Field Service Management Guide: Definitions, Success Stories + the Best FSM Software
September 8, 2020 9 min read
The field service management (FSM) market could reach $10.81 billion by 2026. Despite these growth expectations, more than three-fourths of field service companies say they are “struggling to achieve revenue growth.”
That might be because more than half are still manually managing their operations instead of using software, leading to errors, inefficiencies, and poor customer experience. On the other hand, 40% of field service organizations that have adopted field service management tools say they are experiencing growth.
If you want to grow your field service business, make more money, and increase customer satisfaction, you need to streamline your process with field service management software.
Topics included in this article include:
- What Is Field Service Management (FSM)?
- Who Uses Field Service Management?
- How Do You Manage a Field Service Team?
- What Are Field Service Management Tools?
- 3 Benefits of FSM Software
- The Best Field Service Management Software
- OptimoRoute Is the Must-Have Field Service Management Tool
- Let OptimoRoute Grow Your Field Service Business
What Is Field Service Management (FSM)?
Field service refers to work performed at a location that isn’t owned by the contractor or business conducting the service. Repairing an air conditioning unit in a customer’s home, for example, is a field service.
Field service management (FSM) is the process of overseeing and directing field operations. So, for an HVAC company, FSM includes all of the processes required to conduct repairs, installations, and maintenance in customers’ homes or offices. Field service management tasks may include:
- Assigning the right technician to jobs with specific skill requirements
- Routing and dispatching field service professionals
- Work order management
- Customer relationship management
- Contract management
- Inventory management
- Billing and invoicing
Field service management includes a wide array of processes, which is why field service management teams can be quite large.
Who Uses Field Service Management?
Any company that offers field services — regardless of size — uses field service management. Here are some examples of the many business types that use FSM:
- Pool & spa installation and care
- Pipeline inspection and maintenance
- Fire & life safety inspection
- Home inspection & real estate
- Mobile healthcare
- Mobile veterinary
- Office maintenance
- Cleaning services
- Property management
Field service management is a crucial process whether you’re managing ten roofers or one hundred pipeline technicians. Because if you do FSM well, you can minimize your operational costs and increase productivity.
How Do You Manage a Field Service Team?
Managing field service teams is a complex process. However, we can learn a lot from companies like Telgian, that are doing it well.
Telgian, a leading US fire & life safety company, has used OptimoRoute’s field service planning, route optimization, and workforce management features to transform their business.
Managing their workforce was a major growth blocker, as dispatchers manually planned out inspectors’ weekly routes using an inefficient mapping program.
By switching to OptimoRoute, they made planning 82% more efficient, reduced their operational staff by 66%, and empowered their inspectors to take on more work. As a result, they scaled their business, with YoY of growth 19% over three years, without expanding their team of inspectors.
What Are Field Service Management Tools?
Field service management tools are types of software that help a business run its field service operations more efficiently. Field service businesses have unique challenges because their success is dependent on field workers arriving at customer destinations on time, having the right information and tools to complete the job according to schedule, and getting swift payments.
With so many variables at play, including trying to accurately estimate travel times and how long the job will take to complete, manually planning your field service operations takes tremendous time and is subject to human errors. These inefficiencies could be costing your business.
Types of Field Service Management Tools
Many types of field service management software can help improve your operational efficiency.
Route-planning software optimizes multi-stop trips for transportation and service dispatchers by finding the most efficient routes, reducing mileage and gas expenses. They often include GPS tracking functionality, so you know where your field employees are on their routes and can see if they’re on schedule.
Job-scheduling software helps businesses arrange their teams across multiple job sites and tasks. Some scheduling software is designed specifically for companies whose teams work out in the field and have different appointments or job sites to visit. These tools simplify technician scheduling and help businesses provide better customer support and project management by ensuring field technicians show up when they’re supposed to.
Inventory management tools
Inventory management is a crucial challenge faced by many field service businesses. To effectively manage work order demand, field service technicians need to know the inventory levels of parts they need and get them in real-time for better field management. Inventory management software helps with this.
Invoice and payment management tools
Billing and invoicing solutions can remove a lot of the pain in the billing process, giving businesses more options for receiving payments and speeding up billing tasks. This software type helps add more electronic payment channels and mobile payment networks that can make paying quicker and easier for your customers.
3 Benefits of FSM Software
Manual tasks are holding your business back. They’re repetitive. They eat up time that should be spent on more productive activities, and they create errors that affect your customer service and bottom line. Here are all the ways you could improve your business by incorporating field service management software.
1. Increase productivity
With manual methods, up to 22% of your employees’ time is spent on repetitive tasks. Automating repetitive tasks with FSM software can save you and your employees time. And you can spend that extra time on higher-value activities, such as acquiring new business and delivering top-notch customer service.
2. Improve customer satisfaction
Field service management tools improve customer service by removing guesswork and the potential for human errors. When it comes to repetitive tasks, a person is likely to make 10 errors per 100 steps. That creates the risk that your field technician could be overbooked and unable to make an appointment or could arrive at the job with the wrong information and be unable to address your customer’s problem. With FSM software, automation removes the risk of human errors and improves your workflows, helping to ensure a first-time fix, which creates a better experience for your customers.
3. Decrease labor costs
Manual processes require additional labor. Automating processes, by comparison, requires fewer employees to operate. And those you do hire need less time to complete tasks. Increased workplace automation can “cut labor costs by an average of 16 percent.”
