Working from an accurate and detailed work order can mean the difference between delivering a good customer experience and a bad one. A work order is significant for kick-starting your field service operations, but it has to be created in such a time-efficient and simple manner that benefits both your field staff and customers. If they’re not, jobs can experience delays and customer satisfaction levels can drop.
The most effective way to ensure good job management is by digitising your field service tasks. With Field Service Management Software, your entire work order process is automated and digitised. This allows for the creation, completion, and reporting of jobs to be instantly and easily managed in one system.
What Is a Work Order?
A work order is a document that details all information about the job that needs to be carried out for a customer or a client. It includes the worker that has been assigned, the desired outcome of the work, and the client’s information.
The reason a work order is raised is to ensure that field staff have access to the right information regarding the job. Whether that be an installation, repair, inspection, or routine maintenance task. Work orders ensure that maintenance teams, technicians, and office staff are privy to the same details.
Although similar to a job sheet, a field service work order document will outline the processes needed to take in order to complete the tasks. Whereas a job sheet provides field staff with a complete overview of the work that has been agreed upon.
The Process of a Typical Field Service Work Order
When it comes to documenting a work order for your field staff, the level of accuracy and detail in the information is key. This is just one reason why digital systems are on the rise in the field service sector. As opposed to favouring paper-based methods, which can be tough to manage, resulting in delays and a bad customer experience.
A work order management tool will provide the capabilities to access documents on mobile devices from anywhere at any time. Allowing for work to be streamlined and more jobs to be completed.
Essentially, each work order has a life cycle. This life cycle represents the stages at which a work order is identified and documented. A typical work order lifecycle can be broken down into 5 stages:
- Identified and created
- Scheduled and planned for
- Workers are assigned and dispatched
- The service is performed and completed
- The work is approved and signed off
Why It’s Important to Track & Monitor Your Work Order Lifecycle
Similar to the job management cycle, a work order lifecycle stems from job creation and scheduling, eventually finishing with invoicing and reporting. Digital work order tools allow you to track and manage all job data in one place. Meaning there’s no need to rely on paper-based systems, whiteboards, spreadsheets, or emails. Instead, all job information is accessible to staff from one centralised dashboard.
Having one central system to store management data has several benefits, such as instantly sending job information to engineers in the field via a cloud-based app. As opposed to meeting them on-site at an office or emailing to a shared inbox. Other benefits of digitising the work order lifecycle include:
Dispatching the Right Engineer
Whether a recurring job or a newly assigned one, sending the right engineer that is qualified for the job is key. This comes down to technician skills, location, and experience. With a digital system in place, this is a decision that can be made easily, instantly, and automatically. You can see real-time location data and the skill sets of workers, which helps to match the right engineer to the right job. By doing so, workers are more likely to achieve a first-time fix.
Using a Work Order Mobile App
Mobile technology has maximised the output of service delivery in recent years. By equipping mobile workforces with mobiles, field workers have all the data they need to complete a job. By using a dedicated app, field workers can:
- Access customer and job details
- Create invoices and take payment from customers
- Access spare parts and inventory data
- Complete digital job sheets on the go
- Raise new quotes and work orders in the field
Creating Reusable Templates
With a dedicated service management tool, you’re able to create reusable work order templates. In just a few clicks, a pre-defined and professional-looking template can be generated. Allowing an engineer to have all the information they need when attending to a job. Templates typically include:
- Deadline and SLAs
- Time taken
- Customer details
3 Benefits of Using a Work Order System for Your Field Tasks
1. Automate Preventative Maintenance Work Orders
Both predictive and preventative maintenance tasks are common in the field service sector. Regular maintenance is carried out to avoid unplanned downtime and large repair costs. But, as important as recurring maintenance tasks are, they can still be forgotten about. Especially when using paper-based or manual methods.
A digital work order tool, however, ensures preventive maintenance tasks are kept scheduled. It makes sure that recurring jobs are scheduled on a monthly or yearly basis. Whilst also ensuring that the right inventory and spare parts are available on the day. As well as having all tasks attached to the job, such as checklists and SLAs.
2. Receive Real-Time Work Order Updates
Using a dedicated mobile system, you’re able to receive real-time work order updates. These updates display various data that is input by engineers working at a job. This allows you to have complete visibility of each job. Whilst also alerting you to any job that is delayed, giving you prior notice to warn clients.
Typical delays to work orders include engineer unavailability and missing equipment. But, these are two factors that can be avoided with the use of a real-time management system. Engineers can ensure spare parts and equipment is in stock with live inventory management.
By using IoT-enabled devices, such as GPS trackers, you can also track workers in real-time. This helps to ensure that the right engineer is dispatched to the right job. By making sure they can reach the job site in the right amount of time. This is also data that you can provide to customers, so they can track the work order lifecycle. Helping to improve customer satisfaction (CSAT) and first-time fix rates. Service providers that hit 90% CSAT scores can increase their revenue margins by 30%.
3. Create Job and Engineer Performance Reports
To keep on top of and improve your work order management, you need data. Job data includes reports such as engineer performances and job completion rates. All of which are intended to help boost the overall delivery of services to clients. Data can be collected on each job, as well as each engineer and technician. With the right data, you can generate reports on a field worker’s performance. These consider factors such as:
- Time-to-completion rates
- First-time fix rate
- Customer satisfaction scores
- KPIs targets
Each report lets you know the current state of your field service operations. This enables you to set targets and track performance. All in a bid to improve and maximise your work order output.