How to Eliminate Field Service Paperwork
Making transitions in life or business can be challenging to envision. Yet, these transitions stand to offer access and resources that can dramatically enrich the way we operate.
Take, for example, how some of us hold onto a nostalgia for the days of gathering around a radio for our favorite sports events or entertainment broadcast. But few of us would give up the opportunity we now have to see our favorite players and actors in real life on the screen. We like our television in vibrant colors and high-definition detail.
Much of the same can be said for eliminating our dependence on paperwork when it comes to workflow and processes.
Reducing or eliminating paperwork from operations stands to save us precious time, money, and risk to growing our business, improving service and operations, and increasing the satisfaction of our employees and customers.
In this article, we examine some of the ways traditional paperwork presents challenges and setbacks to efficiency and profit, while also offering tips on modernizing efficiency, reducing risk, and increasing productivity.
Why eliminating paperwork is critical
In reality, the challenges listed below only begin to scratch the service. There are plenty of ways paperwork has historically rendered workflows less efficient and contributed to unnecessary difficulties and setbacks for field service businesses. But the below items help present a picture of why reducing or eliminating paperwork stands to dramatically improve the way our company operates and grows.
Lost Job Forms
More moving parts in a business workflow equates to more room for error and mistakes. Field technicians have a multitude of forms necessary to complete their job, but the field is not an ideal environment for organizations. Having an array of different paper forms and various other resources relying on paperwork, the chance of loss dramatically increases. By switching to a process that eliminates these moving parts, the field technician is less burdened with tasks unrelated to the service they provide, and the risk of losing essential information is reduced or eliminated.
Accessibility of service history
Our service history must always be readily accessible. Customers commonly request old service reports or work order history, along with a variety of other records. Organizing a large volume of paperwork can be a nightmare for any service organization. Stacks of work orders and service history and mandatory forms require a great deal of physical space and expert organizing that requires time and skill to manage.
Analysis of work trends
In addition to the need for expertise in organizing to ensure accessibility of service history and work orders, traditional paperwork is far more challenging to analyze than digital alternatives. Understanding how past work trends may impact efficiency standards is critical to improving on weaknesses and refining strengths. The historical use of paperwork is a hindrance to this process. It requires larger teams and a high volume of time and labor to sort through and assess paper-based data for analysis and research.
A great deal of effort goes into the processing, inspecting, and filing of paperwork by any back-office staff in a field service organization. All information must be turned into useful data and organized promptly. Errors in filing, lost forms, and incorrectly interpreted information contribute to a multitude of challenges and setbacks for the organization.
Processing paper requires material resources, but it also involves more labor. This has a critical impact on the billing processes of any organization. By eliminating the need to print and process paper-related resources, the billing department can refine the way their labor is distributed and save the organization money.
Less travel for technicians
Paperwork requires a transfer from the technician to the necessary staff and management. This results in a technician using valuable time on transporting the paperwork after service has been rendered. If a technician could transmit the same information without travel from the field to the office, a great deal of time and money would be saved and spent in more viable ways.
How to reduce paperwork and increase efficiency
Reducing paperwork and transitioning to digital solutions can be made manageable and straightforward. And the benefits are well worth the effort and attention. Traditional paper resources can be replaced at so many levels when a company decides to seek strategies rooted in modern digital technology.
Below, we explore some of the critical ways digital solutions are replacing paperwork and refining the way we execute business.
At this point, we all have a digital device in our hands or pocket. And it is a requisite tool for many businesses to supply their field technicians with work phones, tablets, and/or computers. Using these devices is not only cutting down on the number of costs associated with purchasing paper, but also contributing to an increase in time, money, and labor spent on commodifiable tasks over administrative work.
Field service organizations inherently involve a mobile workforce, which means mobility of communication and transfer is essential to operations. Utilizing mobile applications on phones, tablets, laptops, and other devices cut down on time spent filling out paperwork and transporting paper to the office. It also reduces the amount of paper a technician must carry with them and organize out in the field. Since digital solutions can be immediately relayed to the office, the risk of improperly filling out forms can be monitored, and the potential for loss of a form is eliminated.
Technological advancements are revolutionizing our dependence on the paperwork we have relied on to create, access, and tailor the many necessary forms in the field technician industry. As any field service organization knows, there are myriad types of forms required for completing various tasks. Numerous factors also influence form types. A field technician is likely to have multiple types of work order forms depending on the service provided. Even more, forms associated with safety, compliance, or inspection can vary based on the city, state, or country of the service.
Being able to customize forms and establish flexible templates is essential to any organization. Digital templates for a multitude of needs can be created or quickly customized depending on the variety of influences that impact the requisite nature of a form.
Possibly the most critical function of digitizing forms is their contribution to organizing and accessing archives. Paperwork has required significant amounts of physical space for filing and organizing, including cumbersome and labor-intensive efforts at retrieving archived information. Digital solutions dramatically reduce the amount of physical space needed for this large-scale organization. They also make retrieving stored information significantly more efficient and reliable.
A reduction in our reliance on paperwork is associated commonly with offering digital alternatives to our field technicians and office managers. But the resources we use for our customers have also depended a great deal on paperwork.
By digitizing invoices and work history, an organization can offer customers any-time access to the resources they require. They can easily pull up a full history of service or other informational resources relative to their service needs. This dramatically reduces the amount of paper technicians must provide the customer, and it has a considerable impact on the customer’s ease and efficiency of access to vital resources.
A well-designed and robust field service management software is at the core of any effort we make to reduce paperwork and empower our digital solutions. And the ideal software will produce considerably more.
Proper field management software will assist in optimizing your dispatch efforts and maximizing your capacity for creating quick and informed quotes. It will also ensure that your project management is informed with real-time, accurate data on technicians, service calls, and customer needs.
Any valid field management software should be guided by a combination of advanced solutions and real experience in field service. FieldConnect combines these unique qualities, utilizing technology that is informed by years of expert training in the field.
With nearly two decades of expertise in the industry, FieldConnect has grown to be the leader in software solutions for Mobile Field Service providers. From family-owned and operates services businesses to multi-billion-dollar corporations, FieldConnect has the solutions that make your field technicians more efficient, reduce or eliminate paper from your workflows, and accelerate your invoicing cycles.
You can request a demo of their diverse suite of services today.