The small stuff matters. A field service business, like any company, should always be considering how to extract more value from its resources and teams. However, this line of work can be even trickier to master. The field service industry is particularly susceptible to the pitfalls of administrative responsibilities.
Why? Because accurate, profitable field service requests rely on knowing what your technicians are doing on site, collecting that data, and leveraging it for invoices and performance tracking. Often, this means you have to perform countless manual tasks throughout the day: customer checks, data input, service updates, work order assignments, inventory reviews and invoice creation. One discrepancy can throw the whole workflow for a loop.
There’s a much better way — and your business might be ready for it.
By automating those essential, yet repetitive tasks, field operations become less of a chore and far more rewarding for your bottom line. With improved scheduling and seamless time tracking, you’ll have extra freedom to grow the company and refine what you do, instead of focusing on backend duties.
Ever wondered what you might accomplish with field service management software (FSM)? Let’s explore the advantages of automation across your day-to-day workflow and how to get started with that critical FSM software investment.
Why is Automation so Useful in the Field?
It’s no secret that automation is removing the burden of small, day-to-day tasks from workers in every sector and industry. Yet, field service businesses are lagging behind. According to data compiled by Finances Online, 52% of field service companies still use manual methods for managing their workforce, invoicing, and payroll. Typically, these businesses are sticking to pen and paper. We’re talking schedules on whiteboards, paper timesheets, and service agreements in filing cabinets. These assets can be lost, stolen, misplaced, or rendered inaccurate due to human error.
Field service automation can change all that for the better. Highlights include:
Real Time Service Updates
Every work order in the field should have direction and context as soon as it hits the technician’s schedule. FSM software allows you to create new orders with detailed guidance on the problem, pre-set prices, and estimated repair hours, so you know how long the job should take and the revenue it’s likely to bring in (although you can adjust this later for scope creep, too). Using automated templates, you’ll avoid the legwork of filling out the same basic data fields while providing more details for tasks like HVAC repairs. Meanwhile, filters enable you to group and separate service requests for a view of what’s due; it’s automated organization.
For their part, the field technician knows what every task demands. They can also provide status updates which, although manually selected, update the work order list for everyone on your field service management platform. Supporting field staff can see how they’re doing and what additional help — if any — the contractor needs. This is useful for inventory management and planning ahead for complex service requests.
Optimize Field Scheduling
A healthy field service business model relies just as much on good scheduling as the quality of the work itself. If a technician has to visit the office several times a day to receive assignments and map their route, they’re wasting time that could be spent visiting customers and performing ad hoc or preventive maintenance. Automation, conversely, builds schedules from tasks that can be carried out in quick succession or flagged for urgent repairs. Customer service improves because they aren’t waiting for the right specialist or equipment to arrive.
With FSM software, you’re able to configure a list of destinations on a digital map, showing your contractors where they have to be as soon as they hit the road. This accounts for proximity (eliminating longer, more expensive trips between sites) and the work order’s priority (ensuring that tougher or more sensitive jobs are completed within a single visit). Employees get straight to the job at hand without having to drive into the office to receive their schedule, raising productivity across the team.
No More Data Gaps
Paper-based field service management tools are a hazard to your data integrity. Have you ever lost crucial notes or documents that tell you what a customer requested, how the professional services were performed and whether there were any extra materials or labor to account for? What about the time entries your field workers submit each week? An intensive, manual approach to data collection and organization can leave you exhausted with numbers that don’t add up.
Field service automation, on the other hand, minimizes the potential for any errors. For example, technicians can submit their weekly timesheets in software that tracks their progress from job to job. You never have to hunt for accurate performance data. It’s all there, a click away.
Equally, you have the exact information for billing a field service customer. Sending the wrong invoice with a misquote can harm your cash flow and client relationships. But a rich, automated database reveals what every assignment costs, effortlessly.
What to Look for in Automation Today
Now that we’ve covered the core advantages for field service automation, , you may be wondering — where do I start? How does leading FSM software distinguish itself from the rest?
Trusted by over 30,000 users, Operix allows you to:
- Eliminate manual data entry, saving plenty of hours and cash that can be funneled into high-value work and core business optimization.
- Create and adjust schedules on the fly without relying on SMS or email alerts.
- Automatically generate invoices with service data using our one-of-a-kind QuickBooks integration.
- Attach notes, documents, service histories, manuals, photos and priorities to every work order, ensuring the proper service is performed and enhancing customer service.
- Easily drag and drop assignments into your contractors’ live scheduling.
- Apply work order filters such as HVAC, emergency repairs and custom labels in a single dashboard that everyone can access for emergency or preventive maintenance.
- Bring up concise reports on revenue and employee performance for further business insights.
- Allow customers to sign work off in the field, direct on our app screen, for rapid approvals.
- Cut reconciliation time from several days to several hours with automated payroll.
There’s even more to show you. Get in touch and we’ll walk you through Operix’s unique take on automated field service management.