In field service, new technologies such as social, mobile, cloud, wearables, IoT and M2M present new opportunities every day. It is critical to understand and incorporate them into your field service operations to be able to compete with the others in the market. New technologies can lead to improvements in your operations, and often present new business opportunities. Field service leaders are also deploying other technologies, such as workforce management software with optimized routing to help increase productivity and cloud based analytics to predict future demand. They are also incorporating wearables and social collaboration that Millennials, with which are flooding the field service market, are comfortable.But, let’s focus on workforce management software.
What exactly is “workforce management” or “field service management”? These concepts help businesses maximize their efficiency and productivity. Workforce management is a classification for all activities that are needed to maintain a productive workforce. This often includes payroll systems, HR administration, employee self-services, and time and attendance. But, it also includes demand forecasting and scheduling, absence and leave management, and labor budgeting among many other aspects of running a business.
Field service management, a term sometimes used synonymously with workforce management, often refers to a hosted or cloud-based software application which provides functions like locating assets, routing and optimizing field technician schedules and integrates with back-office systems such as part inventory, finance, knowledge bases. It is also often integrated with analytics software so that data can be collected from across the enterprise, analyzed and used to continuously improve operations.
Field service or workforce management software is critical to field service operations, enabling them to run more efficiently and productively. It is limited to wrench turners either. It can be used in businesses with repair or installation technicians, nurses that perform at home care, utilities, telecoms, smart cities and even facilities management companies - basically any industry where companies deploy field based employees.
The software helps management route their field employees efficiently, and monitor them to ensure customer commitments are met. Workforce optimization software, integrated to work order management or CRM systems, and enterprise mobility applications can streamline work processes, increase employee productivity, and enhance the customer experience by ensuring that employees get where they need to go when they are supposed to be there, with the right tools to ensure a single trip. It can also facilitate collaboration with office based experts, again, improving first time fix rates. Some field service software also offers remote vehicle diagnostics, driver logs and hours of service tracking, as well as inventory management.
One of the most important aspect of workforce management is scheduling the right staff for a job. The algorithms used by intelligent workforce management software help analyze data, in real time, in order to help identify the best techs, matching skills and geographical knowledge. When paired with robust analytics engines, the solutions can also be used to forecast labor supply and demand, helping improve staffing utilization and manage seasonal demand. An optimized workforce maximizes profits and creates brand loyalty, increasing future sales and improving customer satisfaction rates. Workforce management or field service management are very important tools when it comes to the success of a field service operation, and business leaders are quickly realizing that these robust, intelligent programs can make huge improvements to the business, especially the productivity of field service technicians.