What Is Field Service Management?
Field Service Management (FSM) is the organization and optimization of employees and tasks that occur “in the field” or away from your organization’s headquarters. Many types of companies implement FSM practices, from services to manufacturing, installation and utility services. Field Service Management is growing as many industries provide mission critical services in the field.
What Are Some Common Field Service Activities?
One of the exciting yet challenging aspects of successful Field Service Management is that every company and industry has unique needs and specifications when defining FSM, so it is important to have a highly flexible platform.
Traditional field services that have led to the creation of modern FSM solutions were carried out by utility, HVAC, water, and telecommunication industry professionals. These industries have historically dispatched technicians or other staff members to remote locations, such as businesses and residences. Work would either be completed at these locations, meters would be read, or tasks would be accomplished remotely.
Many of these duties involve accurate asset and equipment tracking and maintenance. Much of field service is customer-facing, and since work is performed remotely, mobile workforce management is a keystone of FSM.
Telecommunications and Cable
Technicians install cable or run phone lines into residences or businesses.
Employees monitor usage and are dispatched for repairs.
Natural Gas/Energy Utilities
Technicians investigate and repair suspected leaks and monitor usage.
Engineering and Manufacturing
Technicians are dispatched for preventative asset or equipment maintenance and repair, including servitization of customer assets.
Professionals provide landscaping, irrigation, janitorial services, snow removal services, and plumbing.
Technicians install or repair heating or cooling units in residential, commercial, and industrial environments.
Some field service activities have started pouring over into industries that traditionally didn’t have field service activities.
Healthcare, real estate, and many other vertical markets have started to use field service principles and tools in their mobile work. For example, in healthcare, mobile nurses, remote patient monitoring, and home healthcare services are increasingly popular alternatives to inpatient services and extended hospital or long-term care facility stays. FSM software helps nurses keep in touch with doctors, track vitals, order supplies, and improve the patient experience.
Blended workforces, which include full-time employees and independent contractors, require tools to manage both types of workers from any location. Additionally, many field services are accomplished outside “typical” business hours and days, increasing the need for flexible mobile workforce management as workers must be available at all hours, depending on their services.
Common Field Service Management Issues:
Meeting Customer Expectations
Customers have high expectations for service today. Utility customers expect service without disruption, and customers getting services done at their homes want to know when and what to expect from onsite workers. Fast, efficient solutions are required.
Managers struggle to monitor and communicate with field employees.
The safety of mobile employees at remote sites or on the road is vital.
Fluctuating fuel, raw materials, equipment, and other costs can be difficult and expensive to monitor and minimize.
Juggling customer service, mobile workforce management, and operation optimization is a considerable challenge and makes standardization difficult.
Manual Dispatch is Inefficient
Manually dispatching field workers causes inherent inefficiencies and is time-consuming. Errors and underutilized employees and assets often occur.
Services are a vital driver of sales. FSM can help improve customer satisfaction and increase sales of related services.
Outdated Data and Analytics Technology
Antiquated data collection methods and underutilized or nonexistent analytics decrease efficiency and inhibit potential growth.
Unused or Underutilized Assets
Even when not used, industrial equipment is expensive to maintain. Many companies don’t even have a record of their complete asset inventory.
The benefit of Field Service Management implementation is that these issues can be rectified through an organized and centralized system that incorporates modern technology to optimize and improve all operations throughout your mobile workforce.
What Is Field Service Management Software?
Pen and paper data collection and record-keeping was once the best method for monitoring and optimizing field services. However, with the increased demand for field services across industries, managers and decision-makers seek more modern solutions. Even with digital technology, data becomes siloed and difficult or impossible to access and utilize without the correct technology.
Field Service Management software incorporates artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to remove data silos and integrate data into a single platform that can automate and optimize field service tasks across the entire workforce, regardless of proximity to company headquarters. FSM software connects employees and managers to vital, up-to-date information and data. A mobile workforce optimized through an integrated FSM solution increases overall efficiency and customer service, leading to improved practices and business growth.
With smartphones, tablets, and laptops, mobile workforce management is easier to implement than ever before. When technicians have instant access to data through their mobile devices, field services are improved through instant access to company data like service history, customer information, and real-time updates—leading to increased customer loyalty, satisfaction, and sales.
AI-enabled technology can automate route scheduling, optimization, and technician selection based on customer needs. This can make dispatch instantaneous upon work order submission and ensures that the closest and most qualified professional is connected to the correct customer. Increased dispatch efficiency and route optimization save labor, time, and money and are invaluable perks of FSM software.
What Are Some Must-Haves When Considering Field Service Management Software?
Field Service Management software should be cloud-based and tailored to integrate with your existing systems. FSM software must be accessible at any time and location for real-time data updates.
For example, KloudGin’s Field Service Suite enables mobile scheduling and management of all work streams. It incorporates work orders, resources, vehicles, communications, customers, and collaboration into a single configurable business process.
Leveraging automation and machine learning, KloudGin’s Field Service Suite optimizes field service jobs’ prioritization, scheduling, routing, and completion.
Does My Business Need Field Service Management or Mobile Workforce Management Software?
While advanced field service management solutions like KloudGin’s Field Service Suite combine mobile workforce management capability into field service management software, not every business involved in field services may benefit from this technology. Some smaller companies would be better suited for an independent mobile workforce management or basic scheduling solution. These solutions focus on employee-management relations and communication; primarily basic scheduling and productivity.
Field Service Management combines mobile workforce management’s improved communication abilities with optimizing billing, work order instructions, manuals and capturing real time field data, along with asset and equipment management, maintenance, and visibility, ensuring quick repairs or procurement whenever necessary. FSM software helps coordinate better deployment and management of your field workers and equipment.
Can My Business Benefit from Field Service Management Software?
Field Service Management is improving and expanding across industries as the world continues to become more remotely accessible and the need for convenience grows. If you need to manage a mobile workforce alongside valuable assets and want to optimize your field services to improve customer experiences, lower costs, and save time—implementing a Field Service Management solution could be the perfect answer.
Contact KloudGin today to get a demo and discover if our cloud-based Field Service Management solutions fit your needs.
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