How Updated Technology Can Save Your Field Service Company Big

Within the field service industry, there are many moving parts. Technicians are out on calls, customers need quotes and invoices, and management has to keep track of it all. Paper methods of handling these pieces are becoming more and more outdated with new technological advances like AI and the Internet of Things, and industry leaders are taking advantage of some of the benefits.

Benefits extend beyond tracking moving pieces, covering such topics as risk management, sustainability, and customer self-service.

Sustainability

Sustainability is often confused with eco-friendly. While most sustainability solutions do help the planet, sustainability is defined as meeting our own societal needs while not comprising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. Several factors go into sustainability, but some can be used by the field service industry.

Kindness for the Climate

Using such programs as route tracking can reduce the emissions from cars by cutting down driving time. This, in turn, reduces CO2 emissions and promotes a cleaner environment. Not only does route tracking reduce CO2, but it also reduces fuel consumption. This creates a smaller carbon footprint and improves the health of the environment as a whole.

Paper-Free Everything

The popularity of using online forms has skyrocketed with the use of tablets and smartphones. Gone are the days of using a punch card system to track hours for employees, thanks to software such as FieldAccess.

Customer invoices and orders are easily sent via email. Signatures for services are obtained on the spot and immediately uploaded to the appropriate server, and work orders are sent to and received by technicians with ease. All of these processes happen in minutes and are virtually hassle-free. Some services can even be performed offline, eliminating the worry of potentially unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

Less Asset Waste

With the development of the Internet of Things (more on that later!), predictive maintenance is becoming more and more common. In predictive maintenance, objects are equipped with smart sensors that recognize when they need maintenance. This leads to fewer trips by technicians into the field (incidentally also protecting the climate) and less waste from broken and non-repairable objects.

Cloud Capabilities

Instead of using a desktop that has a hard drive filled with files and a high energy bill, organizations are taking advantage of the Cloud, a wireless network where files can be stored and shared. This contributes to a paper-free environment, with forms and work orders able to be shared and sent by technicians right from the field. Techs can also access various work orders and send work records via the Cloud right to their superiors.

Portability

81% of Americans own some sort of smartphone.

The portability of these devices is part of their broad appeal, and industry leaders are capitalizing on it by using software like FieldGateway to send assignments to technicians—instead of having the techs come all the way back to the office for the details. Everything, including the address, services required, and quickest route to the call, is sent right to the technician’s phone or tablet.

Risk Management

Being in the field has its own risks, especially in more recent months during the spread of COVID-19. Trying to keep track of where technicians have been and who they have been in contact with is nearly impossible without the aid of technology. Not only can the pandemic be tracked, but technicians can also be warned ahead of time if they are heading into high-risk areas.

Risk Assessment

A huge part of risk management is prevention. Software companies will often offer a three-tier risk system (red, amber, and green), and using either basic or advanced assessment tools they will assign a color based on the level of danger in an area.

With a basic risk program, areas are only given a color rating. With a more advanced system, areas can be measured with various tools and given a more detailed safety rating.

COVID-19 Contact

Many companies offer COVID-19 tracking.  Technicians’ whereabouts are monitored, and if they fall sick, their superiors have a record of who they have been in contact with. This helps keep technicians out and working instead of stuck in quarantine.

Technicians can also see “hotspots”—areas where COVID has been more active—and prepare accordingly. Hotspots can be updated frequently in accordance with the numbers from the CDC.

Workers Compensation

Reporting injuries once required phone call after phone call, making sure your information was reported to the right person. Thanks to mobile apps, workers can almost immediately report when they’ve been hurt on a job site.

The birth of telemedicine also ushered in a whole new era of treatment and prevention. Being able to get on-site help from a nurse without needing to go to an in-person clinic is a great advantage, particularly for those constantly on the go in the field.

Your Bottom Line

The bottom line is the lifeblood of any company. Smart business leaders look for solutions to increase their bottom line and keep it there, but they don’t sacrifice customer or employee satisfaction. Technology is helping to keep everyone happy and coming back for business and work.

Faster Tools

Through the use of mobile applications developed specially for an organization, employees are able to access the tools and information they need for a job. Research has shown that 45% of field technicians say that their tools are just too slow, and 38% complain that they can’t access the right information. With the proper applications, devices, and software like FieldDirect, technicians have everything they might need right at their fingertips.

Fully Utilized Schedules (and More Jobs)

Mapping out the best routes to take to service calls not only helps the environment, but also the company’s profit. Thanks once again to mobile software, technicians can fill their days with jobs, leaving less themselves with less time in transit or sitting and waiting at an office.

Device tracking can also be used to find and notify technicians of nearby jobs, maximizing the tech’s workload while minimizing drive time. Less drive time means fewer repairs and lower fuel costs for company vehicles.

