Without a doubt, job management is one of the most important functions of a field service operation. It is a dynamic cycle that allows field service managers and back-office staff to monitor and control jobs, tasks, and workers. Making it essential for businesses to have a fully functional and flowing job management process.
But, with so many moving parts, job management can be overwhelming. Especially if you’re using outdated management systems or manual tracking methods such as spreadsheets and whiteboards. That’s where a digital job management system can help.
Applications, such as Field Service Management Software, are used by 48% of all field service organisations. With that number rising year on year. They provide companies with the right features, technology, and automation to help reduce the failings of a manual system. In particular, job management.
Find the Best Field Service Management Software to Achieve Good Job Management
What Type of Field Jobs Do You Do?
Warnings Signs That Your Job Management is Failing
As any field and project manager will know, job management is essential for making sure operations run smoothly. That includes handling customer requests, sending quotes, drafting estimates, and scheduling technicians. As well as handling inventory, invoicing, and reporting tasks.
Having a good handle on job management allows field service operations to flourish. But, without a focused approach, inefficient job management can prompt various challenges. Such as being inundated with client requests and experiencing delays in service delivery. Crucially, these factors have a negative impact on the way jobs, tasks, and workers are managed.
Although smaller operations can make do with a manual approach – 52% of field service businesses still use manual management methods – there are notable warning signs that can indicate this approach is failing.
1. Losing Track of Field Workers and Equipment
The key to managing a mobile workforce is to always have eyes on your workers. That means knowing what jobs they’ve come from, what jobs they’re going to, and when they’re travelling to or from the office. This is achieved with real-time geographical data.
Without any form of visibility, you’ll start to see cracks appear in your job management tasks. For starters, it’ll become harder to assign and schedule technicians best suited to a particular job. This has a knock-on effect that results in poor customer service.
You’ll also experience delays when it comes to job completions. Not knowing where your workers are positioned means jobs aren’t necessarily assigned to the technician nearest to the next job.
Another area that will suffer from the lack of real-time visibility is your inventory management. Inventory, such as tools and equipment, is needed to complete jobs. If it’s not available at the time a worker is scheduled, jobs are delayed and pushed back.
2. Lack of Communication With Workers and Customers
An issue that is common among manual-based field service operations is a lack of communication. Communication is key to successful job management. It allows everyone to be on the same page and provides transparency when it comes to completing the job cycle.
A lack of communication poses several challenges. For instance, you might be relying on email for activities such as work order updates, job status, and providing job information. You might also be using email for assigning and scheduling workers in the field.
Communication through email can be risky for field service operations. Emails can go unnoticed and unanswered, whilst key job and client information can be lost. Many field service managers will see technicians being double-booked or not showing up because they haven’t received job details in time.
Lack of good communication doesn’t just affect technicians and office staff, but customers too. In an ‘on-demand’ environment, customers want real-time updates regarding jobs. Without this, you’ll see an increase in customer interactions. Manually updating customers with a job’s progress is time-consuming and can lead to worrying customer satisfaction levels.
3. Poor Time Management
If you’re spending too much time on particular areas of the job cycle, your job management needs to improve. When tasks such as assigning jobs, collecting payment, and tracking technicians become too time-consuming, it’s a telltale sign that manual methods aren’t working.
Poor time management filters down into all aspects of the field service operation. Whether that be office staff sending quotes, workers travelling to jobs, or customers missing payment deadlines.
What Does Good Job Management Look Like?
When analysing your activities, it’s important not to lose sight of what a good job management cycle looks like. Having a more efficient and streamlined approach lets you:
- Analyse job performance data
- Improve customer experience and first-time fix rates
- Track work order and job progression
- Optimise field worker scheduling
Utilising tools like automated field service management and job management software allows businesses to have a more comprehensive view of their job cycle. This enables you to gain a competitive edge in the field. As well as provide the platform for operations to scale and generate more revenue.
Having a good job management system provides serval benefits for field service companies, including:
Streamlining Task, Worker, and Job Management
With a job management system, data such as customer details, job information, and technician schedules are rolled into one system. This eliminates the need to search for documents or find relevant spreadsheets. Instead, information is kept together.
This allows for faster interaction with customers when it comes to sending quotes and acknowledging requests. As well as seamlessly assigning jobs and scheduling field workers.
Keeping Up With Customer Requests
If back-office staff are inundated with requests, they risk creating a bottleneck. Especially if they’re using spreadsheets for managing jobs.
Job management systems enable requests to be stored and categorised in one place. Whether that be repair requests, maintenance, installations, or services. This gives you the time to organise requests and for more jobs to be planned.
