Written on: May 13, 2012 by Karl Schneider
The lingering effects of a slowly recovering economy combined with the need to increase profitability is causing many service-oriented businesses to take a closer look at their field service operations for revenue-boosting initiatives.
And according to recent studies by the Aberdeen Group, that’s a great place to start. Based on Aberdeen’s benchmark study of 180 companies in various industries, mobile field service automation solutions can have a tremendous impact on worker productivity, customer satisfaction, service revenues and overall profitability. The study found that when utilized effectively, mobile field service automation could:
A key reason companies can achieve these types of results is that deploying mobile service solutions allows field workers to more effectively interact with back-office systems and easily share critical data on customers, jobs, assets and inventories with the entire service team. Basically, it is a process that digitizes the service workflow to eliminate the need for paper work orders, significantly streamlines the scheduling process, dramatically increases field staff productivity and captures new revenue-generating opportunities by using very affordable automation technology.
In fact, 88% of best-in-class service organizations view shoring up the connection between the field and back office as a top strategic priority. And while this all sounds great in theory, many organizations continue to struggle with inadequate data management resulting from manual and paper-based procedures in the field. The challenge of providing service personnel with timely access to critical customer, order, asset and inventory data management continues to plague many field service organizations.
One of the barriers-of-entry for many companies has always been the cost of buying expensive software and hardware, as well as all the related costs for training, software updates, support and switching data over to a new system. Typically, only the largest of field service organizations could afford legacy model premise-based solutions.
However, new cloud-based field service management solutions that use native apps on smartphones and tablets are now available at a fraction of the cost because they eliminate the need for expensive proprietary software and hardware. Now everyone on the service team can share information over the Internet and dramatically streamline the field service management process using their Apple or Android mobile device.
There are a number of bottom-line benefits of using this type of a mobile field service solution for every member of the service team:
Technicians can interface with the company, adding or modifying jobs and updating records by utilizing state of the art smart phones or tablets that communicate in real time with the back office.
Benefits Increases number of jobs that can be assigned to field techs, significant time savings from elimination of paperwork, frees team up for other assignments.
Benefits Increased field tech productivity due to reduced travel time, reduced paperwork time and eliminated status calls; Increased add-ons/up-sells; automatic time tracking; more jobs possible based on time saved.
Benefits Shorter invoice cycle; dramatically improved cash flow; significant time savings due to reduced paper work: elimination of human accounting errors; real-time dashboard and reporting; Frees up time for other duties.
Benefits Real-time visibility to daily activities
to effectively manage around exceptions and issues; optimized resource utilization for fluctuating schedule and availability; increased customer satisfaction; improved ability to forecast and focus on increasing margins.
Benefits Manage business more effectively to drive higher overall revenue and increased margins.
A good field service management solution improves efficiencies at every step of the way by eliminating bottlenecks and putting the entire team on the same page. So for thoseof you who might have been a bit skeptical about the Aberdeen Group’s findings of an average 17% increase in a business’s overall
profitability, you can see how this is attainable.
In fact, we often see much greater results and ROI from companies that have implemented a good automated field service management solution along with best practices for its usage. You have seen some of the testimonial quotes about the many benefits scattered throughout the article.
And speaking of ROI, the cost of using a cloud-based system is usually based on a small monthly fee per user—typically between $50 and $75. Business owners recoup that investment many times over in terms of more jobs completed per field rep, increases in add-on sales, greater team productivity and enhanced customer satisfaction.