A day in the life of a field service operations manager is one of coordinated chaos, depending on the tools and technologies at their disposal. Burnout is not just a term used most recently to describe the Millennial Generation. No, burnout is also a term I hear all too often in the world of field service operations management.
If you’re reading this while multi-tasking, reading overdue work orders, fielding calls from dissatisfied customers and trying to track down misplaced assets, these are signs it’s time to consider technology to help you take control of your field operations.
To help you get started, I put together this quick post detailing 6 technologies field service operations managers need to avoid burnout.
#1: Mobile Forms
It takes a few minutes to re-create paper forms in digital format and your forms are now mobile; they go where your field crews go.
As an operations manager, that means:
- No more handling paper or, rather, losing paperwork
- No more handwriting legibility issues
- Pre-populating information on forms increases worker efficiency and accuracy
- Offline availability in remote places
Mobile forms are the best, quickest way to dip your toes in the digital transformation journey you’re eyeing. The barrier to entry is low – you have the paper form—and with the industry’s leading mobile forms builder, your field teams can be using mobile forms in no time, without disrupting the business.
#2: Scheduling and Route Optimization
If Google can preview your route, your field service software should be able to do that and more. Then again, if you don’t have any scheduling and route optimization tools right now, anything is better than nothing.
Scheduling is the second technology to add to your list to implement. Whether it’s a few field workers or hundreds, scheduling technology enables field service operations managers to take back their day. I’ve seen this time and again with practically every customer we’ve implemented.
It’s shocking the efficiency gains that can be realized. Consider rescheduling scenarios you face on a daily or weekly basis.
- How many steps does it take to reschedule?
- With a central location to manage it all aided by automation, how much time will save?
- How many steps will you remove?
The same can be said for recurring jobs. With the right scheduling software, you can schedule recurring jobs in advance in a couple clicks.
#3: Team Location Tracking
There are many reasons field service operations managers would want, or even need, to track their field workers. This isn’t about Big Brother oversight, rather, understanding where resources are at any given time for urgent situations as well as safety training opportunities.
Team location tracking technology is not new, but it’s the third most helpful field service management technology on our list.
For instance, in the event a worker was speeding, you can use that data as an opportunity to reinforce safety as a corporate goal. Remember the rescheduling scenario from the second item on this list? Being able to schedule the nearest mobile worker to an urgent customer visit is accomplished if you know where they are.
In general, team location tracking technology allows operations managers to make more informed decisions while enforcing safety.
#4: Mobile Time Cards
Similar to mobile forms, mobile time cards are a quick way to take an overly complicated, manual process and automate it.
Punch cards/clocks went the way of the typewriter years ago and, yet, here we are. Automating this simple task can save hundreds of hours.
There are near-endless reasons to leverage mobile time cards. Here are just a few benefits that have a positive affect on the lives of operations managers, daily:
- Having a comprehensive view of all time cards in a central dashboard for review/ approval
- Integrating third party payroll systems for automatic updates – no need to manually update systems
- Easy way to verify time card accuracy with GPS location tracking
In the age of social media, everyone has a way to express their satisfaction with their software experience. In most cases, people communicate their dissatisfaction. Don’t lose sight of your customer’s happiness, communicate continuously.
#5: Real-Time Customer Communication Tools
Personally, do you use email? What about text messaging? Think back to a day you didn’t have access to either of those technologies. Did you get much done or was everything you did a little… slower?
Operations managers spend their days dealing with a flurry of activity, including customers – the life breath of many field service businesses.In the age of social media, everyone has a way to express their satisfaction with their software experience. In most cases, people communicate their dissatisfaction. Don’t lose sight of your customer’s happiness, communicate continuously.
When in doubt, over-communicate and in real-time. Send automatic status alerts when field crews are on their way, delayed or rescheduled. Be confident in the technology you use to help you facilitate your customer experience.
#6: Reporting Dashboards
Data is now more valuable than oil. Today’s operations managers need to first put the foundation in place with the right technology to help make incremental improvements to their processes.
After catching your breath, look to data as an indicator of how to make other efficiency gains, where improvements can be made and, generally, make more informed business decisions.
Reporting dashboards is common across most software suites today. Keep in mind what’s important to your operations and don’t try to boil the ocean.
Most field service businesses have a few key performance indicators (KPIs) they track. Start with those and go from there. After all, the best field service automation software will not only have standard, out-of-the-box reports, they’ll also have custom report options that allow you to generate statistics as you need them.
What it Means for You
The moral of this story is, start small. Identify the one major issue you’re facing today as a field operations manager, find the solution, solve it today and then look to expand beyond that when it’s right for your business.
Looking for all-in-one field service automation software you can grow into? Check out the Field Squared Platform today. From mobile forms to integrating your third-party systems, Field Squared solves the one-to-many problems field service businesses and operations managers face. We can’t wait to talk with you.