Create quotations and accept payments 
  • Analyse efficient reports from field technicians
  • Helps in proper preventative maintenance management. 

Learn how to schedule jobs to field workers with ease. Check out FieldElite

CONTACT US

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