Field Service Software Tools

This article discusses field service software tools in relation to what field service engineers need.

Denise Williams has an extensive background in Field Services, Operations, Sales, and Distribution, and most recently ten years working in Global Field Services Operations for Schneider Electric.
She began her career as a Salesperson for Grainger, then moved to Sales and Branch Management roles with WESCO.
After that, Denise pivoted to the manufacturing side, and managed numerous channel relationships to include Graybar. She then settled into a series of intrapreneurial Operations and Transformation Roles in process and digital tools.
Throughout her career, Denise has worked aside many Engineers and Technicians, and has listened to their needs and issues.

Field Service Software Tools – Listening to the voice of the Field Service Engineer

Denise Williams author of Field Service Software Tools
Denise Williams

A new chapter

Now, Denise has started a new chapter, as leader of RDS (Real Document Solutions).
After many years of working besides Field Technicians and Field Engineers, Denise is now on a journey to provide the best possible digital tools for them.
RDS offers a “revolutionary” SaaS (Software as a Service) order management system. RDS is initially targeting the Real Estate space and continues to pivot into other industries to include Field Services.
The Real Estate industry has a complex series of operations to accomplish an order, much like Field Services.
After many years of working besides Field Technicians and Field Engineers, Denise is now on a journey to provide the best possible digital tools for them.

Denise Williams Safety First, Arc Flash Protection is required
Denise Williams Safety First, Arc Flash Protection is required

The new venture

Why have you started this new venture?

Over half of Technicians and Engineers report that they give feedback on improving their process/tools, yet they don’t see change.
Here are some comments by Field Technicians that demonstrate frustration:
“Uggg, why do I have to do this? “
“My job can be challenging and tricky, I don’t want further issues from the work order software.”
“The last thing I want to do at the end of a day is more reporting before I can make the journey home.”

In your experience what is the cause of this frustration?
The answer could be for many reasons. Here are some that I have heard over the years:
“It’s because my boss says so”
“The digital tool (work order software) requires this data”
“It has always been done this way”

woman engineer inputting data by electrical enclosure
Woman engineer inputting data by electrical enclosure

A work order management system

What makes a good work order management system for Field Engineers?
Well, it depends on who you ask, and the answers are all different.
Ops Managers and Services Team Leaders
They want follow metrics, such as:
First Time Fix Rate (FTFR)
Tech utilization rate
Finance
The Finance Department want:
Cost per Resolution
Profitability
Margin Rate
Purchasing
They want to see:
Cost and Management of Inventory
HR
They want to see a breakdown of:
Workhours
Overtime
Turnover
Sales
The Sales Division wants statistics related to:
Customer Satisfaction
Renewals
Leads
Field Service Engineers
The key things they want are:
Request details
Asset history

The conflict

They all want different answers and information. Who is prioritised?
It depends on a lot of things. However, sometimes, the end user, the FSE is forgotten or at least not prioritised.
Why is it critical that this should not be the case? Why should the FSE be prioritised?
In my opinion the FSEs and Technicians should be prioritised because they are the ones executing the work in field. They need tools designed with their needs first and for successful work order completion. They are the face of the company to the customers.

The explanation

Why is this so hard for companies to change? Are they listening?
It can be hard to change course and direction.
Technician feedback can be valuable, but it can be:
too complicated or costly to integrate into existing systems
not consolidated and validated for the greater voice
inadequate with poor feedback loops
too late to be actionable

engineer inputting data after service call and using Field Service Software Tools
Engineer inputting data after service call

CRM/ERP

Can systems and workflows start from CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) tools?
Often systems and workflows start from the CRM or ERP Tools, but Field Services is its own ‘animal’.
“Using a wrench for the job of a hammer is never a good idea.”
Using tools originally designed for a different purpose is limiting.

The future and the challenge for Field Service Software Tools

If you are a FSE or Team Leader or Manager, what is your answer to the following questions?
What do you want to have in a Work Order that you don’t have today?
How can the Work Order be enriched, so you have everything you need at your fingertips?
What sort of interface would be ideal?
What is not ideal?
How can the process of reporting be made painless and enjoyable?

If you would like to contribute to this discussion within the community join our The Field Engineer Group -Field Service Software. You will need to be a member to join the discussion, you can join here,

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