Understanding "Field Service Management" Software, what it is and How it Can Streamline Business Operations

August 24, 2022

By: John Tomblin, Senior Solutions Architect
PhoenixBizz, a division of Sofvue, LLC
Printed with permission of Sofvue, LLC and the author

Field Service Management (FSM) software allows companies to dispatch personnel directly into the field and then manage field-based employees by monitoring their physical location (usually through cell tower triangulation or GPS) tracking, as well track personnel allocation, work output and the status of work tasks.  The level of complexity of these programs varies widely, but one example is a project we completed for a drilling/mining company who needed to keep track and manage work resources for approximately 75 field employees.  This included remote time-clock tools, onsite management and monitoring of drilling jobs, real-time communications as well as very complex reporting for both the company and the state’s regulated water district. 

FSM software facilitates better project management, which in turn provides faster project (job) completion rates, which in turn increases the churn rate of completed jobs which in turn facilitates faster billing and payment.  Additionally, by having an easy way to track how long jobs take to complete from start to finish, you'll be better equipped to estimate costs more accurately for future jobs. 

If you haven’t considered Field Service Management (FSM) software for your business, whether web-based, mobile-based or both, and if you are unsure how it can benefit your business, here’s some additional information that may help.

What Is Field Services Management Software?

Field Service Management software helps businesses manage and optimize their remote field services from a central hub or hubs. FSM software allows businesses to automate various tasks (using hub disbursement processes).
Field services management functionality include but are not limited to:

- Field operation management
- Field service scheduling
- On-site clock management
- On-site personnel management
- Fleet management
- Equipment maintenance
- Logistics control

Furthermore, if your business is spread across different locations, you can track your employees in each region with field services software. As an example, Phoenix Bizz has remote personnel who work from different parts of the city.  As a result, we use FSM tools for our software development in Phoenix to ensure that client in-office appointments have been completed. 

Why many Businesses are making the switch toward FSM software

The demand for FSM software is increasing as businesses realize the importance of streamlining their employee’s workflow, improving quality of services, efficiency, and productivity, all while reducing costs. With the help of FSM, you can easily track your orders from start to finish using automated notification alerts on your phone or email address. This way, you don’t have to worry about missing any details as every step is tracked automatically through the software, ensuring that nothing gets overlooked by accident. 

Additionally, when updating client billing details at any point during the order’s lifecycle, a web-application or mobile app can automatically maintain operations without requiring manual input.   

Key Benefits of Field Services Software for your Business

1- Improves Productivity

The FSM sector is a labor-intensive business, and while some companies using spreadsheets and word processing programs, most businesses in this space still use paper records, this means that employees need to spend considerable time manually entering data form or other information systems after every job visit, and from a single data entry point.  This creates its own set of problems the least of which includes the single point of failure and single point of data loss.

FSM software allows users to create, manage and track tickets and access other tools on their mobile devices, tablets or laptops. The best part is that there’s no need to install any additional hardware or software as it works on a browser-based platform.

2- Help Better Manage Remote Workforce

For a vast majority of businesses today, and especially with the new work-from-home model being adopted by millions of small businesses, having remote employees in the field makes FSM a logical “next step”, allowing your company to keep track, know their location, when they are at a service call or job, and most importantly, stay connected while they’re away from their office, whether on-site or remote.

Viable SFM software will let you:

- Track the location of employees by using real-time maps and GPS tracking systems.
- Schedule work orders so everyone has a list of tasks they need to be working on. 
- Report back on projects once they've been completed so management is always up to date on what's happening in the business.

3- Create a Synchronized Work Environment

By leveraging existing technology and processes, you can save time and money by reducing the time spent on data entry and management activities. For example, if your company uses a CRM system for customer relationship management, then integrating with FSM software allows both systems to share information in real-time.  This means that when it's time for a technician to look up where they are supposed to go next, they won’t have to spend any time entering the address into an app or website—they'll be able to pull it up instantly from within their field service software account.

4- GPS Tracking and Dispatch Capabilities

FSM allows you to track field services employees and communicate with them in real-time. The software integrates GPS tracking capabilities so that you can monitor the location of your employees at all times. The software also features a map view that shows you where your teams are working, regardless of their physical location.  The only time this doesn’t work is when employees leave their phones or tablets at home or in another vehicle or office.

FSM software also facilitates sending messages from an in-app chat feature or making calls directly from the app itself—all while maintaining an accurate record of your time spent on each project.  The tracking functionality within the system also means that it's easy for clients to request changes to current or future job schedules. 

5- Increases Visibility and Transparency in Daily Activities

One of the best benefits of "field service management" software is the increased oversight of daily activities, and by any managers with access rights to do so.  The ability to view work orders in real-time from a mobile device or computer means managers can monitor progress in real-time. This helps them make informed decisions about whether or not an employee needs assistance or if additional equipment is needed at a certain location.

It also ensures that each job is completed timely by giving managers access to detailed information about which tasks have been completed successfully and what remains incomplete.  This is especially important when the company operates 24 hours a day and when jobs run concurrently, non-stop, until 100%.

Knowing When It’s Time to Invest in Field Services Management Software
If you’re like every other small business owner in the country, you are always on the lookout for ways to increase productivity and efficiency in your company while improving transparency, ROI and profitability.  With a well-designed FSM system, your company’s management team, sales and field teams will be able to:

- Manage timesheets directly from their phones
- Receive alerts about upcoming appointments, jobs, tasks, meetings, etc.
- View and manage job schedules in real-time

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of off-the-shelf FSM software tools available in the marketplace, but like most things in life, they come with pros and cons.  The pros of course are up-front costs and lost time getting a solution into production, but the cons are just as important, such as the company making “changes” that negatively impact your company’s processes, sometimes not having control of your data, not being able to prevent competitors from using the exact same software to compete against you, and the worst possible scenario of a company being sold to a competing interest or going out of business altogether.  Again, there are pros and cons which have to be given ample consideration.  

For the latter, and when deciding that a custom FSM solution is the best path for your business, the next step is locating a company that does software development in Phoenix. You need to find a company that can design and develop customized FSM software based on the unique requirements of your company.   

How Can Phoenix Bizz Help You?

Phoenix Bizz is a software development company in Phoenix with deep experience in building 200+ tailored software solutions for businesses in various industries, across Maricopa County, and across the USA. Our architects, project owners, BA’s, developers and UAT team are extremely well versed with the latest technologies, processes and best practices.  In fact, we have dozens of letters of recommendations and can showcase recently launched live Apple and Google apps that demonstrate or prowess. To learn more, shake hands, grab a cup of coffee, and talk about an upcoming project you may be considering, give us a call at 623-845-2747.
 

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