The Best Field Service Management Software
We’ve provided a list of the best field service management software solutions that have high reviews, solve multiple pain points, and improve your workflows to help you get the most bang for your buck.
OptimoRoute makes route planning and schedule optimization easy for all field service providers. It’s easy to use: Just upload your service calls, and add parameters, like technician skill level, and the most efficient routes will be calculated and delivered straight to your field service workers’ phones. You’ll save time over manually planning routes and save money on labor, mileage, and gas.
OptimoRoute Software – Planning Routes
Inflow is a modern way to keep track of your inventory and bill your customers. With its field service app, inventory levels in your system are automatically updated as members of your mobile field service team scan tools or parts they remove from shelves. Everyone will be able to see the most up-to-date inventory levels, and you can quickly create a purchase order for new inventory when stock gets low.
With this field service software, you can easily measure material costs and bill customers. Each job site is given a unique barcoded order number, and your field workers can use it to keep track of all materials used to complete a job. When it’s time to bill customers, inFlow’s user-friendly software can create the invoice. And it even integrates with QuickBooks to simplify managing your books.
InvoiceASAP is designed for businesses with mobile workforces to help them quickly create on-premise invoices and get paid. Through the mobile app and web dashboard, your field and office staff will always be in sync. Your field team can create an invoice on the app once they’ve completed a job, and customers can pay on the spot. For accounting purposes, InvoiceASAP syncs with QuickBooks.
(Source) Quickly create invoices through the mobile app or web dashboard.
QuickBooks is accounting software targeted primarily at small businesses. It helps businesses better manage their finances by automating invoicing, bookkeeping, time tracking, and even inventory management. It eliminates the need for business owners to enter information on multiple spreadsheets manually.
(Source) QuickBooks helps you manage your finances. Easily see which customers have paid and which are behind.
OptimoRoute Is the Must-Have Field Service Management Tool
OptimoRoute is the best field service business software because it combines route planning, scheduling, and Live ETAs all in one place. It will improve your efficiency and help you make more money.
With OptimoRoute, you can:
- Automatically calculate the most efficient multi-stop routes to save mileage and gas expenses
- Match technicians’ skill sets to job requirements to increase your first-time fix rate
- Send routes directly to drivers’ mobile devices, including iPhone and Android
- Calculate allowed working hours to reduce overtime costs
- Balance workloads efficiently among your employees
- See where your drivers are and know who is on schedule and who is behind
- Let customers know when field service technicians will arrive with Realtime order Tracking
- See who your top performers are with route analytics
Clarke Customer Care built a profitable field service business using OptimoRoute
Clarke Customer Care offers top-of-the-line kitchen-appliance installation. Their business is built on providing high-end customer care, but with a growing number of field service employees, they needed a better solution for scheduling and route planning.
Clarke Customer Care is regularly out in the field installing high-end kitchen appliances.
After trying different routing software available on the market, it became clear that just route optimization wouldn’t be enough to help their business processes.
With OptimoRoute, they were able to:
- Plan and even replan the workforce in minutes
- Send rescheduled routes to techs already in the field through their smartphones or through email using OptimoRoute’s mobile app
- Automate scheduling that increased overall efficiency between 10-15% in terms of the number of orders completed daily
- Save two working hours daily by using automated customer notifications
Let OptimoRoute Grow Your Field Service Business
There are many field service management solutions on the market. The best solutions solve multiple business needs and help you make more money. Try OptimoRoute for free and see how it can help your field service organization.
Field Service Management FAQ
In this section, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about field service management.
What is field support?
Field support engineers or specialists provide on-site, hands-on advice and technical support to organizations using computer software or hardware solutions.
For example, a field support specialist could be called in if an internet of things (IoT) solution was malfunctioning or unable to collect data correctly.
What is an ITSM tool?
IT Service Management tools help organizations control how IT services are delivered to clients or within a company, based on budgets, regulations, existing processes, staff, and desired outcomes.
Since ITSM solutions can be pricey, many companies use help desk software or other cheaper solutions to manage their internal IT services, even though this involves more manual labor and a higher risk of human error.
How big is the field service industry?
Like we mentioned in the introduction, there are over 20 million field technicians across the globe, so it’s a large part of the global economy.
But since field service is technically an umbrella term that encompasses multiple industries, you have to look at the individual industry market sizes to get an idea of the scale.
There are over 109,400 HVAC businesses in the US alone, with 531,981 employees and a market size of $94 billion. A significant portion of this revenue comes from field maintenance.
If we include pool maintenance, fire & life safety inspections, and other installation, maintenance, and inspection-focused industries, we’re talking millions of employees in the US alone.
Field service operations offer unique problems that can lead to a lot of manual data entry, paperwork, and working hours. Managing a fleet of technicians covering a large geographical area is a huge business challenge.
Field service management is vital for companies to efficiently manage orders at scale and minimize the risk of human error.
If your main goal is to maximize service calls and minimize time on the road, you can use OptimoRoute as a replacement for FSM software.
If you also care about efficient order management, invoicing, quoting, and contracts, it’s best to use our solution in combination with a field service management solution.
For a cloud-based solution that will help you save time on planning, and money on gas and payroll, take OptimoRoute for a 100% free & non-committal 30-day test drive today.
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