Field Service Management (FSM) primarily is a system that keeps track of all aspects of a company’s field operations. It effectively integrates field activity with office administration aspects such as billing, accounting, supply chain and other important systems. Field service includes dispatching contractors or workers to different locations for installations, repairs, maintenance of systems and equipment or delivery of goods. These services are deployed for commercial or industrial clients or private customers at their homes. The field service landscape is expanding in various avenues rapidly, especially with the growth of online commerce portals, both B2B and B2C.
Field Service Management tracks, records and facilitates all aspects of field service with technologies for the on-site and off-site activities. It automates aspects of –
- Inventory management
- Vehicle tracking
- Customer portals
- Managing field technicians
- Handling dispatch
With an effective Field Service Management Software, the disconnect between field and office staff reduces and all activities get aligned to ensure smooth operations with real-time movement of information. As businesses grow aided and relying primarily on the virtual platforms, a functional FSM is a necessity not only for large and mid-size businesses, but also for small businesses.
What is the purpose of FSM?
Most organizations have a sizeable team of field service employees and coordinating with them is an operationally complex task. Software solutions for database management, ERP, CRM etc. have streamlined a lot of these processes. However, a dedicated technology for managing the mobile workforce and field service operations is imperative to ensure transparency, connectivity and accountability till the final link in the organisational chain. Working with field team involves many variables including recording the task assigned to them, their schedule, monitoring the movements, and ensuring proper delivery of services, beside the other backend tasks. This requires a lot of synchrony among various branches of the business including administration, accounts, sales and customer service to name a few. Involvement of multiple departments and persons leads to miscommunication, delays, and incorrect information relay among the often-occurring errors. There will also be external factors such as delay in reaching the destination or customers sudden unavailability.
Field management is a challenging aspect of business that can be very fragmented because of the geographic spread of operations and the paper route that is created in the process. In the past decade field service management automation has become streamlined with the use of technology for many aspects such as invoicing, vehicle tracking and accounting. There are many aspects that fall out of the ambit such as without process automation there were fragmented processes which required managing paperwork resulting in a loss of connection with field agents thus making remote operations a challenge. The FSM technology fills this gap and completes the organisational chain.
Understanding FSM Technology
FSM technology automates field operations using mobile systems and as logistics of managing field teams gets more complex, the value of FSM software is also increasing. The new field service management software gives better access to remote employees, client data and more.
The use of FSM software varies among industries, for instance, a HVAC company may use the software for noting repairs, while property management organisation can use it for tracking rents and maintenance bills and healthcare services will use it for supply chain management and ensuring products reach within time. The FSM software handles aspects of and facilitates –
- Data analytics
- Order tracking
- Billing cycles
- Back-office tasks
With FSM software and mobile apps, organizations can achieve streamlined communication, scheduling, task assignment and targeted information sharing between field workers and the back office.
Read More : Are your On-Field Operations 100% Automated?
What An FSM Ecosystem looks like
The dynamic business environment is fuelled by Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning and Big Data. To keep field service operations running smoothly and to expand its scope of activity, organizations are using FMS technology. For instance, some businesses that are built on providing customers doorstep services give options for customers to opt for more services or change current service when the company’s representative arrives at their doorstep. The field service agent has greater discretion to offer additional products or services and recording the same in the system. All the scheduling and accounting aspects are auto adjusted, and a seamless execution of task occurs which benefits the customer, company and employee.
A well-executed FSM ecosystem has –
- Mobile integration: The FSM tools are accessible on the field agents’ mobile device and they have scope for faster decision-making, unencumbered by tedious channels.
- Relevant system integration: The FSM solution should work seamlessly with other systems that is in use for CRM, ERP, IT and payroll software among other relevant software.
- Proactive data capture: The system must live stream data to all relevant channels so that business decisions can be made in real-time without awaiting field agents to return with their reports.
As per business needs, Field Service Management software also gives information of company equipment location, live-tracking of goods transportation vehicles, manuals for employee reference for varied circumstances etc.
