Written by Roberta Salzano
Field service management… another management category, but what is it about? In simple words, it is the management of services provided by your teams en-route.
Are you a service provider? Are your teams always on the road? As that kind of service is strictly related to customer service, this type of management promises productivity, efficiency and competitiveness for your company.
Field service management
Definition of field service management
Field service management (FSM) refers to services related to installation, maintenance or repair where the technical team is required to work “on-field” at the clients’.
This concept aims to optimize and coordinate materials and human resources for in-field interventions, such as maintenance or after-sales service, thus overall improving productivity.
The productivity of these teams is one of the main challenges, as well as the profitability of operations and meeting customers’ expectations.
Field service management also refers to cloud software used to manage services and teams on the go from any smart platform.
In the following video you will find all the topics that we are going to address in the article:
For which types of companies?
Field service management meets the needs of service companies performing maintenance and installation operations in multiple industries:
- personal service
- air conditioning
- electrical power
- waste recycling
- construction and civil engineering
- real estate (rental)
- facility management:
- mail management
- building maintenance
- security control
- IT, etc.
For which employees?
Field service management is useful to all hierarchical levels and any kind of department:
- the sales representative, who fills in the contract details and ensures the follow-up of any requests and comments,
- the person in charge of planning, who dispatches the teams,
- the technical team, who is on-field,
- the team leader, who monitors work progress and performances,
- the administrative officer, who receives and processes forms and reports,
- the people in charge of accounting and payroll who charge the clients and processes pay slips.
Moreover, a team on-the-go requires special attention because its members :
- use more and more mobile tools;
- require to constantly update the job status: availability, situation, progress;
- fill out follow-up documents;
- get the client to sign on the spot.
Purposes and benefits of field service management
Field service management: multiple purposes
Field service management is a practice that refers to several complementary fields of application:
- requests reception, assignments and rounds planning,
- human resources management (work time management, task allocation, management of required and available skills),
- communication with mobile teams and simplification of their interactions,
- customer relations (centralization of information, history back up),
- data collection on the field (staff arrivals and departures, monitoring of work progress, requests for information, incident management),
- document management (intervention forms filling, information sharing with employees, customers, suppliers and partners, knowledge base),
- maintenance management (contract management, identification of needs through monitoring),
- logistics management (material cost optimization, transport management, inventory management, delivery management),
- administrative and accounting management (invoicing, electronic signature),
- remote operations analysis and monitoring (reports and dashboards).
The advantages of efficient field management
- smoother teams’ coordination
- optimized planning
- dispatch of the competent teams
- optimization of the managers’ work
- facilitation of operational teams’ work
- costs savings
- simplification of interventions’ monitoring
- harmonization of field service processes
- customers’ satisfaction
- team’s satisfaction (better working conditions)
How to optimize the management of field services?
Considering that we are talking about an area of activities involving a wide range of actions, people and applications, the best advice we can give you is to get a field service management software adapted to your needs.
Mobile applications, SaaS solutions, are what you are looking for!
Advantages of a service management solution
- affordable for all types of companies thanks to its modular structure, made to fit any kind of budget and needs,
- full mobility, even on construction sites where it is common to experience connection issues (thanks to the offline mode)
- accessible from different devices (PC, smartphone or tablet) at the same time
- always updated with new regulations and innovations
- automation of low value-added tasks (field service automation)
- centralization of data and communications
- collaborative functions involving the teams in using an intuitive instrument
- real-time coordination and communication between all the parts involved: offices, warehouses, field technicians, partners, and customers
- dematerialization of documents
- time saving thanks to all the advantages mentioned above
Other features and benefits
- optimization of routes thanks to the localization of teams and vehicles: savings in terms of time and fuel, rapid resolution in case of incidents
- updates of the timetable: dynamic planning, precision, and speed of responses to customers, possibility for the technician to go on-site without stopping by the office
- dematerialization of forms: less paper waste, fewer mistakes due to input errors or omissions thanks to tools such a mandatory fields, pre-filling, etc..
- more responsive and precise payroll and invoicing management: automation of information entry (number of working hours, site status, etc.)
FSM, CRM or ERP?
FSM publishers often develop connectors so that communication between their tool and an ERP or CRM already in place is possible.
CRM, a customer relationship management tool, enhances the relationship between the company and the customers to build a long term relationship. Field service management software sometimes includes some of its functionalities, but with a less “commercial” goal. It is more focused on the quality of the work provided and its follow-up.
As for ERP, a planning software composed of several modules and a single database (for production, logistics, HR, accounting and sales), it can satisfy many service providers’ needs.
However, the FSM responds to issues that are not necessarily addressed by CRM and ERP software:
- the complex management of interventions and the human resources on-field,
- remote working areas where there are connection issues
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TimeLinx delivers innovative project & service management software as a complete solution that perfects the sell-track-manage-support-bill cycle that services organizations must have to delight their customers; TimeLinx brings the cycle together in a single application that offers less frustration, better project management, complete reporting, and improved profitability – all specially designed for Infor and Sage.