When it comes to managing jobs in the field service sector, there is a phrase commonly uttered; work smarter, not harder. A job management system is the epitome of this mantra. It allows for more processes in the job management cycle to be completed with less effort. Ultimately reducing time spent on planning jobs, scheduling workers, and tracking payments.
Job management tools provide online forms and mobile device access. Limiting the reliance on paperwork. They also allow field service managers to effortlessly digitise industry-standard forms. As well as build templates with customised mobile fields. This gives field workers access to job and client information when in the field. Instead of travelling back to the office to collect paperwork regarding a job’s details.
What Are the Stages of a Successful Job Management Cycle?
Your job cycle will consist of multiple activities. Each one should be seen as an area that has a direct impact on the entire process. This makes it a more cohesive system as opposed to a system of individual moving parts or a single task.
Seeing the process as one system allows you to achieve your goals quicker and with more efficiency.
When initially identifying improvements to job management, it’s important to define your job cycle. Each process within a cycle can be different, depending on service type and company size. Typically, a field service operation will consist of processes such as:
- Client Requests: Incoming repair, maintenance, installation, or service requests from customers.
- Quotes and Estimates: Building an estimate for a job and sending quotes to customers.
- Plan and Assign Jobs: Create a detailed job sheet and assign the right field worker based on availability.
- Schedule Field Workers: Use shared calendars for scheduling jobs and technicians based on skills, location, and inventory.
- Job and Customer Details: Actively make job and customer details available to scheduled field workers.
- Purchase and Manage Inventory: Ensure the correct parts are available for jobs and inventory is readily purchased in advance.
- Track Job Status: Track a mobile workforce, work orders, and job progression in real-time.
- Invoicing and Payment: Create invoices and send requests of payment to customers.
- Reporting and Analysis: Consider the job process and report on areas that can be improved.
Use Our Field Service Management Software Finder to Identify the Best Tool For You
What Type of Field Jobs Do You Do?
How Digital Tools Can Enhance Your Job, Task, and Worker Management
Using automated job management tools can go a long way to help improve how a business handles its job management processes. Software applications provide common features to enhance all processes of a field service operation. Features that are geared towards job management include:
A Centralised Dashboard for Storing Data
As opposed to having job details and asset information scattered throughout the workplace in the form of excel spreadsheets, service management systems provide a central place to store all operational data.
Essentially, this allows you to create an optimised asset register that sits alongside customer and job details. Within this centralised dashboard, information includes:
- Technician skills
- Work history
- Customer information
- Site locations
- Paid invoices
- On-going work orders
- Inventory levels
Having data in one place allows for faster and more accurate decision-making. It can also be accessed from anywhere on mobile devices. Meaning office staff and field workers have access to the same information, which helps to close communication gaps.
Real-Time Worker & Equipment Tracking
Technology is a crucial part of automated field service systems. Tools such as GPS trackers are used in sync with job management. This provides office staff and service managers with the exact location of workers and third-party contractors. Helping to increase real-time visibility. In relation to the job cycle, this allows them to assign jobs to workers that are closest to the location of the next job.
As well as knowing the whereabouts of technicians, back-office staff can also use real-time asset tracking tools to manage stock and inventory levels. This helps to speed up the purchasing process for spare parts. As well as ensuring technicians are equipped with the right tools and equipment for jobs.
Automating job scheduling helps eliminate risks that impact the delivery of service to clients. It takes into account various information such as technician skill level and job location to schedule jobs and workers.
Ultimately, the ability to automate and improve your assigning and scheduling tasks go a long way to enhancing job management as a whole. It helps to reduce delays, double-bookings, and missed work orders. Whilst also encouraging better first-time fix rates to help improve the overall customer experience.
There’s nothing more rewarding for a business than financial peace of mind, which is delivered with the use of digital billing and invoicing tools. These tools help eliminate the need to chase overdue payments, as well as reduce time-consuming methods such as batch invoicing.
Automated invoicing tools also allow technicians to generate invoices in the field with a mobile device. Enabling them to present clients with an invoice when a job is complete and collect a digital signature. Allowing for payment to be taken on-site, instead of waiting for email confirmation or cheques to clear. You’re then presented with a clear indication of a payment’s status, such as:
- Invoice sent
- Awaiting payment
- Payment overdue
- Invoice paid
Payment for the job can also be taken in different forms. Including bank transfer, PayPal transfer, and credit card. This helps to speed up the payment process. Freeing-up office staff from chasing payments and emailing clients.
Reporting and Analytics
Producing reports and analysing data is an important step in the job management cycle. It typically comes at the end of the process, once a job is completed and payment has been received. Detailed reporting allows you to identify factors such as:
- Time spent on travel and job sites
- Job costs
- Job progress and job completion success
- Time of response to customer requests
These reports go a long way to ensuring you’re getting the best possible performance from your job management processes.