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Key Takeaway

  • Field service management is crucial for businesses that dispatch workers to off-site locations, as it improves efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction while reducing costs and enhancing operational flexibility.
  • Does your business send technicians, salespeople, or employees into the field? 

    Field service is essential for taking care of the public and maintaining your systems, but it can be really challenging. While they’re away from HQ, employees become the face of your company. This is a customer-facing role, so an investment in field service is an investment in your customers—and your reputation.

    If your business model depends on sending employees into the field, you likely need some form of field service management. Learn what field service management is and how it ensures every assignment goes off without a hitch.

    What is Field Service Management? 

    Field service management worker performing maintenance on equipment

    Field service employees work away from company headquarters. They’re often dispatched to certain areas for installation, maintenance, or repairs. For example, if you’re an electricity provider, you might dispatch electricians to restore power after a storm. 

    But you don’t have to be a utility company to use field workers. So many businesses use field service workers to fulfill their mission, including: 

    • Cable workers who install or troubleshoot cable service
    • Plumbers who repair leaks in city sewer systems
    • Healthcare providers who care for the elderly in their homes
    • Real estate professionals
    • Door to door salespeople
    • Truck drivers

    Put simply, field service employees are mobile workers. They do hands-on work for your business so your customers can enjoy seamless service. 

    The problem is that field service operations are complex. That’s why every company that relies on field work needs some form of field service management in place. 

    With field service management, you have structure, processes, and software in place to manage: 

    • Inventory
    • Data collection
    • Communications
    • Dispatching
    • Scheduling
    • Work orders and invoicing
    • Customer contracts

    5 Benefits of Effective Field Service Management

    Even the most skilled field workers need guidance and support from management. Not only will proper field service management boost your retention rates, but it will also save you money and improve the customer experience. When your business invests in field service management, you’ll see these five valuable benefits firsthand. 

    1. Increased Productivity

    Do you need field workers to do more in the same amount of time? Field service management helps you keep everyone on the same page while boosting productivity. 

    For example, if your team frequently has miscommunications about which tech is supposed to be where, the confusion costs everyone time and money. With proper management, your communications are streamlined enough to send workers to the right place at the right time. 

    This also makes it possible to train field service techs on how to do their jobs faster, so they can service more customers in a day without feeling overwhelmed. 

    2. Real-time Data Collection

    Traditional field service management relies on paper logs and weekly reports. But thanks to field service technology, you can get real-time data on: 

    • Where your techs are
    • Which assignments techs have completed
    • How long it takes to complete each job

    This way, you can use your data to make better decisions without the guesswork.

    3. Better Employee Experience

    Employees want to be successful at work—but it’s on the employer to give workers the tools to succeed. With field service management, you give time back to each employee. 

    Instead of asking them to spend time on administrative tasks, they can spend more time doing what they were trained to do. Field service management can also increase safety and compliance, which is a win for everyone. 

    4. Reduce Costs

    Does your business operate on razor-thin margins? The good news is that field service management can reduce costs in terms of: 

    • Gas and mileage
    • Overtime
    • Training
    • Employee retention

    If you manage your field workers well, you can significantly decrease your overhead. For example, instead of sending techs to the wrong locations, your system can tell them exactly where they need to go (and how to get there). Arming your field service operation with a comprehensive asset tracking system can help to streamline these processes and reduce costs as well, allowing for quick and accurate asset identification in the field, maintaining a comprehensive history of each asset (including maintenance and repair activity), and optimizing the lifespan of your assets by keeping them well-maintained throughout their useful life.

    For example, a field service technician can quickly scan a utility pole tag to ensure they’re performing work or maintenance at the correct location. Scanning an asset tag can also provide access to detailed information about the asset, such as how long it’s been in service and if there are any components that have exceeded their likey useful lifespan. This data can help troubleshoot issues and conduct preventive maintenance activities.

    5. Greater Flexibility

    What happens if your scheduled tech encounters an issue and can’t make it to their next appointment? This common occurrence would normally cause a domino effect of chaos, but with proper field service management, this isn’t a big deal. Simply re-route another tech who finished their job more quickly to take over the next appointment. 

    With field service management, businesses can be so much more agile. This added flexibility means you’re able to turn on a dime and keep moving forward. 

    Types of Field Service Management

    Cable repairman field service technician

    Field service isn’t one-size-fits-all, either. There are so many types of field service management, including: 

    The point of field service is to send employees away from corporate headquarters so you get boots on the ground. That might look like: 

    • An electrician repairing power lines after a storm
    • Mobile sales professionals giving quotes to the businesses you serve
    • Home health nurses treating their patients
    • Construction workers visiting different construction sites
    • Amazon drivers delivering packages
    • Property management companies repairing apartment A/C units

    Field Service Management Challenges

    But it isn’t all sunshine and roses. Even the most seasoned field service managers struggle with challenges like: 

    • Labor shortages: The field service industry has a shortage of two million workers. It’s hard to find certified tradespeople, like electricians and plumbers, as well as qualified professionals who want to work in the field.
    • High costs: There are many costs involved in running a field service operation, from fuel to vehicle maintenance, labor, technology, communications, supplies, and more. In the current landscape, inflation and increasing labor costs are two factors that make it difficult for field service operators to maintain their margins. 
    • Customer expectations: Trust in institutions is at an all-time low. This means field service workers have to work even harder to earn customers’ trust and exceed their expectations, which can be a tough nut to crack in this economy.
    • Security: When you move the management of your field service work into the cloud, it’s a boon for productivity, but it does open you up to cybersecurity issues. 

    Final Thoughts

    Field service work is becoming more complex. No field service process is perfect, but businesses still need to manage their field service to stay competitive.

    With a holistic approach to field service management, it’s possible to keep employees happy and productive while reducing overhead costs. That’s why asset tracking is so important to field service management.

    Questions about the article? Let us help!

    Our sales engineers are experts in automatic asset tracking, tagging and identification,a nd can answer all your questions. Get in touch now.

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