Often confused with facility management, field service management (FSM) is an umbrella term for the various tasks involved in operating a business. To make these efforts more efficient and cost-effective, cloud-based FSM software makes all the difference –– especially when it comes to work order management systems. Learn more about how using FSM software to streamline work orders can benefit businesses, specifically plumbing and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) professionals.
What Is FSM Software?
Field service management is generally used to describe the operational tasks of businesses that perform jobs at a client’s location. For instance, a plumbing or HVAC contractor may carry out preventive maintenance tasks at a residential home or commercial building –– not at the company’s headquarters. The following are some of the most common tasks involved in field service management:
- Contract management: The provisions and expectations of each job will be spelled out in contracts with the client.
- Dispatch management: The dispatching of personnel should be organized and done in a manner that reduces downtime and maximizes productivity.
- Job scheduling: Administrators create work schedules for employees based on the number of service requests and types of work orders, as well as develop anticipated timelines for each project’s completion.
- Inventory management: The use and transfer of supplies and parts must always be monitored, in addition to adjustments, breakdowns, and spare parts, while completing the project.
Each work order contains multiple moving parts, so it’s crucial to have sound FSM practices in place. Every business owner is conscious of their bottom line, which is why far too many forgo investing in FSM software solutions. FSM software can automate and streamline many of these processes, plus provide insights into where financial gaps exist in the company’s operations. However, there are plenty of risks that come along with not having software, from rising operational costs to losses due to administrative errors.
It’s important to note that not all FSM software is created equally. However, there are many common features and functions shared by these platforms, including:
- Automatic tracking for dispatch assignments and project data
- Detailed invoicing and job efficiency reports
- Real-time key performance indicators (KPIs) and financial reporting
- Templates and programs for fast, accurate quote generation
- Tools for membership building and pathing, live customer booking, and cash flow management
Enhancing Workflow Management
There are many outdated, inefficient operational structures in place across various field service industries. Keeping up with today’s competition means having modern solutions in place, which:
- Enable the identification and correction of financial inefficiencies and gaps
- Boost the bottom line while reducing the burden on employees and avoiding additional personnel hires
- Offer a single access point for personnel to access total business solutions from anywhere the job takes them
- Give businesses everything they require to operate efficiently and drive growth
Here’s a closer look at how work order management software can enhance workflow and asset management:
Every job begins with providing the customer with an estimate for the expected cost of services. This estimate should be as accurate as possible for two main reasons: to avoid customer dissatisfaction if the final price is much higher than the initial quote, and to keep financial expectations as realistic as possible, giving companies the full picture of anticipated costs vs. profits.
With FSM software, HVAC, plumbing, and related companies can input metrics about the complexity of the project, anticipated duration, number of technicians needed, and required tools and supplies. The software then steps in to save businesses time and effort, handling tasks like:
- Generating a precise cost estimate
- Drafting professional proposals with user-friendly templates
- Identifying various cost factors (i.e. production time, labor rates, material costs)
- Calculating price margins
- Managing documents, contracts, and signatures
From generating accurate estimates quickly to consulting with other professionals in the field, there are many advantages to choosing FSM software with cloud-based access. Mobile apps should be accessible via Wi-Fi or cell phone data, depending on the job setting. Giving employees a central destination for all pertinent documents and information only helps to streamline operational processes and support an efficient workflow.
For example, with a computerized maintenance management system, everyone at a company, from maintenance staff to stakeholders, stays on the same page about maintenance requests and completed work orders.
Decreased Operational Expenses
Ditching manual cost estimation spreadsheets and record-keeping practices can be more than beneficial for field service businesses. With multiple personnel at various job sites, collecting real-time data with a cloud-based platform is the key to reducing operational expenses like lifecycle labor costs. With FSM software, companies can create cost-efficient workflows and dispatch personnel more efficiently. This is because administrators can plan routes ahead of time, keeping time, fuel costs, and operational efficiency top of mind.
Insights for Maximized Productivity and Resources
FSM software improves communication amongst various teams within an organization, leading to fewer costly errors like duplicate work orders. These solutions also provide insights, which help administrators to maximize production and internal resources. Choose FSM software that can:
- Assist current employees in accomplishing more work order requests, reducing the need to hire additional resources
- Provide automatic dispatching of new work orders by priority level
- Deliver notifications to mobile devices about the work order management process, maintenance schedules, and other pertinent information
- Enable employees to enhance the customer experience via accurate quotes, polished documents, and more
- Empower companies to become energy-efficient and develop a competitive advantage
- Help establish a pricing strategy to comfortably cover costs while increasing profit margin
- Provide data to compare different types of jobs (i.e. corrective maintenance vs. planned maintenance vs. predictive maintenance vs. reactive maintenance)
- Use efficient methods to dispatch team members to job sites
Learn More about Sera’s FSM Software
The right FSM software should automate scheduling, dispatching, invoicing, and other time-consuming tasks, freeing up employees to focus more on the job at hand. Sera is dedicated to providing FSM software that prioritizes workflow optimization, enhances the customer experience, and simplifies many operational tasks, like cost estimating.
Through the convenience of a single, cloud-based interface, Sera’s solutions are built upon the four principles of efficiency in service management. These include time management, margin management, cash flow, and membership management. All areas are critical for enhancing field service management, particularly when it comes to managing a cost-effective workflow and promoting bottom-line growth.
For more information about Sera’s FSM software and work order management tools, schedule a call with Sera today.
Be sure to request a free copy of our price book, which is only available to plumbing and HVAC providers. During your 15-minute discovery call, you can also set up a 45-minute demo to see our solutions in action at your business.