If you’ve watched television at all during the last 50 years, you will have undoubtedly met the “lonely Maytag repair man.” This gentleman has nothing to do, it seems, because Maytag washing machines are so well made. Maytag is so good, in other words, they do not need a field service department. Well, to be fair, they have one. They’re just not busy. For most companies, though field service is probably more of a business necessity. Done right, it can even present an opportunity for growth.
Rethinking Field Service
Servicing products in the field is often treated as a cost center. Service is simply something you have to offer. That’s fine, but field service can be so much more. Field service has the potential to be a profit center. The secret is to keep costs low enough to earn money on service calls. This requires efficiency and streamlined management—the preserve of specialized software.
Field service can also serve as an element of your brand strategy. Indeed, as we see with clients who are improving their field service capabilities, customer experiences with field service technicians can have a strong effect on sentiments about the company in general. This works in both positive and negative directions. If field service augments brand image and deepens a trust-based relationship between company and customer, field service can drive revenue growth.
Understanding What Field Service Management Software Does
Field service management software is available on a standalone basis, but it’s a good practice to work with a solution that is part of a broader Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) suite. Field service management software connects and coordinates the various moving parts of a field service operation. These include the intake of service requests, appointment setting, dispatch, routing and billing.
As exemplified by Acumatica Field Service Management, Field service management software shortens the time between call receipt and job assignment. The software track resource commitments, generating orders that match tasks to best available people and equipment. With connectivity to the rest of the Acumatica cloud ERP suite, the field service management module keeps the accounting and finance workflows associated with field service efficient and accurate. Integration with Customer Resource Management (CRM) keeps sales and marketing connected to field service, while connecting field service management to warehouse management helps avoid situations where field technicians don’t have the parts they need to solve the customer’s problem.
Why You Probably Need Field Service Management Software
Field Service Management software gives you the ability to turn field service into more of a profit center and a creator of competitive differentiation. Specific advantages of using a cloud ERP version of field service management software include:
- Schedule the right people at the right time—Having a well-prepared field service technician on a call ensures a fast, satisfactory resolution the customer’s problem. Field service management software helps match people to appointments, factoring in things like product history, knowledge of the customer and resource requirements.
- Keep time between service calls to a minimum—Integrated with Google Maps, Acumatica Field Service has advanced route planning features that optimize appointment routes. This keeps wasted time to a minimum and reduces the drag on earnings that occurs when service technicians are not productive.
- Keep everyone connected—Field service delivery involves teamwork, so it’s essential to keep the team connected and communicating with one another. Acumatica gives mobile access to field service technicians and those they work with at headquarters using native mobile Android and Apple iOS (iPad) apps. So equipped, technicians can access service information and customer data from anywhere, at any time.
Field service management software also enables you to respond more effectively to emergencies and unplanned service calls. There are even remote equipment monitoring capabilities in solutions like Acumatica that let you be aware of needs for preventive maintenance. This gets you out of the frustrating break/fix mode of field service. The Acumatica solution also lets you pull rich data about field service operations into data visualization and reporting tools—so you can understand how things are going, and were you can do better.
To learn how Acumatica Field Service Management can benefit your business, contact us for a free consultation and product demo.