Organizations with a service department that are on the road every day can no longer work without a smart and reliable field service application. You will of course look at the application's functionalities, the technology, reliability, user-friendliness and more aspects. It's not easy to choose the right solution for your technicians, but it does have a huge impact on the performance of the company and your employees. Therefore, 3 important elements that you should keep in mind.
1. Fast and efficient handling of work orders
Your technicians need to focus on their primary task; providing service. The system should not hinder them or consume too much of their time. You want fast and efficient handling of work orders. Therefore, do not choose for a stand-alone application, but for a field service solution that is fully integrated with your back office (ERP) and provides you with information that is always accurate and up-to-date. Clear navigation and simple data entry are also absolute must-haves to make things go fast and without mistakes. And what if something goes wrong anyway? Do not trouble the technician with this, but make sure the "loose ends" are solved by a central group of users in the background.
2. Flexibility in usage and setup
The processes in your organizations should determine the way you work, not the setup and (im)possibilities of the software. Go for a field service solution that lets you choose which device (or multiple devices) you let your technicians work with. Make sure you can customize the menu structure and workflows to your processes; no redundant options and process steps. And preferably, you do not have to turn to the software partner every time you want a change in the setup, but you can manage this easily yourself. Finally, technicians should still be able to use the system when they are temporarily offline or in poor weather conditions. Therefore, choose a system with offline capabilities and use a ruggedized device that can handle rain and dirt.
3. Real-time information for mechanics and office
With a real-time connection between the mobile field service application and the back office system, the data is always up-to-date. Useful for both the technician and the planner. Technicians will see fully updated information about the work orders that need to be handled and will receive notifications in case of changes to the schedule or newly assigned work orders. The service planner receives immediate feedback from technicians regarding the work they perform and can quickly act in case of emergency calls.
The list of requirements to a mobile application for your field technicians is much longer than what has been described here. But by paying attention to these three important elements, you are well on your way to make your service department function efficiently and successfully.
Arend Jan Boersma is Senior Consultant at Dysel and specialist in automating (field)service departments.