Want End-to-End Field Service Management? Go Mobile
Guest Author: Kerry Doyle
Increasingly, mobile solutions are allowing companies to optimize the full lifecycle of field service operations. In addition to enabling standard practices in the field, these solutions offer other unique, diverse capabilities, such as short-cycle emergency work, meter services, compliance jobs, maintenance and inspections, to name a few. Moreover, such workforce optimization extends to a range of industries, including long- or short-term, multi-task, multi-person capital construction projects, and to emergency response in diverse sectors, from utilities to healthcare.
Some of the tasks that mobile solutions enable include:
- Managing work preparation
- Crew mark-up and material allocation
- Scheduling and dispatching personnel, including subcontractors, special field equipment and vehicles
- Managing spare parts inventory
- Coordinating/addressing real-time reports from the field
As time goes on, it’s becoming clear that mobile adoption to optimize and increase the efficiency of field service can provide a significant competitive edge. That’s because it literally places the right information in the hands of technicians when and where it’s needed to enable critical, accurate field-based decisions.
Such capabilities, including enhanced analytics, dispatching and task management, increase field service productivity and flexibility. A number of field-based platforms offer scheduling, job reporting and invoicing all in one package. Moreover, many of these solution suites allow for planning, forecasting and analytics and they’re compatible with on-premise legacy software or accessible via cloud services. Other tasks enabled by mobility extend to:
- Emergency Alerts
- Depot Repair
- Field Reports
These standard field tasks are always important for service organizations to manage well. Many mobile solutions provide unique tools and strategies to make them more accurate and efficient while also providing additional capabilities, including asset tracking, real-time data access and collaboration.
In terms of mobile collaborations, it’s hard to underestimate the advantages. Such rich user experiences enhance and fundamentally change how knowledge is shared. For example, remote personnel can easily consult with supervisors or other experienced technicians to resolve complex issues. Moreover, unique mobile collaborative applications enable communication within context. Users can comment, share knowledge and exchange specialized information within a structured, efficient mobile workflow. Such applications supersede the need for random emails, texts and phone calls because they enable collaborations through live discussion.
It goes without saying that the success of a mobile solution is based not only on accessibility, but ease of use and navigation. All mobile versions of applications are optimized for smartphones and tablets with service functionality that’s simple to use and deploy. The same range of capabilities is typically available for Apple, Android or Windows devices. While support, performance and consistency should be evaluated before committing to a specific solution, most products are constantly being upgraded, tweaked and improved.
When it comes to leveraging field-based information via mobility, many organizations are interested in ways to better utilize data and gain insights to increase productivity and improve field procedures. These companies also want to use mobility to effectively respond to the needs and preferences of customers. Moreover, coordination and back end connectivity with legacy applications and systems are making it easier for CTOs and administrators to adopt mobile services.
Of course, workforce optimization and associated capabilities can be extended to BYOD users. However, such implementations require company policy updates, security and, to be sure, MDM (Mobile Device Management) solutions. As business leaders evaluate their organizational strengths and weaknesses, they’re searching for new and cost-effective ways to boost efficiency and maximize productivity. Increasingly, mobility is providing workforce optimization solutions and valuable tools to help them achieve their goals.