5 Challenges for Field Service Management and How to Solve Them

Posted by on Mar 26, 2018 9:31:00 AM
Jess McWeeney
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Managing or being part of a team that works in the field has its challenges. Operations managers need detailed records of the work that is being done to inform supervisors and relay back to clients, while field technicians need to make sure they're on track to meet deadlines and that no steps are missed to avoid a return trip.

Not having access to key information from the field leads to problems and keeps you from making informed decisions. Billing cycles are held up, quality assurance and customer satisfaction can be impacted, and schedules of work have to be changed.

These are some of the common problems and challenges your field team is facing, and how you can overcome them by implementing a mobile forms solution to automate processes and improve operational efficiency.

Challenge 1: Running Out of Forms

When your team relies on paper forms to complete compliance paperwork and data collection, it's unavoidable that they will run out of copies when away from the office. This leads to time wasted running back to pick up more. Or, it may mean the forms don't get completed at all.

Being out in the field often means not having a solid surface to write on or a good system for keeping documents and data organized. Plus, any calculations need to be done manually, you can't look up part numbers, and any photos you take will be separate from the paperwork.

Using paper also runs other risks, like forms getting dirty, torn or even blown away by the wind. You can't control the elements, but you can control how you complete your paperwork.

Challenge 2: Working on Jobsites Without a Reliable Connection

When work frequently takes you to projects in rural locations without a reliable cell or Internet connection you still need a way to collect data and send it back to the office without a major delay.

A mobile forms app provides a solution for completing paperwork and returning it to the office more quickly. Because of the offline functionality of mobile forms, data can be collected in real-time, regardless of where a jobsite is located.

You can still complete forms on mobile devices without connectivity and your data will be safely stored until there is a connection. With a mobile forms solution, you don’t need to worry about losing your information, searching for a computer or fax to send in a report, or needing to wait until a later time to get forms completed.

Challenge 3: Data is Slow to Be Received by the Office

Being able to collect and access data in real-time means that workflows and processes can move forward and aren’t restricted to when paperwork is delivered to the office from off-site.

Receiving data in real-time also means that operations managers in the office aren't left wondering the status of a job, which allows them to adjust schedules as needed based on the most up to date information.

Communication is improved and everyone is on the same page, so there are no surprises about what is or isn’t done. Mobile forms can help you to get a more complete picture of the status of your project or service call because the information is accessible immediately after being submitted.

Challenge 4: Forms Aren't Completed While Onsite

Trying to fill in the gaps on a form for a service call after the fact causes problems quickly. It's easy to forget details or mix up what happened between multiple jobs completed in a day.

Collecting data while your team is onsite means you're more likely to get all of the information you need. People won't forget to answer a question or not include an important detail when they fill out a form on their mobile device right in the moment.

With required questions and geo-location, you'll know exactly where a submission was sent or question answered, as well as receiving more complete and accurate data every time.

Challenge 5: Communicating Job Updates and New Tasks

It's inevitable that there will be changes and updates that need to be sent to your team after they've headed out for the day.

You could just call and tell them about a new task. But then records of the work they complete will be scribbled down on scrap paper and still need to be rewritten or entered into a computer later. Or they may need to come back to the office to pick up the details.

This is not the most efficient system.

With mobile forms, you can dispatch forms to the team in the field to notify them of a new job or provide updated information. The form can be pre-populated to include key details, such as the address of a job or customer information. This will save your team time and let them easily move on to the next task.

With the right tools and technology, operations managers and field technicians can tackle these challenges and be confident about the work that is being done, ensure greater client satisfaction and improve overall efficiency.


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Topics: Mobile Forms, Going Paperless