If your business does installations, repairs or services at customer locations or equipment sites, then you have a field service business.
Field service businesses face unique challenges. Managing scheduling and dispatch processes, ensuring workforce visibility in the field, collecting accurate information back from jobs in a timely manner and communication breakdowns are just a few.
To get a better understanding of these challenges, let’s take a look at one company’s daily processes:
A Day in the Life of a Field Service Business
Bob has a field service business. He’s been successful at growing his business and he has several technicians performing fieldwork.
Dennis, Bob’s customer service representative, receives a call from a customer requesting an air conditioner repair. He checks invoice history and a spreadsheet to see what equipment and warranties this customer has. Dennis takes notes on a piece of paper. Unfortunately, the phone immediately rings again, and the repair order never makes it to dispatch.
Amber, the dispatcher, is busy managing technician schedules. She uses several spreadsheets to make sure everyone is fully utilized, the right people attend jobs that need a license and each technician’s trips are planned as efficiently as possible. It’s difficult for her to take urgent requests because she is lacking visibility into her technicians’ work out in the field.
As the Controller, John is in charge of cash flow and is experiencing delays in the invoicing process. Many of the employees submit job sheets by hand, leading to keying errors. These delays cause invoicing mistakes and numerous credit memos being issued, impacting cash flow.
How an ERP for Field Service Management Transforms Operations for the Better
The challenges Bob faces are not unique. Many service-driven businesses rely on outdated software, disconnected systems or manual processes to run their operations.
With an ERP for field service management like Acumatica Cloud ERP, companies like Bob’s can streamline dispatching, reduce response times and minimize costs. Let’s look at this company’s challenges again, this time using Acumatica to manage its field service operations.
A customer calls for a repair. Dennis looks up the customer and creates a new Service Order in Acumatica. He asks which piece of equipment needs work and selects it for the order. He can see the equipment warranty information and informs the customer that the unit is out of warranty, except for the compressor. There are no slips of paper to get lost and the customer is impressed that Dennis has all the information needed and is able to create the service request so quickly.
Amber sees the new job on her Calendar Board. She can view existing appointments for each technician and create a new appointment with a drag and drop function. If licenses or skills are required, she can use the staff filter to find technicians that fit the requirements of the job.
With the Staff Appointments on Map, she can view and manage where technicians will be during the day so when urgent jobs come in, she can easily see who will be nearby.
Technicians in the field are using the Acumatica app on their Android and iOS devices. They have all the information needed and can use the app for various tasks, like using the map to find directions to the next job.
The technicians are now entering information directly into their app and this data is immediately available back at the office. Technicians can start the job, track their time, add parts, update equipment info, take before and after photos, complete the job, capture a customer signature and even invoice and collect payment out in the field. Bob’s customers prefer one invoice for all the work done in a month, so invoicing is done in the office. Invoicing can be automated or users can control the process.
The streamlined invoicing eliminates invoicing delays and invoicing errors are drastically reduced, so customers are paying promptly and cash flow is improved.
With an ERP for field service management, Bob is able to form stronger customer relationships, increase productivity and better manage his resources, all of which translate into greater profitability.
Choosing the right ERP and the right Consultant
Acumatica Field Service Edition works with CRM, sales, inventory, purchasing, accounting, manufacturing, project accounting and financial reporting to create a 360-degree view of customer activities. This improves the overall customer experience and elevates customer satisfaction. Acumatica’s unlimited user licensing and role-based security lets your entire staff and field representatives conduct day-to-day operations with 24/7 access to the business tools and functions they need to remain productive.
NexTec Group is an award-winning business software consulting firm with over 26 years experience implementing ERP software for customers across industries. Our nationwide Acumatica team is one of the largest in North America, and we work hard to ensure our customers’ long-term success. Reach out to us to learn more about Acumatica Field Service Edition and how NexTec can help you implement the right solution for your business.