Field service did not change very much between 1896, when Gottlieb Daimler built the world’s first commercially viable truck, and 2007, when Apple introduced the iPhone. In the last 13 years, however, field service has been transformed by mobile computing technology. Acumatica Field Service edition, for example, now offers an extensive feature set to field service techs and the companies that employ them. To illustrate the impact of mobile apps on field service, consider the following step-by-step review of a typical field service appointment facilitated by the Acumatica mobile field service app.
Using Acumatica ERP, a dispatcher assigns a service appointment to a field service tech. The tech sees the appointment notification on his or her Acumatica mobile app. The app provides access to maps, so the tech can determine the best way to reach the appointment.
The app tracks the tech’s travel time. The tech uses the app to indicate “Travel has started,” so Acumatica can measure travel time. The app also allows the tech to “start travel” for multiple techs if they are going to the appointment together. This may be for analysis purposes, but in some cases, the company charges for travel time. The feature makes the process instant and easy to implement. If the tech running late, the app provides the customer’s phone number and a direct dial-out capability so he or she can keep the customer informed about time of arrival.
Upon arrival at the appointment, the tech interacts with the app to declare that travel is completed. Then, he or she starts the appointment on the app. The device’s GPS logs the location and time of the arrival and commencement of the appointment.
Performance of service work
As the tech performs the service work, the app enables recording of voice notes, which avoids the cumbersome process of transposing handwritten notes into the field service software. The tech can use the device’s camera to take pictures of the work. The pictures get added automatically to the appointment record in Acumatica. If the tech needs a part from the truck, the app enables him or her to take the part out of inventory and add it to the appointment invoice. This way, inventory managers at the home office will know immediately that the part has been taken out of inventory—triggering a reorder if that is required.
When the work is done, the app can capture the customer’s signature on the field order. The app then marks the appointment as completed.
Closing of the appointment and issuing an invoice
The app can be configured to allow the field service tech to generate an invoice for the appointment. He or she may even be able to accept payment at the customer site using a credit card stored in the Acumatica system. This approach saves time and receivables work. Alternatively, the appointment data flows back to the billing department at the home office. Billing staff can review the appointment and issue invoices for this single appointment or multiple appointments.
The rich field service data flowing back to the home office is useful for managers who need to stay on top of the field service operation. Dispatchers, warehouse managers and others have instant access to information all appointments in progress at any given time. They also see historical data on previous appointments. They are thus able to track profitability for field services and make adjustments to practices and policy if necessary.
We have worked with many companies on the implementation of mobile field service management software. To learn how Acumatica Field Service edition and its mobile app can benefit your business, contact us for a free consultation and demo. Check out mobile field services features in the video below: