Connecting Service Contractors’ Back Offices and In-Field Technicians — In an Instant
3 Minute Read
November 11, 2020
As an electrical contractor, odds are the scope of their in-field construction work is pretty well defined by the overall project plans. Even if changes occur, dedicated project workflows and collaborative project teams tend to keep your own team members well informed—especially if your organization or the lead contractor is running the project with connected, cloud-based construction management software.
If you’re running a service division, however, it's these “smaller jobs” that can often create havoc. Work orders—even those for regular maintenance—are prone to problems, including:
This leaves your electrical techs having to do far more administrative legwork to get their jobs done correctly.
The main job for electrical service technicians should be the actual electrical work that needs to be done in the field—whether it's performing regular testing and maintenance of a client’s electrical systems; a necessary upgrade to a data center; or quickly repairing a building’s emergency lighting systems.
And the more work they can accurately complete in a timely manner, the happier their clients are, and the quicker their service contractor employer can pay the bills...including their own paychecks.
That’s why it’s critical to avoid bogging down in-field technicians with burdensome administrative tasks or derailing their work with disconnected systems when they need vital data and information while on the jobsite.
Technologies and innovations have for years now helped contractors digitize data and improve many back-office processes. On service job sites, however, where impressions really matter, connected technologies have been slower to catch up. The explosion of mobile devices and apps have helped, yet many are still single-process applications that don’t succinctly capture all of the data and workflows needed to streamline their in-field work.
So electrical techs are often forced to use legacy processes: They’re dispatched to locations with a work order. If that work is simple enough, they can perform the work and be on their way. However, outside of routine maintenance, most electrical service work is not that cut and dry. Technicians can run into new problems not identified, parts that need to be specially ordered or retrieved, the need for historical site data from previous visits to identify trends, and much more.
Radioing back and forth with back-office staff trying to address an entire stable of technicians’ concerns and needs is not ideal.
New, connected mobile technologies, though, are changing the game for electrical service managers and in-field techs alike. Enhanced mobile service applications and other cloud-based technologies are modernizing in-field work order and service management by connecting the work orders to back office systems—and complete, accurate data—in real time. This allows the technician to operate as a full extension of his or her service contractor’s operations, and increase business in a sustainable way.
Service technicians once restrained by processes can now become effective service managers. They no longer have to wait for answers from the back office teams, or play the role of data administrator and perform a series of manual processes to input data from the field into systems back in the office. These new mobile solutions provide connected workflows that synch with the office instantly, removing the need for manual data collection and processing by your techs in the field
These real-time work order management capabilities are key elements of Trimble Construction One, Trimble Viewpoint’s new connected construction management suite. Here’s a look at two innovations, specific to Trimble Viewpoint’s Vista and Spectrum ERP solutions:
The Trimble Viewpoint Vista ERP closes that data and process gap between the back office and in-field service technicians with Vista Field Service. A full mobile work order solution for service contractors, Vista Field Service provides your electrical technicians with all the information they need to complete their work for the day, and instantly pushes data about their completed work back to the office — all via their smartphone.
Vista Field Service replaces manual processes for dispatching technicians and assigning work orders, as well as capturing field data on work completed. The solution extends the power of Vista’s service management capabilities to the field through a mobile friendly web interface. It’s easy and fast for technicians to learn, so they can work quickly and efficiently while on the go.
Service contractors can now streamline work orders and ensure the right technicians are assigned to the right jobs at all times. Labor and work performed on service jobs can be tracked easier and more accurately. In the field, technicians have a simple tool to see all work order information, assign costs, update records and utilize electronic signature capture for customers to acknowledge work performed and quickly close and submit completed work orders. No more calling into the back office or waiting until techs get back to the office to drop off paper work orders to be entered.
Here’s a snapshot of some of the modern features and workflows that the connected Vista Field Service provides for technicians:
Watch Vista Field Service in action below:
Trimble Construction One also includes the Trimble Viewpoint Spectrum ERP, with the powerful Service Tech Mobile solution. Service Tech Mobile, provides service technicians with an easy-to-use mobile field tool to create, manage and review work orders, assign and update labor, collect electronic signatures, upload jobsite photos and forms, and much more.
The mobile app was designed to specifically address the specific content-entry needs of iOS and Android smartphone users, making it faster and easier for your electrical technicians to enter job details while on the go. Techs can now streamline and report back on their service activities from any mobile-enabled device—whether working online or offline.
Before starting their day, your electrical technicians can see all work orders assigned to them, add and read related notes about the jobsite or customer, and access maps for directions to jobsites. Once working, technicians can make notes about the jobsite or equipment, record time on jobs or service sites, upload photos and more.
Service Tech Mobile users can also create work orders directly in the field to handle additional work when out on a call. Technicians can create work orders when the back office is closed, and they can capture and process those “other charges” like permits, travel, or equipment costs This is especially helpful for weekend techs, who keep the job moving when last-minute work or emergency calls are needed and work performed needs to be captured.
See how easy it is to create work orders in Spectrum Service Tech Mobile:
While legacy software and manual processes might have worked “good enough” in the past, project and service demands are evolving. It’s time to move beyond just good enough if you want your technicians to deliver and your electrical service business to thrive.
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