5 FAQs about Field Service Management Solutions
You’re probably all familiar with the manual methods of field service management- printed job cards, excel spreadsheets, pens and paper and many phone calls. For a moment imagine you have a company with 10 field workers working on numerous jobs in any one day. Now imagine 5 of them call in sick! Having to reschedule jobs in their correct field and geographical region can be a nightmare. And what if you have 100 or 1000 field workers! So now you have rescheduled the work how do you monitor in real time and run KPI reports?
I have met many organisations that have settled into these manual methods and have fallen into the most dangerous phrase in business- “We have always done it this way.”
2018 has seen a huge surge in organisations looking to invest in technology to improve the efficiency of their field service management. The top reasons for this include reducing operational costs, reducing risk, reducing paperwork and in turn increasing overall efficiency. In this article I will address and answer the questions I am most frequently about mobile solutions for field service management.
1. What are the biggest challenges for organisations using manual methods?
There are a number of challenges I have seen first-hand in organisations that use manual, paper and pen, methods of working. These include unnecessary errors in admin, miscommunication and a lack of standardised documentation. On top of this it also wastes valuable admin time, makes it difficult to plan and manage the allocation of works orders as well as to monitor and report on job progress. I have seen many organisations where field workers have to travel back and forth to the office to hand in paperwork and start/end shifts wasting both time and fuel. With GDPR coming into play and health & safety being vitally important- I am also seeing a huge risk of being non-compliant with both regulations, due to lack of processes.
2. What can a mobile solution do to improve field service management processes?
The key to improving the accuracy and efficiency of job management operations starts with the ability to store all your data on one system. I see many organisations using a very disjointed process that includes both duplicate and manual entry. WorkPal is a mobile solution where work is recorded, planned, allocated and monitored. In short it allows all key personnel from office to field to approach their workload in a mobile way. This boosts productivity and efficiency, and your own customer satisfaction.
3. What are the biggest advantages in implementing a mobile solution for my operations?
Research has shown that there are tangible business benefits for organisations who introduce a software solution for their field service operations. Analyst firm Gartner has shown a 40% improvement in field worker productivity, 30% improvement in service response times and a 25% reduction in both travel time and fuel.
From my own experience other advantages include better quality of service, reduction in admin costs, compliance with health and safety regulations and greater access to KPI reports to name a few.
4. What type of organisations use and benefit from mobile solutions like WorkPal?
Throughout my time at WorkPal I have seen the sectors we operate in grow from 5 to over 20. These range from facilities management to internal maintenance to healthcare. So not only is WorkPal benefiting a multitude of industries with teams working all over the country, but it is also benefiting internal technicians maintaining assets on only one site.
Choosing a software that is flexible and configurable by nature will make the transition to a solution a lot easier and opens new possibilities to improve effciency. One statement I often hear is, “We have looked at solutions in the past and they are too complicated”. Being able to offer a simple or complex solution is key for our clients when choosing a provider.
5. Is the implementation process of a mobile solution going to give me a headache?
Through my experience of implementing a solution into a number of organisations I can confirm the answer here is no, it doesn’t have to be. Setting up a solution can be a seamless process if managed correctly. At WorkPal, we assign a dedicated project manager to oversee the process as well as guide and advise throughout. This is often the best time to do a full analysis of paper forms that have been done the same way for years, before we transform them into a digital format. It is also the best time to tidy up data and look to ways to improve processes. Over the years we have overseen many implementations and through this experience can a consultative approach for this transition. Finally- onsite training is provided to ensure buy in from both office and field based teams. As good as webinars are, having someone face to face and local is very hard to beat.
Written by Ian Megahey, Head of Sales