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Effective field service software can improve your fire safety productivity

Technicians are expensive resources. By identifying and addressing key areas of inefficiency within your resources, you can maximize your investment and productivity. Manual processes, hard-to-understand spreadsheets, paper-based schedules and inefficient technician scheduling are just a few ways that your business loses out on productivity. Field service software assists you with this task in the following seven key areas. In this article, we’ll be looking at how effective field service software can give you the edge in your fire safety business.

Compliance, compliance, compliance

For anyone involved in fire safety and essential services, improved compliance is near the top of the list. Depending on your jurisdiction, there may still be the requirement to leave a paper copy of an inspection job on site. This comes with a number of challenges – for one, a paper copy can easily be consumed in a fire should there ever be one! This makes it very difficult for fire engineers to ascertain the level of compliance of assets prior to the event. The benefit of good field service software is that it allows you to either complete the inspection process in full electronically, or if there is still the requirement to leave a paper copy, the app empowers you to take a photo of the compliance sheet, and attach that to your job automatically. By doing this, the evidence associated with the compliance won’t be lost in the case of a fire.

One of the other challenges is that it’s difficult to know whether the technician has really completed the aspect inspection process properly to the required standard, or has just signed the piece of paper without completing the work. We’ve found instances with our clients where we’ve discovered situations where technicians were not completing inspections to the required standard in larger buildings since there hadn’t been room on the existing paper copies! The legality of this can vary by region, though in this case, by moving to system that guaranteed that each asset was inspected at the right time to the appropriate standard, we were able to help remove that risk from the business.

Improve job scheduling.

Improve job scheduling.

Better job scheduling

How much time do your technicians spend traveling between jobs? They could end up losing 40 percent of their working hours due to inefficient job scheduling. Job management software helps you create an efficient job schedule that maximizes the time technicians spend working. You can group their job assignments so they handle all the work at a particular client site rather than having multiple technicians with similar skills attend the same site.

When your technicians have their complete schedule in front of them through an easy-to-use mobile app, they don’t need to call the office for their job assignments for the day, as they can simply look at their smartphone. One of the advantages of field service software, is that if provides offline access for any low or no signal areas that the technicians may encounter. They also have access to all the job details without having to use a paper work order. In addition, the mobile app leverages the navigation features of the smartphone so that the technician can use the most efficient path to get to the client site.

Technician time tracking

Do you know where your technicians are spending their time? When you track time through manual spreadsheets or on paper, you end up with a substantial administrative overhead and inaccurate reporting, not to mention time sheets that often have gaps in entries. By streamlining the time tracking for technicians, you’ll be able to see the technician’s travel and job times, and schedule jobs around their personal and sick leave. This means that you can clearly identify excessive travel times, and inefficient use of technician resources to help improve your business. Tie these metrics into your business reporting so you can understand your own inefficiencies.

From a technician’s perspective, they don’t want to sit down after a job and write everything from the materials they use to the time spent on each task. A good mobile app speeds up this process by turning a formerly time-consuming task into something accomplished with a few taps on the smartphone. Material tracking and billing undergo a similar process, so your business can accurately evaluate your expenses and profitability for each job.

Drive stringent compliance with electronic checklists.

Drive stringent compliance with electronic checklists.

Improved job management

Are you struggling with tech visibility when they’re out in the field? Do you have a separate GPS tracking system from your Job Management System? Implement job management software that combines visual job scheduling, geolocation, timesheets and powerful business reporting in a single platform. You know exactly what’s going on without spending long hours poring over reports.

By combining GPS tracking, drag-and-drop scheduling, automated time and materials logging via mobile app and the power of a flexible CRM with powerful reporting, you’ll be able to attain this goal. The power of visual job scheduling quickly becomes obvious when you need to coordinate multiple technician schedules or account for a technician who has to call out of work at the last minute. With a manual system, these situations are nightmares that involve a significant amount of double handling. When you put powerful field service software in place, your software can provide you with all of the information you require instantly and you’ll be able to handle everything with a few clicks.

Geolocation services work through the technician’s smartphone, so you don’t need to invest in expensive equipment for your fleet (though if you prefer dedicated GPS hardware, this option is still available). Everything you need is already there, and you get updates in real-time. Clients can receive accurate updates so they know the exact time to expect a field technician, rather than relying on a verbal estimates. The CRM functionality puts technician and client information right in front of you for quick reference. You don’t need to leave your field service management software to access customer phone numbers and other important data as it’s immediately available within your app. When you get to the essentials quickly, you can use your newly freed up time for other duties.

Create job security with happier customers

Driving efficiency isn’t about wielding a large stick. Instead, you’re creating job security for your team in a changing global environment. Your technicians get the resources and support they need to do their jobs better, which increases satisfaction and engagement. The clients receive a better overall experience, so they’re more likely to continue doing business with you. Your company achieves a sustainable growth strategy that brings success to everyone involved. The current global environment is tough with businesses looking to drive down costs – provide job security by ensuring that your business can compete in that environment.

Improve time tracking.

Improve time tracking.

Improve your business through visibility & reporting

There’s a common saying in business – if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. That statement is equally true of anyone operating in the fire safety business, whether it’s measuring and improving your technician utilisation rate, analysing your costs to service customers vs your revenue, or analysing upcoming projects so that you can allocate resources correctly.

One of the elements that a good field service software system will give you is reporting – whether it’s built in reporting, or integration with business intelligence for advanced reporting (click to drill down, slice and dice information), the key is that you need to be able to report and analyze. At Fieldmagic, we offer both – a built in drag and drop reporting and dashboard system, as well as out of the box integration with leading business intelligence tools such as Microsoft PowerBI. It’s also critical that you can capture all aspects of your business in one location for reporting – sales, service, technician management, financials, and field service software empowers businesses to analyse every part of their business.

Create an exceptional customer experience and free up resources

One of the most time consuming aspect of any fire safety business that can consume endless resources is providing compliance reports to customers. While field service software allows you to instantly provide asset compliance reports to your customers, Fieldmagic provides a customer portal. The benefit of this is twofold – it frees up your back office resources to focus more on managing technicians, and areas such as customer service or business development, and second, it empowers customers to access their own compliance history, drill down on job and compliance information for each asset, review and approve quotes, and pay invoices online.

From the point of view of the customer, this provides the customer with the choice to liaise with someone in your organisation, or access the data themselves, which is often preferable for organisations that have a lot of assets to manage. Finally, this gives you as an organisation a strategic advantage over your competitors that aren’t able to provide this level of ease of access to their customers. This can be a valuable tool the next time your largest customer goes out to tender.

For more information, go to www.fieldmagic.co

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Glenn Richmond is the founder and CEO of CRM Online Australia Pty Ltd, the creator of Fieldmagic. Glenn has been working with organisations in Australia to help improve organisational efficiency and drive growth for over 11 years, and has been working with fire services organisations for the past 5 years.