Mobility, in certain sectors, requires solutions to maximise productivity and efficiency. What do employees who spend their days travelling from one customer to another need to do their work? They are the so-called field workers and there are specific solutions for them that fall into the category of FSM or Field Service Management.
We have already addressed Field Service Management in other posts in our blog, commenting on trends, IoT technologies, what would a day as a field worker be like without our Task4Work solution, how Task4Work enhances productivity, … however, there is an aspect that needs clarifying and that we had always assumed was understood: what is it actually and who can benefit most from this solution?
Field Service Management (FSM) basically consists in coordinating field operations involving mobile workers. Therefore, it includes customers (their needs), field workers, pending tasks, the assignment of these tasks, and routes. The best practices consist in optimising time to promote customer satisfaction regarding our work, and of course, making this work as cost-effective as possible.
Field Service Management solutions provide the manager/dispatcher and the field workers with the necessary tools for the latter to better organise their daily work, which should take place out of the office and therefore “away” from any related paperwork. The time workers spend in the office is usually non-productive time.
These solutions are computerised tools, in which the various manufacturers combine their experience using a mix of proprietary and third-party technologies on which their development is based. Databases, mobile devices, mobile communications, GPS, cloud, IoT,…
Before these tools existed, workers had to use notebooks to add tasks and, as they were assigned to workers, they would be ticked off. Then, those that had been completed were crossed out. In the past, landline telephones were considered an improvement and employees usually called in from the customers’ offices to report on the results of the visit and to be assigned their next task once they had completed the task in hand. The next device was the “pager”, which also played an important role in managing tasks, even if it only offered one-way messaging. Then, the cell phones landed, which facilitated telephone communications with field workers. However, today’s tool is the Smartphone connected to the Internet, with which management has improved another level. Actually, this is a point many have not reached yet. Or, if they have, they do not take full advantage of it.
Features of Task4Work
What can be expected of a good Field Service Management system like Task4Work? Task management, prioritisation and updates, employee and vehicle monitoring, route optimisation and GPS navigation, optimising the allocation of technical staff (based on their skills), managing spare parts and inventories, integrated delivery note/invoicing processes and payments… All of this is available when needed, and processes that do not provide added value are automated. Above all, you also have real-time updates. In the case of Task4Work, you have a good analytical system capable of identifying trends, the shortcomings of our field services, customer needs, etc. In short, information that helps us optimise our services.
On the other hand, to provide a complete and efficient service, FSM tools are integrated with other additional management solutions, such as ERP or CRM regarding stocks, orders, delivery notes or billing, or customer information.
Fields and sectors? Any activity that requires field services, i.e. that needs someone to visit an address to perform work on site. We are not talking about a delivery man, of course, because that is more about logistics than anything else… we are talking about maintenance work on all kinds of machinery: technical services for electrical appliances, industrial machinery / health / energy / telecommunications, vending and dispensing, but also customised services, such as insurance experts, health care or home care staff… in short, any task in the private or public sector in which customer services become citizen services.
Benefits? Well, lots. Direct and indirect benefits: reduced response times, increased visibility regarding tasks, better control of field workers and the tasks performed, savings in transport, ensuring compliance with contracts and SLAs with customers…
If your organisation falls within this remit and you think FSM could improve your management system, do not hesitate to contact us and we shall try to shed some light on the issue. Once you see Task4Work in action, you will realise that the way you manage your field workers can be much more effective and simple.