If you have been in the field services for a while, you’d understand how challenging it is to keep all the operations going smoothly. With direct customer interaction and technicians serving at widespread geographic locations, field service management proves to be daunting and many times vulnerable to failures and losses. The adoption of mobility powered ERP solutions has enabled many field service organizations to handle their operations and staff better.
Some of the challenges many SMBs (Small and Mid-sized Businesses) face while providing field services are,
- No real-time data resulting in delays and poorly informed technicians
- High time consumption due to lack of coordination
- Low customer satisfaction rate
- Overheads due to redundant visits to the same customer location
- Low control over technicians and lack of productive work
Features of Mobility
Implementation of mobility driven ERP solutions makes field services faster and more resourceful. It results in high performance, quick resolutions and increased customer satisfaction.
Some of the key features of mobility that are shaping today’s on-field operations are,
- Offline capability that syncs data to technicians tablet so they have access to customer and service data even when Wi-Fi connection is not available
- Ability to capture customer signature on tablets
- Automated invoices resulting out of access to real time data
- Readily available service history on equipment and customer
- Scheduling of tasks as per priority and remote assignment of jobs to technicians
- ERP module integrated with other departments like sales, pre-sales, inventory, purchasing and accounting
- Use of mobiles and tablets to keep technicians and customers well informed
- Easy and standardized problem tracking, ticket creation, service request creation and documentation options
- Collection of technicians time logs, travel and other expenses reduces the paperwork and helps in faster invoicing to customers
Field Service Challenges and Mobility Solutions
Mobility has the potential to help equipment dealers, service providers and field technicians in multiple ways. In industries such as machine tool service, HVAC install and repair, and construction, a well designed and integrated mobility solution can make a difference between growth and business stagnation. The mobility based applications that integrate seamlessly with ERP system facilitate centralized operations and live updates, thereby reducing delays and errors.
Here are the top 3 field service challenges and their respective resolutions brought about by mobility:
No easy access of latest information for field technician leading to longer task completion time, customer dissatisfaction and multiple visits to the same customer
Mobility based ERP solution has centralized information storage through which the technician knows about the problem history, prior service history, customer details and equipment information. Additionally, live updates and notifications make it possible to get approvals and thereby close service tickets faster. This results in faster problem resolution, better time management, decreased staff efforts, and most importantly, customer satisfaction.
Little or no visibility of available inventory make it difficult for the field service technician to get the required spare parts in time. The setup can often get into the ‘no-stock’ situation which makes it harder to fix issues and keeps the customers waiting for long.
ERP solutions in conjunction to mobility make it easy for the staff to know the state of the inventory easily. The technicians can by themselves place an order for a particular item, know about the purchase status from the dealers and receive a notification when the spare part has arrived. In addition to this, with the updated information of the available stock, the staff can take steps to purchase the most used items before they run out them. This renders smoother information flow, better control over the inventory and coordinated action steps from all parties involved.
The technicians need to contact their back-office frequently to understand their dispatch schedule, work allocation, task status, customer details and other information required for carrying out their task successfully.
Mobility brings the entire setup right into the handheld devices the technicians possess. By using their tablets and phones they can get to know their work allocation, customer details and task information within seconds. They also can receive live guidance, access manuals and report back to the back-office instantly. Using the real-time mobility solutions, the service organization is able to improve their throughput and ability to handle more business.
Utilizing electronic signatures, the field technicians and complete the service tickets, get customer signatures and automatically generate invoices. For some businesses, processing credit cards from the mobile device improves their collections process.
Thus a rightly implemented ERP solution can increase the productivity of your field services. It can also fetch you more customers and better managed workforce.