What FSM technology does
- Workforce Management
- Inventory management
Workforce management is central to successful business operations in the field, and it can be broadly interpreted to manage hiring workforce, payroll, assigning tasks and measuring their key deliverables. In terms of FSM technology, field employees have greater connect with the various departments of the organization as there is a common platform for assigning and monitoring schedules, assigning workers for a task, managing availability, connecting support to nearest customer, auto-generation of data that had to previously be inputted into the spreadsheets which left scope for human errors. With the FSM technology, common problems like double-booking of field agent, gap in data, miscommunication on goods receipt or delayed relay of reviews and notes by clients are averted.
Maintaining inventory is essential for daily operations and issues such as breakdown of tools and equipment can cause delay in service for current order and affect future service requests creating a large loss of business. FSM technology helps to track, manage and assign resources and records the conditions and service requirements of inventory. One can check the FSM software to find out who is using an equipment and in what location. FSM has capabilities to assign workers equipment on the basis of their skill level and equipment condition to ensure optimum use of resources.
- Documentation Collections and management
- Back-office tasks
With FSM software, auto bill generation can be done on the platform and the field agent can retrieve it directly on his/her mobile device to present to the client. A copy can be sent directly to the client with provisions for online payment so that field agents do not have to worry about billing and transactions but simply complete their job and leave. The FSM technology also gives the field agent authority to issue invoice on the spot in cases of additional services rendered. The back-office team can access the billing information by visiting the field agent’s account and retrieve any information required.
FSM system comes with an efficient document management system to store information such as schematics, blueprints, part numbers and lists, and much more, all data can be accessed by the authorized personnel on their mobile devices or the desktop.
Back-office tasks such as billing and scheduling are easily streamlined so that the technician also has the same information as the back-office support team does. With FSM technology, it is easier to schedule multiple appointments for a single field agent as the software will schedule appointments on basis of geographic range, skill level, and current word schedule. So, if a truck has left to drop some goods in a certain region, other drops or pick-ups can scheduled in the same route based on the geolocation. It can also match field agents schedule with the customers schedule to ensure better time and resource management.
Why your business needs Field Service Management Software?
Enterprise software solutions are a necessity to raise the competitive bar of the business and to expand the market base. With a fully integrated, and properly executed FMS software, you can enjoy the following benefits –
- Productivity rise
- Seamless operations with field employees
FSM software aids a dynamic environment where the scope of the field agent can expand. With automated processes, there is no hassle of filling forms, updating minor data or logs physically. Employees at the desk and on the field are freed to concentrate on their job. The time saved translates to increased productivity and perfectly functioning dispatch cycle.
With connected apps that store data on cloud, which includes queries, tech support connects, access to tools among other things. Real-time support from the backend team can help resolve issues and improve job efficiency. The field agent can check on availability of parts and request for new parts, update job status, access inventory and resolve any issues on the field without having to visit the office. Along with staying connected, FSM also allows the company to keep track of employees and ensure they are within the assigned zone.
- Improved responsiveness
- Paperless Process
As information can be accessed on a single interface, it keeps the back office and field agents connected and improves customer experience. Also, it gives the business opportunity to respond faster to the field agent’s comments and client reviews.
Manual processes such as invoicing, job sheets and inventory sheets and also the individual reports that have to be submitted to different departments as per the requirement leaving a large paper trail with multiple entries that require processing. With FSM software the information is easily uploaded and accessed through the right channels, saving time and ensuring accuracy.
With the support of a powerful cloud solution and FSM software, it is easier for field agents to store data and access them across mobile devices. The office staff can instantly update tickets, coordinate directly with the field staff and update the customer on progress. FSM software has facilitated greater customer engagement, resulting in better customer experience. For instance, any schedule changes such as delay, or early arrivals can be estimated and broadcasted before time. With real time data generated from analytics, live videos or customer reviews, managers can monitor job status and make better business decisions for improving customer experience. The field agent also has greater knowledge access which enables them to respond to customer queries or connect them to the correct resource person.
Integrating Field Service Management Software with other enterprise software or even using it individually (in case of small businesses), can result in informed decision-making which will support smooth business operations. It is also essential for living up to customer expectations in the face of the rise in use of smartphones and internet-based services. This takes FSM to a whole new level of efficient resource management, cost control and customer experience.
With over 2 decades of experience in developing cutting edge custom software solutions, Radixweb sports extensive experience in the FSM development domain. If you too are interested is building highly efficient FSM software to empower your workforce, then look no further. Radixweb is at your service. Get in touch with us now.