Field service today
For organizations that install, maintain, and repair equipment in the field, managing the people and processes behind each task can be a major logistical challenge. There are schedules to balance, stock transfers to coordinate, and a constant stream of data to analyze and (hopefully) act on.
Field service management tools look to solve this problem by simplifying communication between the back office and the field. Most field service solutions also focus on supporting technicians, with mobile apps that provide detailed site histories, best practice workflows, and on-demand knowledge libraries.
Simplifying field service
Historically, field service management has been marked by slow, inefficient processes and a lack of real-time visibility into the field. Project managers often worked in the dark, waiting for handwritten reports to trickle in at the end of the day.
Over the last decade, the widespread adoption of field service solutions has fundamentally changed the way organizations approach field service. Instead of relying on paper forms and manual processes, they are using technology to work smarter, faster, and more efficiently.
Improving efficiency across teams
Field service management touches every aspect of an organization’s work in the field, from tracking inventory across job sites to scheduling and dispatching technicians:
- Create and execute work orders
- Schedule and dispatch technicians
- Monitor the performance of field teams and vendors
- Collect field data
- Re-route technicians and parts
- Manage spare parts availability
- Increase visibility into the field
- Put best practice workflows in the hands of technicians
- Identify service needs through remote monitoring and on-site inspections
Preparing for automation
If you looked at each field service organization’s technology maturity, most would fall neatly into one of the following categories:
- Pen and paper organizations are still heavily reliant on manual processes, with limited visibility into the field.
- Digitized organizations have replaced paper systems with mobile apps and field service solutions, and are seeing significant gains in real-time visibility and productivity.
- Automated organizations are leveraging AI-driven automation to streamline operations and deliver touchless field service.
For organizations that are comfortably on the road to digitization, the next step is driving productivity by automating routine tasks.
What to consider when evaluating field service solutions
The field service industry is at an inflection point. Gone are the paper forms and whiteboard schedules that used to power field service; in their place, digital solutions that use data to drive productivity and automate routine tasks.
As organizations transition from manual processes to field service solutions, it’s important to evaluate the following:
- Analyze whether your current systems and processes and driving productivity or creating operational bottlenecks
- Consider whether any of your operational pain points – from overworked field teams to an inability to act on data – could be solved with better technology.
- Determine whether you need to replace existing systems, or if you can augment what’s already in place.