Owning a field service company is not a piece of cake. Whether you offer house cleaning services, gardening and lawn care, home remodeling and repairs, car fixing, or city infrastructure services such as repairing roads or park renovation and clean-ups, your business is based on the work of numerous front line employees. And managing them can generate huge headaches for even a well-organized employer.
Can you ensure the quality of your field employees’ work at all times without being present in the field in person? Do you face the countless paperwork when they try to document the work done for your clients? Can you adjust your workforce to the everchanging conditions and manage them in real time, saving costs? Hard to do that on paper or in spreadsheets, right?
If you want your company to scale and improve your operations, you need a smarter solution. Based on our industry experience and many custom tracking software success stories, our suggestion would be to introduce field service management software that will change your complex business into a well-functioning, easy-to-use system.
Challenges of field workforce management
The field service industry is full of challenges. Many of them are specific to your field of business – you know best how to do your job and impress your clients. But there are also some organizational challenges, common to the whole service industry.
Task completion reporting
Unlike most production companies or service providers, your employees work in the field. This means that tracking their standard of work is highly problematic. You do not want and in fact, are not able to supervise them in person all the time. But you also need a way to monitor their work quality and ensure efficiency.
How do you do that? Many field service companies just don’t, trusting their foremen or doing random check-ups. But lack of actual proof that the work was done can result in serious arguments with end clients.
Let’s say your gardening unit cleans up a park. Once they leave, somebody throws garbage on the lawn. Your end client is justifiably angry, thinking your company has not done the job and they may want you to repeat the work or offer them a refund, even though there is no fault at your side.
Another example: there is damage to property, present before your team even started working. After the job is done, the end client accuses your company of causing it. Without a solid documentation of the workspace, you may be forced to cover the damages.
Field employees tracking
Dispersed networks of field employees can cover much bigger ground than if you conduct your business in one place. But to take advantage of your network of specialists, you cannot go without knowing exactly where they are and what they are doing.
Imagine that you have a sudden change in your schedule. Maybe an end client cancels the appointment last minute or there is an emergency and you need another brigade on the site? Without knowing the actual location of all your teams, it is almost impossible to assign the nearest squad to the job, unless you call each foreman in the field.
Tracking your brigades’ location is also crucial when it comes to reducing transportation costs. Since your field employees need to drive to the site, there is always a chance they do not take the most optimal route or even are late for the job, causing arguments with your clients or unnecessary costs.
When your company grows, it is natural to hire multiple teams that can provide more services every day. But while your company and profits increase, so does the logistic challenge of managing it.
Usual managing solutions that work well in smaller field businesses do not scale well. Using paper notes and phone calls is prone to misunderstandings. And even introducing shared Excel spreadsheets would not solve the problem as they are not exactly user-friendly when your foremen are in the field.
Have you ever wondered why managing a field service company is such a complex operation? Mostly because of the multilevel structure of the business.
You have your field employees that conduct specialized services in different locations. There is also a frontman in each team – usually a senior worker, more experienced than the others and managing the work of the brigade. In bigger companies, there may also be some managers or office workers in the headquarters, organizing jobs for different teams.
Once you have all this system set, there comes your end clients – a factor you cannot control and that adds an additional layer of complexity to your management puzzle. Moreover, there are also challenges specific to your industry – whether it is house cleaning, car fixing, or city infrastructure services. Impossible to solve? Don’t worry – a good field service management software is exactly what can help you here.
The solution: field service management software
How does the workforce management system work?
Based on our experience in creating complex service management software, we can distinguish several parts of a good field force tracking and management platform. The main part is the field workers app, which gathers inputs from front line workers, e.g. field service reports, and allows frontmen to track their work and assign tasks through the workforce management system.
Field workers app
Modern mobile devices can automatically gather a wide range of data, including field force location. With a GPS tracking system included, the app can easily capture accurate, real-time data about each worker’s location while a geo-coded attendance marking system shows the exact time the employee checks in and out of the workplace. The app can also use a geo-fencing technology to send alerts when the field worker leaves the site without prior notification.
A user-friendly mobile app for your front line workers is the foundation of any workforce management system.
Apart from automatic monitoring, a field workers app can also include easy-to-use digital forms that can help the teams to provide all the necessary field service paperwork in a paperless form. Field service documentation forms may include single or multiple-choice questions, description boxes, or even a possibility to add a photo or a video from the site. They can be used both pre- and post-service to document the state before and after the job is done.
Workforce management system
This part of the system is accessible to your foremen or team management staff and it can take the form of a mobile app or an online platform.
With a user-friendly online form, they can easily add new tasks to the system and update them in real-time when they get new information from end clients such as change of the location or time. This minimizes errors and paperwork and ensures you have all the documentation in one place, for all involved people to access.
Thanks to employee tracking solutions such as GPS, a field service management platform can also show you accurate location and movement of all your brigades at all times. This feature can not only show you which team is close when you get a new job to assign but also allows you to keep tabs on your front line workers during working hours and ensure their safety and your profitability.
Interested in some more advanced solutions? A custom field service management software can also help you automatically assign specific teams to specific tasks and plan your company cars’ routes, allowing for saving costs and increasing margins.
How can a workforce tracking system help your business get to the next level?
Do you have trouble managing your field service company effectively, using analogue methods? Are you ready to scale your business and need a reliable solution to keep your operations in order? Workforce management software can be a good solution that offers numerous profits.
Easily document your operations
In a field service management software, all your documentation is gathered in one system. Field employees submit work progress reports or documentation of the job completed so that you can easily check their work quality and ensure high performance. Access to the complete documentation at all times can also save yourself nerves when facing a dissatisfied client or an emergency situation.
Scale up your business
The more brigades in the field, the bigger the logistic challenge. What may get impossible to organize using traditional ways, will be easy and straightforward with a good field service management platform. GPS tracking and automated task allocation would be invaluable when organizing your work effectively and react flexibly in real-time.
Keep tabs on your employees
Keeping the discipline and performance of your field employees may not be easy but with field force location tracking software, it gets much simpler. In a workforce management system, you can have full visibility of your employees current locations and activities and ensure their safety while also preventing unnecessary detours or prolonged breaks.
Automatically optimize and save money
All the data you gather about your previous jobs and your employees’ activities are gathered in one system and may be then used to optimize your future operations. A good workforce management software not only offers you insights about your historic data but also can learn from it and automatically suggest the most efficient actions.
If you run a field service company, managing front line workers is a challenge that can give you many sleepless nights. Pen and paper solutions only take you so far. But if you want to really scale up your business, you need a reliable platform that lets you manage your complex operations in an easy and user-friendly way.
That is when the field service management software comes in handy.
If you are interested in a custom solution, adjusted to your specific industry and company requirements, we are happy to share our experience in tracking solutions with you. Want to get to know more? Just let us know.
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