It is the age of digital evolution and as business sectors fiercely compete to match the pace of technology change, only those who are quick to read and act on signals of change will thrive and stay ahead of the curve. While cutting-edge technologies are providing us with a competitive advantage, the challenge is how we make a profitable investment in the right technology to optimize our ongoing business processes and get our money’s worth.
Field Service Management: The growing presence
According to reports, 76% of field service providers are striving hard to achieve revenue growth. On the other hand, it is interesting how FSM is emerging as a highly profitable sector with a huge market size of USD 2.56 billion and is further expected to cross 5.08 billion by 2023, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 14.7%. Today field service management (FSM) is an integral aspect of numerous business sectors that handle resources for waste management, telecommunications and cable industry, public sector governance, property maintenance, water and gas utilities, in-house healthcare, heavy engineering and mining, electricity and energy and many more services that deal with installation, inspection, repair and preventative maintenance work.
Meeting the challenges
Managing the logistics of field workforce along with meeting customer expectations isn’t easy, given that FSM involves a great amount of information exchange and extensive coordination between on- ground teams moving across various locations, back-end office employees and diversely located customers with multiple service requests.
Any kind of inefficiency or lapse in managing resources can adversely impact a business and bring down the revenues drastically causing huge losses. The question is how do we adopt an idea, end-to-end field management system and create a sustainable business model that will encompass and optimize all aspects of the service delivery process for maximizing margin and customer satisfaction?
Let us get an insight into a few comprehensive solutions that can give us the desired outcomes.
The Big Cloud
Considering that the next few years will witness an exponential growth in the integration of technologies like Cloud Computing, Artificial Intelligence, and the Internet of things (IOT), it will bridge the gap between workforce efficiency and financial constraints and upscale the business around Field Service Management.
More and more field service organizations are adopting cloud-based field management solutions as they provide effective functions at affordable prices along with less physical infrastructure and maintenance cost than on-site solutions. Tasks like scheduling service orders, dispatching workers, tracking vehicle locations and job status and integrating the handling of these activities with inventory, accounting, and other back-office systems, can be intelligently automated, tracked and monitored through a cloud-based platform with the help of right software solution. Even the entire maintenance of contracts with customer companies and web-based customer chats can be managed.
In general, a cloud will accommodate the following capabilities
- Scheduling and order management
- Tracking of field agent/vehicle location tracking
- GPS navigation and route optimization
- Driver logs and time tracking
- Complete knowledge and asset information
- Payment processing
- Customer portals
- Updates on job status
- Inventory management
- Regulatory compliance measures
Automation is the key
The schedule, dispatch, and route optimization solution segment will see an enormous growth in the years to follow. The solution delegates tasks to field representatives based on their skills and current locations for delivering services in minimum time. It also provides automated scheduling decisions for real-time collaboration, complete visibility, fast service delivery, and enhanced customer experience.
Moreover, through route optimization and dynamic scheduling, service companies can substantially reduce drive distances and fuel consumption. The route optimization feature helps in tracking the best possible route between two locations
Thus field service automation is the crux of the modern FSM and embracing it is a mandate to compete with the big players and be on top of the game.
The rising popularity of SaaS
In recent times, the emergence of software-as-a-service (SaaS) pricing models has inspired small and upcoming service organizations like window cleaners, landscapers, or plumbing and HVAC ( Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) technicians to prove their mettle amid the big players of the industry.
Instead of purchasing an expensive license or costly IT infrastructure, businesses can get access to cloud-hosted FSM software for a monthly subscription fee. SaaS also facilitates and ensures greater mobility as the system can be accessed from any device with a web connection and eliminates the need for a typical physical network
The faster, the better
In order to provide the best services, field workers need on-the-job access to trade tools, back-end systems, and knowledge repositories. However, through a mobile FSM app, they can access diagnostic tools, manuals, and schematics that will help them to deliver prompt services and ensure customer satisfaction.
Many organizations are now adopting solutions with built-in access to other core systems like customer relationship management (CRM), inventory, and accounting. The integration is much better and, field executives can deliver real end-to-end service.
Bringing greater transparency
An executive has to be physically present on site to complete a work order or asset pick-up. Paper-based reporting can lead to errors through redundant data entry. An FSM solution lets your field agents record job data, long hours, and complete proofs of service through tablets and smartphones and report their job status while they’re still in the field. While at work, print invoices and forms on a mobile printer, or even obtain digital customer signatures on their mobile devices.
Such kind of real-time, digital collection implies greater accuracy and absolute security for future audits. Thus the increasing use of applications and wearable devices among field workers is definitely bringing a boost to the field service management market.
FSM solutions with mobile tracking capabilities keep the authorities posted on vehicle locations and job statuses of their staff. This enables better accountability and helps teams manage unexpected delays or problems.
Instead of manually logging all the information for say defectives pieces; barcode handheld devices can be used. The logic can be built with various rules to capture the data directly and transfer into the system.
Information is power
Since the entire data of the problems and solutions will get captured in the system, the knowledge can be made available for training other workers or agents. This way, a relatively lesser experienced member will imbibe the know-how of servicing solutions.
Internet of Things – The booming reality
The internet of things (IoT) is highly instrumental in businesses that require assimilating data from devices that cannot be easily accessed, monitored and repaired. Various machines and devices with embedded sensors are deployed at customer sites and can be interconnected by the Internet of Things, through FSM software. These can also be used for doing predictive analysis while conducting preventive maintenance. It will not only result in proactive service but will also raise the level of efficiency while servicing the equipment. Integrating IOT is a great way to modernize workforces, develop effective business strategies
As a business enterprise when you use technology to strengthen the competitive advantage, your ability to deliver quick, effective solutions will redefine your parameters of success. Field Service Management software is no longer the prerogative of big corporations; it is an essential means of survival and can be the prized possession of every field agent who’s out there slogging to accomplish the best outcomes.