Technology advancements are increasing the number of tasks we can automate on a daily basis. Machines magically brew the perfect cup of coffee before you get out of bed, lights are on when you get home from a long day, notifications alert you when someone approaches your door. The list is endless.
But what about automation in the trades? The trend toward using field service software to help organise business and provide more insight into what's working and what’s not, can only be positive. However, going paperless is just the beginning. Even more can be done to make work easier, faster and more profitable. Field service software is the “power-up” of the trade world–it can take you to the next level of success, if used correctly.
What is Field Service Automation?
Field service automation is the use of software and other management tools to automate tedious and time-consuming everyday tasks and processes. The main goals of automating field service processes are to improve the efficiency of the workforce, increase productivity and free up more time for high-value tasks.
Administrative tasks such as organising incoming data from emails, scheduling and creating work orders, can suck valuable time out of the day. However, by automating workflows, you can increase the efficiency of your team, spend more time on high-value tasks and improve profitability.
Benefits of Implementing a Automation Field Service Solution
Scheduling staff is an everyday job. So why not make it easier? Faster? Scheduling efficiently is crucial to a smooth running trade business. Whether it’s a last minute job or scheduling maintenance projects on a monthly basis, a lot of data, customer information and business processes need to be considered. The good news is, software helps take the juggling act out of scheduling and can often automate the different processes that go into creating job orders and getting staff on-site as soon as possible. Take simPRO’s Data Feed add-on for example. This add-on speeds up data management. It scans emails, attachments and other business documents to create a corresponding action in simPRO based on business needs. Just think of how much time can be saved by simply removing the need to look at emails and gather information from them.
Software with mobile apps can also speed up communication to make reacting to job changes faster by eliminating phone calls back and forth from office to field.
This type of functionality alerts field staff to changes in their schedule in real-time. It even allows them to clock in and out from each job from their device so billable hours are accurately tracked.
Reduce billing errors
Using one software for the management of a trade business is a great way to collect data and keep track of jobs, communication and billing. With an app, field teams can track time on the job, equipment and stock used. They can also invoice and collect payment while on site. This reduces back and forth communication and minimises the risk of making a mistake during any part of the job workflow that will impact the invoice.
Manage your assets effectively
Asset management, recurring maintenance, emergency callouts and scheduling 12 months in advance–maintenance work has A LOT of moving parts. Field service software eliminates the tedious nature of asset management. Use it to manage work orders, capture asset readings and quote asset defects quickly. Field apps can also be used to update asset statuses in real time and streamline maintenance workflows for faster service.
Additionally, most software can support the management of recurring maintenance schedules and even set up automatic recurring invoices, eliminating the need to manually create new paperwork every time a maintenance check occurs.
And finally, innovation such as IoT continues to simplify asset management. With the implementation of remote monitoring through sensors, businesses can move away from regular maintenance and instead be alerted to faults by the assets themselves. Further, with a 360 degree solution like simPRO, these alerts can be configured to set up a work order and schedule a staff member to the job.
We’re all busy. Business owners are busy, customers are busy, even all the businesses working in the supply chain for equipment and materials are busy. And quite often, it’s the businesses that work fast and provide great service while doing so, that reap the rewards. Field service automation enables businesses to complete tasks that once took ages, much faster. This means every workflow benefits. The booking of an emergency job, payment collection, route optimisation to a job site, EVERYTHING, is faster. This gives businesses the time to support more customers and grow revenue streams. It’s a win all round.
Real-time reporting and analytics
If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that agility is key for future-proofing and succeeding in the trades. Automatic data collection is one of the most important aspects of maintaining an agile company. Running a trade service on a cloud-based software enables the automatic collection of data from every aspect of the business. For example, reporting can showcase where a business is making and losing money, which jobs are most profitable, if projects are running on time and whether stock is running low. All at the click of a button. Often reports can even be customised to pull specific information or set to publish every month, so even more time is saved. Goodbye and good riddance spreadsheets!
Ever lost a job card? Not sure why a whole heap of stock is missing? Frustrated that Brett forgot to track his time on jobs today? Manually tracking data and shuffling paper is the cause of unenviable amounts of headaches. And, with many trade industries at the mercy of changing schedules, it can quickly become chaos. But, with automation and cloud-based field service management you can turn that chaos into clarity by reducing the chance of human error, and speeding up workflows. Not only will time be saved, errors will be reduced and customers will be happier.
If it’s time for your business to move to the next level, ie. it needs a “power up,” look no further than field service automation. The benefits can be life-changing and instill more peace and calm throughout your day. Ready to chat? Contact simPRO and book a demo today.