Customer Satisfaction

Communication is not only important between leaders and technicians, but also between organizations and customers. Using mobile software enables customers to see where their technician is, what services will be performed, and even a quote for the repairs or maintenance.

Some software programs allow customers to leave reviews or ratings for their technicians, boosting a company’s reputation and earning them possible new customers.

What Can We Learn from This?

While there are countless working pieces in a field service organization, advancing technologies have made it so much easier to track, predict, and solve issues within industries. Using the Cloud, going paperless, utilizing digital tools, and boosting sustainability is just the beginning of the advantages of using the newest technology.

Check out FieldConnect’s wide array of mobile software and help bring your industry to the future.

How to Extend your Instance of Vista by Viewpoint with FieldConnect

As a field service company, you already understand just how vital it is to have the right field service management software on hand to help you run your company efficiently.

While many field service management tools are available to choose from, finding a tool that integrates all your systems across multiple departments into a single, streamlined database can be quite challenging. If you’re on the lookout for a system that can do just that, then you’ll want to consider enhancing your current field service management system with Vista by Viewpoint.

What is Vista by Viewpoint?

Vista by Viewpoint is a well-known enterprise resource planning (ERP) software utilized in the construction industry and other related field service industries, such as landscaping, industrial cleaning, including those who sell and maintain a variety of home and building security systems.

An ERP software helps companies manage and integrate different parts of their business into a single software that is easily accessible by all who need it and often comes in the form of a mobile app. The Vista by Viewpoint ERP becomes your primary database where all your business’s current information is stored.

By integrating it with your current field service management app, it allows the synchronization of all your data, including your:

  • Work order management
  • PM contract management
  • Scheduling & dispatch processes
  • Field service mobility
  • Reports and analytics

These types of software are fundamental to those in the field service industry because it helps manage several different processes and streamlines them into a single process that can be completed while out on the job site.

8 Benefits of Utilizing an ERP System like Vista by Viewpoint

Deciding whether or not to invest in new software for your company can be a complicated process. Not only is learning how to use a new software time consuming, but it also can create frustrations amongst workers.

If you’re still on the fence about investing in an ERP system, such as Vista by Viewpoint, then you’ll want to review these eight benefits of integrating an ERP system with your current field service management setup:

1. Allows Your Technicians to Better Manage Their Time

One of the most frequently discussed benefits of ERP systems such as Vista by Viewpoint is that it allows your technicians to manage their time better and, therefore, increase their overall productivity. Instead of sitting idly by, your dispatch team can schedule your technicians in advance as your customers send job requests through their customer portal.

Once your technicians have their to-do list for the day, they’ll head to each job site and attend to the customer’s needs. Whether it’s an initial project quote or the completion of an ongoing job, your technicians will have access to all the necessary software for quickly putting a quote together and/or the necessary forms to be filled out after a project is completed. With direct access to this information, your workers will not be bogged down with unnecessary paperwork and can quickly and efficiently move from one project to the next.

2. Encourages the Automation of Common Workflows

As your field service business continues to grow, your operations are likely to become more complex. For example, the more in-demand your company becomes, the more technicians you’ll need to hire to meet those demands. With more technicians come more paperwork as they move through each of their necessary workflows.

To encourage your technicians’ productivity and keep them moving as efficiently as possible, they need their daily workflows optimized. To do this, you’ll want to invest in the automation of their most frequently used workflow, such as quoting and/or project completion reporting. Automation allows you to streamline these processes. When utilizing an ERP system, such as Vista by Viewpoint, these processes become 100% digital, removing the unnecessary complication of filling out, delivering, and organization of paperwork.

3. Speeds Up the Quoting Process with Mobile Quoting

One of the most time-consuming processes in the field service industry is the quoting process, especially if you have yet to upgrade from a traditional paper process to a digital quoting process.

What makes the traditional pen-and-paper quoting process so inefficient is that your technician must visit the job site, take note of all that needs to happen, and then deliver that information to your sales team. From there, the sales team must look up all the relevant information, price it all out, and return it to the technician, who then delivers the news to the customer. Typically, the client will then approve or disapprove of the breakdown. If they disapprove, the technician will need to revisit the sales team to have a new quote drawn out.

This entire process can last anywhere between a few days to an entire week, and that doesn’t include having to reevaluate a quote that your client disapproves of.

By switching over to an ERP system, all your technicians’ information is at the tip of their finger, literally. The right ERP integration will enable mobile quoting for your technician, allowing them to draft a quote for the customer without leaving the job site. It also enables your customer to sign off on any documentation required to get their project started, taking the quoting time from days to mere minutes.

4. Reduces Overall Operational Costs

With such an emphasis on automation and digitization of everyday tasks, field service companies utilizing an ERP system start to see significant savings regarding their overall operational costs. With less paperwork, there is less need for supplies to help complete said paperwork and then organize it.

