5 Minute Read
February 11, 2020
For service contractors, it’s the regular service work — service contracts, regular maintenance, repairs, etc. — that keeps cash flow moving when work on larger, construction-related projects slows. That’s why it’s important to keep clients not just satisfied with work, but thrilled.
Today, leading service contractors rely on powerful construction service management software and connected technology suites with specific features designed to streamline workflows. In the back office, this means service work orders can be created with a few clicks of a mouse, relying on powerful client contact databases to fill in historical and site information. Intuitive dispatch boards can schedule technicians and allow the flexibility to change their work on the fly based on priority or availability. Service contracts themselves can be automatically drafted and sent out for review and renewals, saving countless hours of preparation.
But out on work sites, where impressions really matter, technology has been slower to catch up. Typically, technicians are be dispatched to locations with a work order. If that work is simple enough, they can perform their service work orders and be on their way. However, outside of routine maintenance, most 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 a stable of technicians’ concerns and needs is not ideal.
This reliance on back office teams to facilitate sharing of information, finding materials, and approving of work, can often slow down the technicians. However, as cloud-based software and integrated mobile applications have advanced — and more service contractors are putting them to work —technicians in the field are able to get the information they need in real time and self-manage their work, improving speed, accuracy and customer satisfaction.
Giving service technicians the latest mobile technologies helps them become more proficient in the field—and further grow business by impressing clients and developing lasting relationships. These modern service management solutions connect the field with the office, allowing the technician to operate as a full extension of his or her service contractor’s operations. Service technicians once restrained by processes can now become 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. Mobile solutions can streamline the data and workflows, syncing with the office instantly. This means:
Technology is giving service contractors the peace of mind that their ongoing contractual service work is being handled with care, without the red tape of trying to manage work sites from headquarters.
“We always feel like the people closest to the work are the ones that make us successful,” said Sonja Rheaume, vice president of operations for Portland, Ore.-based Christenson Electric, in a video touting her company’s use of Trimble Viewpoint’s Spectrum ERP software. “We try to eliminate any barriers between our field electricians and the customers themselves. Our role is to make sure they have the right tools and equipment to do the right job for the customer.”
Construction service management software has gotten a facelift in recent years. Thanks to the cloud and today's modern connected construction management suites, the technology capabilities are available to completely transform how service technicians work. Trimble Viewpoint's Service Tech Mobile and Vista Field Service applications—built into the Spectrum and Vista ERP solutions respectively—put technicians in the field in the driver's seat to self serve the information and workflows they need to work quicker and smarter.
Both applications streamline the data delivery and administrative tasks for service technicians in the field, empowering them with the data they need at any time and allowing them to focus more on the physical work they’re specifically trained for. Service Tech and Field Service each provide technicians with the tools they need to manage work orders, track parts and inventory, assign and update labor, collect electronic signatures, review and create notes on work orders, upload jobsite photos and forms, and more — all from the field, and designed specifically for use iOS and Android smartphones.
Technicians can simply log in and start working. They can see all work orders assigned to them, read any related notes about the jobsite or customer, and access maps for directions. Once working, technicians can make notes about the jobsite or equipment, check parts and inventory, generate a purchase order request, upload photos and forms and more. Electronic signature capture allows customers to sign or approve work orders and instantly receive an email copy or confirmation.
These mobile applications use real-time data to help manage the work performed by individual technicians or crews. Time on job or service sites can be recorded by clocking in and out directly from technicians’ mobile devices. New technicians can be easily added to jobs or reassigned to others. If labor hours are entered in error or need to be changed, technicians can adjust as well. Labor data also feeds directly back to the ERP solutions in real time. Additionally, technicians can look up past work to see a historical service record for sites. They can immediately see what parts were used, which technicians previously performed work and more.
When work is complete, technicians can capture client signatures on work orders. Work orders can be quickly routed through accounting and invoices can be generated much faster since there is no wait for technicians to get back to the office and enter their billing information.
Streamlining service work through leading-edge technology can have long-lasting benefits. One of the biggest benefits is the quicker billings that these mobile-enabled technologies bring to the table for service contractors. Service managers can perform more realistic, up-to-date analytics of service work being done in real time, and better overall management of service operations. Meanwhile, the quality of work performed improves since the technicians are not spending half of their time doing unnecessary administrative work.
Like an electrician without pliers, a service contractor that isn’t equipping its technicians with the right mobile technologies and solutions is going to have a greater difficulty getting the job done right in the field and will ultimately lose valuable business to those that can.
Empowering technicians by providing better access to information and more authority to make decisions in the field not only increases their commitment to the work that needs to be done, it bolsters their contribution to the company’s overall health. Technicians can focus on the actual work rather than the paperwork and customers will enjoy a deeper level of satisfaction with the speed and accuracy of the work being done.
Want more? Contact us today for your own demonstration of Service Tech Mobile or Vista Field Service.