Field Service Management Software

How to find the best Field Service Management Software that automates work orders, allocates engineers, and tracks field-based workers to improve your service delivery to customers.

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Whether you’re a field service manager or you head a team of field-based workers, as a senior figure you’re responsible for the effective delivery of your company’s field services.

That includes keeping office-based staff and in-field engineers in constant communication with one another, providing your field engineers with the right data at the right time, and making sure your team of field workers deliver the best possible service to customers. All of which is achievable by implementing the right field service management software (FSM).

By the end of this guide, you’ll gain a detailed insight into your field service responsibilities. Including mapping out current field service activities, highlighting gaps in your team’s delivery of services, and identifying the requirements needed to improve overall efficiency. By gaining this understanding, you can then dive into a marketplace of field service management solutions and find the UK’s best FSM software for your business. Here’s what you can expect:

What-is-field-service-management-software

What is field service management software?

Field service management software provides you with the right tools to improve the management of your field-based workers and enhance the delivery of your business’s field services. Typical FSM software features include engineer scheduling, calendar planning, work order management, parts inventory management, and mobile management. All of which enable field service managers to schedule, track, and analysis their entire field service operations.

By enhancing your in-field processes with a field service management software solution, you’re able to reduce service expenses and costs, improve customer experience levels, and increase technician first-time fix rates. All this, among other benefits such as:

The use of field service management software can have a positive impact on a variety of industries and businesses. From plumbing, electrics, food services, and transportation, to more complex and enterprise services such as utilities infrastructure and manufacturing. All of which can directly benefit from digitalising the process and delivery of their field services. As opposed to using error-prone and out-dated methods such as spreadsheets to manage off-site staff – like a huge 52% of service companies still do.

Field service management software vs. manual field service processes

What are your current field service management processes?

The level of understanding of your current processes has a direct impact on how efficiently you choose and implement field service management software.

Whilst most field service managers have a visual image of their services, we highly recommend mapping out all your field service management processes and responsibilities. To have a greater understanding of the processes you’re responsible for, ask yourself:

To state the obvious, an FSM solution is only going to improve and automate your current field service process. Therefore, if you only have a loose understanding of your current field service processes, it will be difficult to envisage how field service management software is going to enhance your services.

Once you have identified your current field service process, the next step is to outline any gaps or challenges in activities. We recommend that you categorise these gaps into three groups:

1. Logical service management gaps

2. Informational service management gaps

3. Ease of service delivery gaps

Define the field service, workforce, and commercial outcomes you expect field service management software to deliver

Define the field service, workforce, and commercial outcomes you expect field service management software to deliver

Being able to quantify the outcomes that you want from a field service management solution is beneficial for both you and your service teams. For instance, it can help you to:

Most leading field service businesses will set clear goals for their services and in-field workers. For example, if you receive 300 requests per month, your total service management costs will be £400,000. The average service time would be 90 minutes. But, with a field service management system in place, you may set a target to reduce your field service costs to £300,000. You may also want the average service time to come down to 60 minutes.

Setting your goals for field service management software

Field Service Management ParametersCurrent SystemTargets for the new Field Service Management Software
Number of service requests per month300300
Service cost per equipment5.5% of the total equipment cost per annum4 to 4.5% per annum
Equipment Life6 Years7.5 Years
Total service costs£400,000£300,000 to £320,000

As you may very quickly realise, the gaps analysis from the first step cannot just be solved with a new field service management software.

As you have decided to implement a new way of delivering your field services, we strongly recommend using this milestone in your team to understand what type of behavioural changes and team enhancements you need to focus on in order to amplify your service delivery.

Your team is going to exchange information differently with a field service management software. They’re also going to communicate differently with a field service management system.

So, before embarking on any system changes, it is highly recommended that you have clarity on what level of training and coaching your field service team will require. Allowing employees and in-field workers to adapt to working with the new software.

FSM software with mobile features

Identify the key features and capabilities you need from an FSM software tool to meet your field service requirements

All field service management software tools will be packed full of various features and capabilities. But, there may be some features that you want to prioritise above others in order to reach your field service goals. Because of this, it’s useful to have clarity on both the generic and process level features that you want from your new solution.

Ideally, having an understanding of your current field service processes and the gaps you need to rectify should act as a foundation for the features you require. It’s also important to identify what your core requirements are. For example:

Here’re some typical functions that field service managers and businesses require from a field service management tool:

1. Cloud-based service with mobile access for technicians

Typically, cloud-based software refers to data being hosted on an external server that can be public, private, or a hybrid between the two. In this model, you rent the software and the space to hold your service data.

Most businesses opt for cloud-based software due to low upfront costs. This Software as a Service (SaaS) model allows you to access field service data at any time, anywhere, from a mobile device. This is crucial for allowing in-field workers and technicians to access data in real-time when on a job.

