When Gartner conducted a study in 2014 to show how field service management software has impacted field services, the results were astounding. The 35 respondents surveyed achieved a return on investment in just 9 months.
But, there seems to be a problem since field service organizations aren’t exactly scrambling to invest in FSM software. Studies estimate that 52% of field service organizations still rely on manual methods for daily tasks including scheduling, dispatching, and invoicing.
This hesitation to adopt FSM software despite its obvious benefits is not unusual. If you’re in this category, we realize that you need to understand what you’re getting first before you make a decision.
It takes time to make a decision that will impact your business so much, including selecting the best contractor software for your business. And it should! Vague promises of increased efficiency and cost savings should not move you to something you don’t understand. This is the first of a two-part guide that seeks to solve this problem for commercial contractors.
Saving Dispatch Time
Holmes Electric is one of the leading electrical contractors in the Pacific Northwest. However, the company was struggling with time lost in dispatch. Using BuildOps operational software, the company cut dispatch time from 33 minutes to less than 3 minutes.
The result was excellent customer feedback and a much more efficient operation throughout Holmes Electric’s large geographic area of operation. There are several factors that led to such a significant reduction in dispatch time.
An advanced scheduling system, whether standalone or part of an all-in-one platform like BuildOps, will enable dispatchers to schedule according to what makes the most sense. For example, no more sending the wrong tech with scheduling that quickly filters through technician skill sets, availability, and location. Thus, the dispatcher can quickly pinpoint the best field tech to allocate work orders.
The intuitive scheduler also provides a real-time map of the location of all field techs so dispatchers can track down field techs instantly. When emergencies arise, they can immediately notify the nearest teams with very little time lost.
Mutual Access to Customer Info and Service History
In the past, it would be necessary to brief field techs about a customer’s service history if they are unfamiliar. With BuildOps’s mobile app, field techs can access this information directly on their phones or tablets, saving a lot of communication time.
When the job changes, like when cancellations or modifications are requested, technicians get notified right away. The platform also sends out escalation alerts for quick response, saving dispatch a lot of time in the process.
One-Time Accurate Data Entry
Field techs can record and update customer and job information right in the field. Everything entered in their mobile devices syncs automatically with the same database relied on by the office staff.
Not only that, but get yourself a platform that integrates seamlessly with your accounting system, and you’re really in the one-and-done club. This eliminates the need for multiple entries, from quotes to work orders, work orders to invoices, and invoices to the accounting system.
Automatic, On-Site Quotes & Invoicing
Field techs don’t have to go back-and-forth with the office to process quotes and invoices. Instead, all that information is right there on the BuildOps app.
The amount of time saved by using BuildOps easily translates to a minimum of 10 hours a week per dispatcher by eliminating data entry and communication. That’s about $800 a week or $9600 a year.
These assumptions don’t even account for reduced technician downtime, which would normally be lost in driving and various unaccounted hours. That could save you as much as $80,000 a year. The time savings alone would justify the financial investment into dispatch software.
Second Truck Rolls
Efficiency and accuracy don’t come easy when you’re relying on manual dispatching. An Aberdeen Group report estimated that 25% of service calls require at least one additional visit. This happens mainly because of unqualified technicians, lack of tools and supplies, or unprecedented conditions such as lack of access.
The report also estimated the cost of a single truck roll at $200-$300. Thus, even with a relatively high dispatch accuracy of about 75% and 100 service calls a month, that’s a loss of $6,250 a month. This estimate does not include time lost, negative customer experience, and various indirect factors.
ROI is naturally one of the most important factors when it comes to finding the right contractor software. In this case, second truck rolls can be eliminated or at least minimized by higher dispatch accuracy.
As Aberdeen Group suggested, there are four main points of information needed to increase this accuracy and achieve higher first-time fixes:
- Better visibility into the parts and supplies needed
- Access to service or maintenance history
- Step-by-step problem resolution guides/workflows
- Access to a database of diagnostic information and instructions
These fixes, in turn, help save you a lot of money. If you do the math, that’s easily hundreds of thousands every year. Operational software integrated with dispatch and other field service management features gives you these advantages and more.
Access to Repair History
In BuildOps’ case, the platform records and archives the complete job history for each job site, including equipment information (collected with digital OCR technology), notes from the technician, images, and videos. Even when the usual technician is not available, somebody else can take the service call and carry on. This is the kind of easy, adaptable dispatch that saves time and money.
Schedule Jobs By Skill Sets
We touched on this earlier, but lack of the right technical skills is one of the most common reasons for second truck rolls. Being able to assess the qualifications of each technician in the field at glance vastly increases dispatch accuracy and efficiency.
With access to historical data, maintenance schedules, and asset information, technicians have what they need to carry the right tools and parts with them the first time around. This data can also be used to forecast service calls from information such as asset data, rates of failure, performance information, and performance of field workers themselves.
Minimize or Eliminate No Fault Found Dispatches
Dispatches where no problem was found or a simple fix was required can account for as much as 17% of truck rolls. Since dispatch software itself can’t necessarily predict when a call is going to be a “no fault found,” it’s valuable to have other technology in place to speed these things up. For example, some of the best mechanical technology today, such as IoT, allows for remote access and resolution for just these kinds of scenarios.
BuildOps Makes Easy Dispatch a Reality
The ROI of operational software tends to be grossly underestimated by contractors considering it. But the truth is, your dispatch software can fuel growth, and that’s not even getting into all the other areas in which you stand to see a massive return, especially with a true all-in-one platform like BuildOps. Don’t just take our word for it though, schedule a free demo and see it for yourself.