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Making the Switch: Moving From Manual Processes to Field Service Management Software

Mar. 4, 2021

manual processes to field service management software

Most contractors running field teams would agree that manual field service management is highly inefficient. The time lost in planning routes, allocating tickets to field teams, assessing maintenance schedules, and other field activities costs actual revenue in lost time and low productivity. 

For people like you who have to run big contracting businesses, it is already clear that such cumbersome workflows and processes won’t survive much further in the decade. 

According to a Verizon Connect survey, 51% of field service companies have adopted field service management software, 25% remain stuck with spreadsheets, while the rest rely on whiteboards and other manual methods. This lack of technology has proven to be the biggest hurdle for these companies, and especially those in commercial contracting. 

No Time for Manual & Paper-Based Field Service Processes

Picture this: A lone dispatcher using paper-based field team management can probably handle 15-20 technicians at a time. They have to handle incoming service requests, assess the best people to handle that request, and dispatch the right team.  

If the complexity, volume, or volatility of the workload increases, the natural reaction would be to hire more dispatchers. It feels more comfortable to follow the same proven processes, but this cycle causes the entire business to become more ungainly and inefficient.

On the other hand, field service management software could easily allow the same lone dispatcher to handle more than 50 teams comfortably, while simultaneously maximizing efficiency and job completion. With intelligent (and even automated) scheduling and dispatch, it suddenly becomes much easier to handle emergencies, standardize workflows, and maintain visibility in the field.

That is the disruptive power of field service technology among commercial contractors and other field service companies. Technology has now provided opportunities for field teams to remain tethered to the office through digital links. This allows them to benefit from increased accuracy, workflow management, and collaboration afforded by these modern solutions. 

Before the Switch, Assess Your Current Status

The first step to making the big switch from manual to automated field service management starts with an honest appraisal of your current condition. See if you can find the description that best fits your current status.

Traditional, Paper-Based

When a client calls in, the dispatcher has to write the details of the new request down. They then have to fill out dispatch forms, which will be passed on to supervisors for approval and allocation. Invoicing, routing, order management, and maintenance schedules are all done on paper.

If that sounds like something you do, then you’re in good company. By now, you’re probably all too familiar with the maddening inefficiencies and bottlenecks created by manual paperwork. Paper processes are synonymous with human error, disorganization, and ultimately wasted time. The majority of contracting businesses exploring software options are doing so because of the losses caused by such inefficiencies.

Manual Scheduling + Regular Processes

This category is for those contractors who graduated to some form of digital scheduling and field service management. Using a stack of software such as QuickBooks and spreadsheets, these dispatchers do have a significant edge over those shuffling papers to get the job done. 

Thanks to integration, such businesses can go a long way to create a paperless field service management environment. Invoicing, running reports, and data collection becomes much easier, and a lot of time (and money) is saved this way. You could save up to an hour in planning and logistics daily.

However, manual scheduling retains the same inherent weakness of any manual task. Manual decision-making slows the whole process down significantly and continues using up a lot of resources.

Intelligent Advisor Software 

Also known as semi-automatic field service management software, these are software platforms with decision-making capabilities built into them. They have the capacity to perform low-level decisions about task scheduling, reporting, data collection, and more. 

These software platforms operate on an advisory role, allowing dispatchers to make quick and accurate decisions on the go. However, some level of manual intervention remains necessary.

Field Service Management Software: Automatic Dispatch, Scheduling, & Optimization

The most advanced level of field service management software comes with built-in automation for various FSM tasks. These software platforms are capable of smart scheduling and dispatching including workforce planning, live updates on field team status, and more.

Advanced FSM platforms can also come with integrated features such as quoting and invoicing, workflow management, customer management, and other features. That is the case with BuildOps field service management software — a comprehensive stack built purposely for the modern contractor.

At the cutting edge of field service technology, BuildOps gives you the things you desire most: control, efficiency, accuracy, and reduced overhead. In industries like commercial HVAC where margins are low, implementing cutting-edge field service management can be the secret to HVAC business success.


Fight Change Anxiety to Adopt Technology

The level of disruption that a powerful operational platform promises is phenomenal. In a good way. As a manager or owner of a commercial contracting business, it’s your responsibility to map the future of your company and ensure that it’s well-placed to meet the industry’s ever-changing needs. 

FSM software offers many benefits that make it worth your while to implement this new technology in your company. 

Expand Your Business Past Current Plateaus

Manual processes can only take your business so far before you reach a critical point. As you well know, business trajectories are rarely linear. Technology has the capacity to power increased business growth, thanks to increased efficiency and greater productivity. FSM software gives you the power to explore new horizons without fear.

Leverage Data to Iron Out Bottlenecks

One big advantage of FSM software, especially an all-in-one platform, is that it generates a lot of data from the field. With the right tools, you can use this data to find out where there may be potential to improve your product or service offerings. It can also reveal inefficiencies within your internal business processes, such as outdated workflows or unnecessary expenses.

Empower Your Field Teams to Deliver a Superior Customer Experience

Today, field services are defined by the quality and value offered to their customers. We have already seen the value of predictive maintenance in not only boosting contractors’ bottom line, but also in elevating the customer experience.

FSM software allows field teams to retain access to resources such as service schedules, quote and invoice creation, and even their in-house knowledge base. The end result is that the customer gets consistently high-quality service, no matter which team responds to their service request. 

Reach out found that 89% of customers actually expect this kind of modern service. If you want to remain competitive, there is no choice but to leverage technology.

The Right Software Package Saves You Money

When you choose the right commercial software for your contracting business, you set yourself up for success. The advantage of a platform like BuildOps is that it’s simple to use, but doesn’t sacrifice its powerful functionality. Paired with a mobile app, the cloud-based software allows field teams to remain highly mobile while giving you total visibility in your field operations.

Whether or not you feel ready to make the switch to field service management software, it’s time to make your play for your future as a commercial contractor. Our product experts are ready to connect, understand your business, and demonstrate how BuildOps may be the solution you’re looking for. And because it’s a truly all-in-one software, designed to grow alongside its users, it can also be the last one you have to look for. To get started, we invite you to check out a free demo here