Most mobile field service engineers and teams have access to devices such as tablets, mobiles, and laptops. But, whilst the job and work order information is available on mobile devices, getting the balance right between information overload, concise information, and type ability/readability needs to be constantly revisited. Listed below are key parameters that you may want to consider when deciding on the features for your mobile service technicians:

  1. Job access on tablets, mobiles, and laptops

  2. Health and safety checks

  3. Job progress and completion features

  4. Spare parts traceability, return, and shipment

  5. Spare parts traceability, return, and shipment

  6. Job completion reports

As well as a cloud-based software option, other types of field service management tools include:

2. Easily log field service requests

How you log service requests depends on both the nature of your business and your customers. For example, consumer service requests tend to be volume-driven, low-average service costs. With Business-to-Business (B2B) services, the level of information you need to capture in order to plan and schedule field services can be complex.

Here are a few conditions that are likely to help you define your service request features:

  1. Effectively organise service requests logged by customers

  2. Filter jobs logged by condition and time-based parameters

  3. Identify jobs logged due to service level agreements (SLAs)

  4. Identify jobs logged due to condition monitoring

  5. Being able to issue service certificates and reports

3. Planning and scheduling service jobs

Here are a few typical service management conditions that allow you to define your features list:

  1. Jobs planning and scheduling by availability, expertise, and service type

  2. Calendar layout options to review plans and schedule

  3. Calendar options to book technicians based on availability and hourly rates

  4. Incorporating the availability of external technicians

  5. Planning based on spare parts availability

  6. Scheduling parts delivery

  7. Route planning

  8. Fleet management

4. Having visibility and control of your office-based teams

Service coordination, cooperation, audits, and inspections are just some of the key areas that office-based service teams lead. Here are some of the key tasks of office-based service teams that may help you to define your features list:

  1. Accessing service information and technician information

  2. Assigning and reassigning jobs

  3. Ordering spare parts

  4. Calendar scheduling

  5. Billing

  6. Invoicing

  7. Logging calls and service notes

5. Reporting, analytics, and word order management

Leading service teams leverage field service management software by using it as a common repository for their entire team. They set it up to capture and relay data effectively, then use the service data to draw insights and trends. Ultimately making transformational service level decisions on data.

Here are some of the typical areas that may help you to refine your service reporting requirements:

  1. Service incidents and status by each customer

  2. Job completion metrics by each technician

  3. Profitable service jobs

  4. Loss-making service calls

  5. Adherence to service level agreement

  6. Threshold ordering for parts

  7. Spare parts management

  8. Vehicle servicing management

How to shortlist and compare Field Service Management Software based on your budget, industry fit, and expected ROI

Whilst most field service management software looks and feels the same, there are nuances in them that can make a big difference. For example, some systems will prioritise ease of logging service information, while some will focus more on mobile planning and scheduling.

We recommend reviewing the entire field service management software marketplace and shortlist at least five tools that match your core requirements.

Once you have your tools shortlisted, it’s then vital to develop a granular understanding of each system. Ask yourself:

At this point, we recommend cross-referencing the deliverables you want from the tool with the price of the tool (use a budget calculator) and project the return on investment period.

Ideally, you’ll want to reach clear value statements. For example, you know that you can spend up to £23,000 per year on a field service management software because it will save you £38,000 per year and you’ll recover your investment in nine months.

This type of clarified thinking helps to drive confidence and speed of decision making on purchasing and deployment.

How to get buy-in from decision-makers and plan for implementing your chosen field service management software

After you have seen an initial overview of each shortlisted system, you should then arrange an in-depth product demonstration for each field service tool.

It’s highly recommended that you collaborate, communicate, and involve all decision-makers during each product demo. Here are some key points that may help you to evaluate the fit with your requirements:

As mentioned earlier, field service management software is an automation factor to deliver your field service processes. It will amplify good data and well-thought-out processes. But if the data is not accurate and the processes are not well thought out, then it will just be another software tool that acts as a junk data collector.

Implementation, in many ways, is much more important than the solution you choose. A well-implemented, average service software will easily beat a poorly implemented, good service tool.

Top tip when it comes to implementing field service management software

From data import to fields on the screen, we recommend that you have a clear implementation plan and discuss it with each one of your shortlisted vendors. Always factor in 20% contingency for implementation changes, too. Data import, system setup, changes in the system, moving implementing milestones, delivery, trials, and go-live are just some of the variables that may cause delay or change of plan.

What factors should you consider before purchasing a field service management solution

What factors should you consider before purchasing a field service management solution?

Most field service software buyers make the mistake of not speaking with existing customers of their chosen software product. Speaking with a couple of customers is always recommended, as it can give you validation on the product, implementation and support.

Licensing conditions need to be clearly understood. If you are buying a cloud-based software, you are renting the software and the space to hold your data. You’ll want to make sure you know what happens to your service data after you stop paying the rent, or what happens if you decide to switch software at a later stage.

