Field service management (FSM) is a fast-growing industry. What is a $3 billion industry today is expected to grow to $5.1 billion by 2025. But while the industry is growing at an unprecedented rate, many FSM companies are grappling with many of the same challenges that could hold back such growth.
From maintaining a complicated technician schedule to managing stacks of paper invoices, running an FSM company means juggling multiple challenges and responsibilities at once. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Common pain points like inventory management and fleet maintenance are easier to manage than ever with FSM software. Here are 10 ways technology is helping to solve the most common challenges in the FSM industry today.
1. Scheduling Conflicts
Scheduling is one of the most pervasive challenges in field service management. There are many ways scheduling can work against you, potentially lowering customer satisfaction and upsetting technicians. Scheduling conflicts typically come in one of two forms. In the first scenario, jobs get booked in the same time slot for a single technician or team. In the second scenario, multiple technicians can end up being reserved for the same position. Field management software simplifies the scheduling process and removes the element of human error, saving you money and your workers’ time. Ultimately, these advantages will help to ensure customer satisfaction with the service you provide them.
2. Keeping Tabs on Field Service Technicians
Trust between technicians and managers is critical in field management. Technicians are in the field for the majority of the day, where you must be able to trust that they’re executing their scheduled jobs efficiently and cost-effectively. Field management software with GPS tracking gives you insight into your technicians’ routes and the status of their jobs.
More importantly, GPS helps keep your techs safe on the road and in the field. While some technicians might resist being monitored on the job, GPS tracking and Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) are more widely used and accepted by technicians who understand that these devices are just part of the new landscape in the field management industry.
3. Paper Documentation
The field service industry has run on a paper management system for decades. Creating work orders in the office, sending them into the field, and returning them with technicians is inefficient and leaves room for various errors. By using a digital, cloud-based system instead, you can track word orders and other documents in real-time, make needed changes on the fly, and react to new information without disrupting your teams’ schedules.
4. Training and Recruiting Costs
Employees are the lifeblood of your FSM business. Hiring the right people, training current employees when necessary, and avoiding bad hires is critical to maintaining adequate cash flow. It’s often more profitable to improve your current employees’ skills than it is to hire new employees. With field service management software, you can track the performance of your field crew. Over time, this will allow you to identify specific areas that should be addressed and improved through ongoing field service training.
5. First Visit Effectiveness
A significant challenge in the field service industry is sending teams to job sites with the right information and equipment to complete the job on the first visit. If you notice the number of follow-up visits increasing over time, you have a first visit effectiveness issue. This not only costs you more money in fuel and salary, but it also gives your customers a reason to consider switching to a competing company. Your FSM software should provide the technician with up-to-date information and customer service history so they can arrive on the job site ready to complete the job.
6. Client and Technician Response Time
Your field teams are bound to run into unexpected situations when they’re on the job. Before, they had to call into the office and wait for the correct instructions. Today, with cloud-based field management software, you can instantly connect back-office and field technician teams via smartphone or tablet, saving time and money, and improving customer satisfaction.
7. Resistance to Change in Field Service Management Software
You might be excited about upgrading your software, but that doesn’t mean your staff will be open to change. Remember that while you’ve done your homework in choosing a new platform, your employees are likely to be encountering it for the first time. So, take the time to educate them on the platform you’re planning on adopting. Finally, give your staff ample time to familiarize themselves with the software before it goes “live.”
8. Inventory Management
Sound inventory management is one of the most effective ways to save costs in field service-based businesses. Avoiding stockouts allows your teams to complete jobs efficiently. Simultaneously, preventing overstocking cuts down the need for storage space and helps improve cash flow. Until recently, field service Inventory management has been one of the most complex and time-consuming tasks of running any business. But with today’s FSM software, you can track inventory and restock with the push of a button, saving you time, money, and the frustration associated with paper-based systems.
9. Invoice Management
For years, the field service industry has been plagued with extended billing cycles and other major invoicing difficulties. Wouldn’t it be nice if your technicians could spend more of their time working and less time dealing with field service invoicing? Today, with the right field service management software, your technicians can settle invoices on-site with mobile invoicing. Any updates or changes to an invoice are instantly available to your back office staff and field technicians.
10. Fleet Maintenance
Your business is only as healthy as the vehicles in your fleet. The last thing you want is for one of your crews to be stuck on the side of the road instead of working on a job site. Creating and following a fleet maintenance checklist will help you avoid potential issues by keeping your fleet healthy and on the road.
Do More With Field Service Management Software
Despite extensive advances in cloud-based technology over the past decade, many field service-based businesses still use manual methods for organizing their fleets, technicians, customers, and inventory. Modernizing your field service management systems with Azuga can help overcome these challenges and position your company to meet tomorrow’s increased demands. To learn more about what Azuga can do to enhance your field service management efficiency, have a look at our FSM solution today.