During the past year, businesses witnessed a drastic need to cut costs wherever they could, and remote working options became more popular than ever before. With the right ERP system in place, you could effectively eliminate the need for your technicians and other staffers to come into the office, allowing them to work remotely and still get jobs accomplished on time.

5. Improved Customer Service and Satisfaction

While an ERP system can be extremely beneficial for your brand, it’s important to note that it can also prove beneficial to your customers, help you improve your overall customer service processes, and boost your customer satisfaction rates.

An ERP system that includes a customer portal allows your current customers instant access to you, allowing them to reach out to you as needed. This is important as consumers now expect timely, almost immediate responses from companies that they do business with. In fact, recent studies show that 75% of consumers expect a quick response time when they put in a request or have a question. Integrating an ERP system boosts customer experience.

With access to a customer portal that is directly tied to your ERP, customers can expect prompt responses from your team. In the case of field service, that means they’ll receive an acknowledgment of their request, followed up with either a technician response or confirmation that a technician’s visit has been scheduled to address their problem.

Thanks to these quick responses, customers will feel your company genuinely cares about their needs. This will boost their overall satisfaction and their likelihood of suggesting your company to their friends and family.

6. Reduces Your IT Costs and Improves IT Efficiency

Another benefit of integrating your current field management software with an ERP system such as Vista by Viewpoint is that it reduces your overall IT costs while maintaining (or improving) your IT efficiency.

Most businesses outsource their IT needs because they simply don’t have the staff required to properly maintain their software. If your IT team is unfamiliar with your field management software, you may not be getting your money’s worth.

ERP software can be quite an investment; however, many of them come with a fully staffed IT department capable of handling all IT issues that may arise and addressing them on time. Not only does that help you reduce your overall downtime in the case of an IT problem but having a team available to actively address these issues will ensure that your customers aren’t left waiting, which will improve your overall customer satisfaction rates.

7. Improved Data Security

Data is a vital part of any business, and ensuring that your data stays secure is an absolute must. So, how does investing in an ERP system help improve your data security efforts? It allows you to minimize the number of input systems that require access at any given point.

An ERP system allows you to merge all your systems into a single database. While this may seem like a rather risky move, these systems allow the administration to set very specific controls on who gets to access and/or edit the information stored on the database. For instance, while technicians may have access to end of project reporting templates, only administration officials may have access to edit the actual template. This means your company gets to run efficiently, with less need to worry about internal mistakes.

With more and more focus on digitizing workflows and these databases becoming increasingly popular, more brands are willing to spend on security to ensure that your systems aren’t being hacked. Remember – the safety of your information is their priority.

8. Improved Reporting and Analytics

Finally, with all your information being digitized and synced to your database, you’ll have access to improved analytics and reporting. When all your information is in one easily accessible location, ERP software can seamlessly gather information and import it into relevant reports for each department. This can help in various areas, including generating income and other financial reports and monitoring for operation strengths and weaknesses.

Extending Your FeildConnect Experience with Vista by Viewpoint

For those who currently utilize FieldConnect, the Vista by Viewpoint extension allows you to help your field technicians streamline their daily tasks, which saves time and allows them to visit multiple sites in a single day. So, how does the Vista by Viewpoint integration help extend your FieldConnect experience?

The process begins when your customer visits their customer portal and requests a service or a technician to come out to a site. From there, your digital dispatch team will assign your technicians to appropriate clients, depending on their availability and location. Once your technician receives the assignment, they can digitally review the assignment and make their way to the job site to complete the necessary work.

After your technician has completed the necessary work at the job site, the customer can provide their digital signature, indicating that work has been completed to their expectation. As the technician finalizes their work, they will update the final report with all necessary information. These include any necessary photos as proof of work/completion, all of which will be included on the final report that the customer will receive. Once all is said and done, the technician’s timesheet is automatically updated with all billable and unbillable project-related time, according to your company’s integration parameters.

Thanks to the digitization of the entire process, aside from the actual work that the technician completes, your company saves not only valuable time but resources as well. The latter is especially true since you will no longer require extra individuals to help you with complicated paperwork and organizational needs. This will also help you save money in the long run, increasing your overall revenue earned.

Who Would Benefit from the Vista by Viewpoint FieldConnect Integration?

This field service management software integration can be extremely beneficial for service providers across several industries, including:

  • Construction
  • Landscaping
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Facilities maintenance
  • Security/fire/alarm systems
  • HVAC
  • Mechanical
  • Restoration work
  • Industrial cleaning, and more

Empower Your Field Service Company with Vista by Viewpoint

The field service industry is a competitive one. To stay relative, you need to be implementing the best technology available that helps you communicate with your clientele and helps your staff complete their tasks in an efficient, timely manner.

That’s why here at FeildConnect, we encourage all of our customers to check out Vista by Viewpoint and see what it can help them optimize for their brand.

Curious how integrating Vista by Viewpoint could increase your field service company’s productivity? Then contact us today for more information!