Field Service Automation or Field Service Management is just any system that is intended to keep trail of the different components of field operations. These components typically include inventory management, vehicle tracking, scheduling, customer portals and more. Field service management is the method of organizing all your field service procedures to improve efficiency and productivity.
For today’s enterprise field service organizations, managing the schedules and deployment of hundreds of technicians, tracking thousands of parts, covering dozens of warranties is something that analog methods can no longer keep up with. A modern field service facility needs stages of automation for planning the right technicians for the right job as well as return, parts and repair allocation
Why is Field Service Automation Important?
Automation is the buzzword to improve efficiency and reduce cost at the same time. This is true for almost all facets of work, and more so for field services, which has a historical reputation for delays, inefficiencies, and high costs.
Field service is often the place where enterprise information systems, labor controls, and productivity tools falter. The opaque nature of the work, far removed from the office or shop floor is the chief cause for blame. While cells phones offer visibility and connectivity, its effectiveness is limited. Technology is, however, changing the situation, transforming field service through new improved paradigms.
When you direct a human out to the field, you come across numerous variables, like their what kind of transportation they use, attendance, what route they use with the transportation, data requirements, their mobile connectivity etc. that it turn out to be nearly impracticable to keep trail by someone sitting in house by themselves. What additionally complicates things is that all these costs add-up in ways that in the end distort your bottom-line and customer satisfaction.
To be fair, emails and spreadsheets were the way that most organizations dealt with every process, not just field service management (FSM). However, where FSA undergoes the most is that it comes across with more variables than any other procedures. When you send a human resource out to the field, you deal with so many variables (like their attendance, what kind of transportation they use, what route they use with the transportation, their mobile connectivity, data requirements, etc.) that it becomes nearly impossible to keep track of by someone sitting in-house on their own. What further complicates things is that all these variable costs add-up in ways that ultimately cripple your bottom-line and customer satisfaction.
What is Done During Field Service Automation?
Field service automation is a scheme for organizing field operations through a mobile or similar system. At a basic level, this entails scheduling service orders, dispatching agents, and tracking vehicle locations and job status. A proper software solution will assist automate these chores and offer mobile access through a cloud-based platform. FSM is prevalent in numerous industries, but particularly those that employ mobile agents or contractors, such as waste management, utilities, telecommunications, public sector transportation, and even in-home healthcare.
FSA solutions can differ widely based on industry and intention of usage, varying from best applications for order scheduling to all other product suites for enterprises. In general, you can expect to see some or all of the following capabilities in a standard platform:
- Scheduling and order management
- Vehicle/technician location tracking
- Job status updates
- Route optimization and GPS navigation
- Time tracking and driver logs
- Knowledge and asset repositories
- Parts and inventory management
- Integrated invoicing/payment processing
- Customer portals
- Regulatory compliance measures
Field service management(FSM) allows operations manager and business to stay in safer control of the situation. The following are some processes that happen after Field service automation is done:
- Automated scheduling of service calls, deploying the right technician at the right site, within the shortest time.
- Real-time tracking of field service technicians, to give an accurate picture of the expected arrival time of the technician at the field site, reducing uncertainty and ambiguity, and sparing the need for clients to make follow up calls and clarifications.
- Ability for supervisors and other stakeholders to monitor movement of technicians in real time, to resolve any bottleneck, slack, or other glitches in real time, pre-empting disruption of work
- Enabling field service technicians to connect with the command and control office in real-time for better insights on the nature of the job, any required assistance with experts, and for follow-up, sparing the need to make duplicate visits, and also for doing a more accurate job
- Increased accuracy and precision, as forms are populated automatically wherever possible, and delivered to all stakeholders and regulatory agencies at the correct time, in the correct format, automatically.
- Self-initiation of appropriate reminders and alerts, whenever manual interference is necessary.
- Automatic replenishment orders for spares and other stock, avoiding stock-out situations which may delay field service.
Such interventions eliminate wastage, paving the way for lean operations, with reduced operations cost and maximum returns on investment.
In the field service space, the goal now is to be proactive, as opposed to reactive. It’s not just good enough anymore to be able to solve a maintenance or repair issue after a piece of equipment has already been broken, as companies are looking for ways to keep their equipment in good working order, to begin with, while also identifying problems before they happen.
That’s where field service automation comes into play, as the deployment of field service technicians before a break occurs is what companies are looking for. It not only keeps equipment in good working order but limits the amount of downtime and the number of service calls they would require.
In CoreSystems, automation can be achieved many ways to ensure equipment is running at its peak efficiency. Automated scheduling of preventative maintenance is the first line of defense, as either through a contract or work order, maintenance can be scheduled well in advance and be scheduled with the right technician with the right skills to complete the task. With the field service app, maintenance checklists and any parts needed can be directly sent to the technician, giving them all they need for the job.