Most UK-based products come with support included in the pricing, yet it might be an idea to cross-check support terms (technically known as a service level agreement) with the selected vendor.

If you are considering an open-source field service management product, you’ll have to have a clear understanding about how you are going to install the product, how you are going to configure it and how you are going to get support.

Experts Guides to Field Service Management Software

How Field Service Engineers Benefit From The Right Software Tools

Discover the impact that a field service engineer has within your business and how field service management software improves efficiency.

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Choosing the Right KPIs to Monitor Your Field Service Workforce

Discover the benefits of using Key Performance Indicators and the KPIs you need to set up for your field service management processes.

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How to Increase First-Time Fix Rate (FTFR) to Boost Field Service Customer Satisfaction

Learn the importance of a high first-time fix rate and how your field service business can achieve the FTFR industry average of 80%.

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How and why IoT is enhancing the efficiency of field services

Learn how the rapid advancements in technology such as the Internet of Things (IoT) are helping businesses to increase profitability, improve customer service, and make significant improvements to their field service operations.

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How Small Businesses Benefit From Field Service Management

You may not be aware, but field service management (FSM) tools are a great investment for not only large companies, such as utility and energy providers, but for small businesses too.

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Field Service Management Software FAQs

What is field service management software?

Field service management software is a tool that provides the features to enable businesses to easily monitor and communicate with their workers in the field. As well as connecting with office-based employees to improve collaboration and workflow efficiency.

Common features found in an FSM solution include scheduling work orders, tracking job statuses, tracking and monitoring labour hours, parts inventory management, invoicing, and mobile management.

Combining these features and deploying effective field service management allows you to eliminate time-consuming manual processes by automating the field service processes of your service technicians.

What is the best field service management software?

Choosing the best field service management software is subjective and depends on the features that you require to improve your field service processes. When choosing a FSM solution, it’s important to remember that what may be the best solution for one organisation, may not necessarily be the best choice for your field service activities.

Factors that you should consider when finding the best field service management software include:

  • Industry fit

  • Number of in-field employees

  • Field services that you provide

  • The type of software you need (cloud-based, on-premise, etc.)

  • Your budget for FSM software

What are the benefits of FSM Software?

By automating your field service processes with FSM software, you’re able to improve efficiency throughout the workplace and maximise productivity. As well as this, other benefits of deploying an effective field service management software include:

  • Quicker invoicing and payment

  • Increasing customer retention

  • Dynamic and instant scheduling of work orders

  • Control travel costs with route optimisation

  • Track and monitor equipment in real-time

  • Monitor stock levels of inventory and spare parts

  • Quicker contact with your workforce

I am a small business owner – is a field service management tool necessary for me?

As a small business with 5-10 in-field service technicians, it’s common to question the need to upgrade your old system to a new one. Although costs may be a factor in your decision, businesses that go ahead and implement a form of field service management software tend to enhance productivity throughout the workplace.

Benefits that a small business can gain with the introduction of a field service tool, include:

  • Gaining an overview of all in-field technicians

    Although you’re only responsible for a handful of technicians in the field, keeping track of them is crucial to making sure work orders are carried out successfully. With a field service management system you’ll be able to monitor your workers remotely. This lets you see data regarding time spent on jobs and how many work orders are performed in the day. As well as tracking employee routes with the use of GPS trackers.

  • Tracking equipment and asset inventory

    There are problems facing the management of inventory across all types of businesses offering field services, no matter what the scale. But, as equipment can be expensive to replace, it’s crucial that smaller businesses with less of a budget should be tracking their valuable assets. By doing so, you’re also able to ensure appropriate maintenance to mission-critical assets and avoid downtime.

  • Collecting data in one centralised and accessible database

    No matter the size of your operations, coordination is key to making sure services are delivered successfully. To ensure this collaboration, the use of a centralised database that can be accessed by both managers and employees is essential. Within this repository of data can be field worker profiles, work order schedules, contact information and asset documentation.

Will a cloud-based field service management system best suit my service delivery?

Choosing a cloud-based field service management tool over other available types, such as on-premise, offers a vast range of benefits for all business sizes. The introduction of cloud-based and web-based software tools has revolutionised how organisations run their operations. And, field service management is no exception.

Here’re just some of the many benefits to choosing a cloud-based field service management system:

    • More manageable costs with a SaaS solution

      A Software as a Service (SaaS) solution is ideal for businesses looking to implement FSM at a reasonable cost. By opting for a cloud-based solution there will be minimal upfront costs. As well as no purchase of expensive infrastructure and no need to rent space to fit an array of servers. Most modern SaaS solutions also offer an easy-to-manage and no-contract payment structure that can be paid in monthly instalments.

    • Real-time information regarding assets and field workers

      You’re able to track and collect data regarding your workers and services in real-time. Data can include worker locations, work order statuses, asset performance and customer history. With this data stored in a cloud-based system, it can be accessible to any business employee at any time from anywhere.