BlueFolder Blog

What is Field Service Management?

Dec 8, 2020

Growing your business depends on implementing the right automation process. Effective field service management that successfully leverages technology enables your field staff to be more productive, leaving customers and clients satisfied with the results while increasing productivity and visibility.

COVID-19 has made today’s marketplace a hyper-competitive landscape, placing increased demands on organizations like yours who want to stand out while social-distancing and protecting your staff and customers from potential pandemic exposure. The ability to quickly schedule, dispatch, and successfully manage your mobile workforce is no longer a ‘nice to have,’ it’s an absolute essential.

If you’re wondering, “what is field service management?” or “how can field service management help me?” this post is for you. We’ll look at the ways field service management (FSM) has grown over the years and how implementing an FSM system can not only help you survive this pandemic; it can help you thrive.

What is Field Service Management?

At its core, field service management refers to the disciplines and processes involved in how a company manages its resources (field technicians, equipment, tools, etc) for the purpose of providing services “in the field” at a customer’s location.

Field service management encompasses service delivery and the essential management processes you use to make your field service business successful and efficient:

  • Scheduling – work orders, maintenance, work schedules
  • Dispatching – technicians, equipment
  • Tracking – labor hours, job status, invoices, assets, equipment, billings, contracts, contacts and locations, service history, parts and materials, and expenses
  • Customer management and engagement
  • Team communications
  • Activity logs and audits
  • Workflow automation and more

Optimizing your business’s critical assets–such as real-time visibility into field resources–while preventing unforeseen delays and enabling greater accountability means maximizing profitability without sacrificing the best possible customer experience.

If it improves your field service efficiency and productivity, it’s part of FSM.

How Has FSM Evolved Over the Years?

As recently as 2010, service organizations were implementing cumbersome whiteboards and/or spreadsheets, thus limiting and restricting field and back-office communications in their search for new ways to automate field service processes.

The demand for automation has only increased with time; it’s shifted to focus more on increased end-to-end communication ensuring all parties can engage in prompt messaging and knowledge transfer. Additional emphasis on mobile access reflects 98% of Americans relying on mobile devices daily.

What Are the Benefits of Field Service Management?

FSM benefits vary, ranging from labor cost optimization for determining the number of techs required for each task to improving the ability to choose the right person for a specific job or worksite location.

Additional benefits of field service management software include an increased ability to fit in emergency work order requests from customers, effective management of cancellations resulting in minimum downtime, reduced assignment overlap, and completing work as cost-effectively as possible.

But perhaps the single most appreciated aspect of FSM has to be keeping field workers out of the office and in the field where their skills, and billable hours are optimized.

Customer Engagement

With constant, often instant, access to information, consumers are more discerning than ever, which has changed the way businesses engage with them. Successful customer engagement in today’s digital environment requires building a unified omnichannel customer experience (CX). From email to phone calls and from chat to social media interactions, customer engagement has never been more complicated or required more from businesses.

Field Service Scheduling and Dispatch

Accurate service scheduling and dispatch require having access to accurate information. Whether technicians are at a job site, on the move, or waiting to be assigned, minimizing downtime depends on an optimized schedule. Assigning resources to longer-term projects requires being able to see technician schedules and availability weeks or months at a time.

Dispatchers need real-time location information access, allowing them to adapt for emergencies or navigate traffic jams, reducing travel time between jobs. Less downtime means schedules can be pre-planned up to months in advance and include recurring maintenance schedules.

Another key aspect of scheduling and dispatch involves notifying technicians and other employees about the work they’ve been assigned to perform and/or oversee.

Asset Management and Equipment Tracking

Drastically improve efficiency while maximizing equipment uptime.

There’s nothing worse than trying to keep track of customer equipment and asset manufacturer and model information, serial numbers, warranty expiration dates, and more–especially when you needed them yesterday.

With BlueFolder, you have instant access to customer service records and maintenance schedules, including customizable reminders alerting you to upcoming service anniversaries. Furthermore, you can eliminate wasted repeat visits due to the necessary information being unavailable. BlueFolder allows you to upload user manuals, photos, or other attachments, so you have everything you need to complete service in a single visit.

All-in-One Field Service Dashboard

With a comprehensive, single-access dashboard, you can instantly tap into accurate real-time information to make those crucial decisions now, not tomorrow.

Security

Cloud-based solutions deliver built-in security, peace of mind, accessibility, and cost savings. Gone are the days and nights spent worrying about data backups, missed updates, or forgotten patches.

Work Order Management

Work order management allows for accurate tracking of current, past, and future jobs to ensure prompt completion of work, accurate billing, job costing, and a complete audit trail for each job. Easily optimize technician efficiency while increasing your billings.

Workflow Automation

With seamless workflow automation, you give your team the tools needed to eliminate unnecessary slowdowns. Accurate tracking of billable activities and expenditures, like labor, materials, and other job-specific expenses, guarantees work orders seamlessly move along to the next phase with the added benefit of identifying and avoiding inaccurate billing to customers of any non-customer expenses.

Tracking Contracts and Entitlements

You’ll never miss another deadline when you automatically track contracts and entitlements. Successfully manage service level and preventative maintenance agreements, effortlessly maintain customer contracts by automatically scheduling planned maintenance visits, work orders, and invoices.

Employee Empowerment and Accountability

Empower employees to work more efficiently and maximize billable hours for every technician on staff without worrying if tasks are being overlooked or disregarded.

Reporting and Analytics

Access to comprehensive reporting and analytics data allows you to leverage key performance indicators unique to your business and identify new opportunities and challenges before they become problems. Custom reporting provides the ultimate flexibility to see exactly the data you need for your business.

Data is the new cornerstone of how successful businesses operate, driving growth. With automated solutions delivering intelligent end-to-end service management, companies can access real-time data and apply it to current and future decision-making.

If you’re wondering how quickly your business will benefit from a field service management solution, schedule a demonstration or try BlueFolder for free and enjoy full access to all features for 15 days.

By Jeff Emrich