If you want to see the productivity impact of field service management software, just look at how field service personnel spend their time. Simply put, the percentage of the working day actually spent on-site, repairing and maintaining equipment, can be alarmingly low.
That’s not the fault of field service operatives themselves, of course - or at least not in the vast majority of cases. It’s simply that by the time you strip out travel time, administration time, parts requisitioning time, and time spent updating headquarters, there isn’t a lot left.
Some businesses see that as a problem. To us, as a field service management software provider, it’s an opportunity. And a fairly significant one at that. Field service management software, it turns out, can do a lot to cut these efficiency losses, freeing up time for field service management operatives to do what they really ought to be doing - namely, repairing and maintaining equipment on-site.
Let’s take a look.
Field service management software productivity win#1: Time sheets and job sheets
How long do your field service operatives spend filling in job sheets and time sheets? And how much of that time is spent writing down information that is already known, and already in your IT system - the customer’s name, address, order number, required parts and so on?
Automating this through field service management software running on mobile devices, pre-populated with customer and job data, offers a significant opportunity to create extra time in each working day - time that can be spent more productively, repairing and maintaining equipment.
Better still, automating job sheets and time sheets offers another significant benefit: greater accuracy, and more accurate invoicing. Because by linking to inventory records and actual elapsed time data, job sheets and time sheets can be filled in more accurately. There’s no danger of any spare parts used on a given job being forgotten, for instance. And by linking to actual elapsed time data, invoiced time can more accurately reflect the real time spent on a job.
Field service management software productivity win#2: Call scheduling
Call scheduling software can make a huge difference - ask any of the major parcel carriers and logistics firms who use routing and scheduling software. Simply put, the order in which your field service management operatives visit a day’s sites has a major impact on their productivity.
First, they can maximise the number of site visits made in a day. Second, they can minimise the fuel and vehicle wear and tear involved in making those visits. And third, their daily workloads become more predictable, leading to fewer overtime and out-of-hours payments.
Yet there are still businesses that don’t use call scheduling software for their field service management operations.
Despite the fact that any decent field service management software system should incorporate call scheduling as standard.
Field service management software productivity win#3: Status updating
If you’re like many field service businesses, you’ll probably have your field service personnel reporting back to headquarters several times through the day.
It helps to keep management up-to-date with how the day’s calls are progressing, and enables management to update customers with likely times of arrival.
It’s also a good way of reporting problems, and requisitioning spare parts. But it all takes time - time, of course, that could be spent more productively, repairing and maintaining equipment on site.
Remember those mobile devices? It turns out that, wirelessly-equipped and coupled to field service management software, they’re a superb means of handling this updating - as well as enabling customer invoicing to take place, even while field service operatives are still on the road.
The bottom line
In short, when it comes to the productivity of field service personnel, field service management software can make a huge difference. Simply put, you’re making time available for your field service operatives to carry out more jobs, and satisfy more customers.
But customers aren’t the only people being satisfied. Because it turns out that an investment in field service management software usually delights field service personnel too. They can spend more time doing what they want to do, working on-site, repairing and maintaining equipment, and spend less time on mundane administrative chores.