Successful electrical contracting depends on effective planning, scheduling, organizing, and managing of field electricians and subcontractors. Electrical-specific field service management (FSM) software allows electrical contractors to manage these activities seamlessly. Here is how field service software will pay for the investment and make the business future-proof.
1. Effective scheduling
Electrical contractors usually use the Gnatt chart to plan and schedule projects. The Gantt chart breaks down the projects into a series of tasks and organizes these tasks in a timeline. Some tasks may proceed simultaneously, while another task will have to wait until the completion of another task. The field service software enables the logical organization of tasks per the Gnatt chart.
Construction projects are time-sensitive. Delays have a cascading effect and throw the project timelines into disarray. The timely completion of contract work depends on effective scheduling.
Field management software makes assigning work to field electricians and subcontractors easy.
Electrical contractors maintain skills register to detail the certificates and expertise of field staff. When new work comes, the software matches the work order requirements with the field electrician’s functional skills and assigns the work to subcontractors best poised to execute the job.
The software integrates with leave management software and ensures the field electrician does not have any approved time off before assigning work. Also, the scheduler makes sure scheduling takes place during work hours and work days, excluding the pre-set holidays and off times.
Notifications and reminders of fresh work assignments and reassignments make field electricians and subcontractors aware of their work assignments.
A seamless scheduling system ensures time management. Subcontractors notice the time slots to complete the work. The software also provides efficient workflows. Subcontractors may negotiate adjustments upfront, enabling project managers to make changes without disruptions.
Read more: Accelerate Business Productivity with Scheduling & Dispatching Software!
2. Streamlined operations
Electrical field service software streamlines operations.
- Real-time tracking. The software leverages the GPS capabilities of the field electricians’ smartphones to track movements. Real-time monitoring offers customers an accurate ETA of the electricians’ arrival at the work site. To track productivity, supervisors may track the time spent at each work site and match it with baselines.
- Streamlined dispatching. Field electricians can reach their work sites quicker with the mobile app that comes with the field service app. The suite links maps to plot the best routes to the work site. The map collates real-time traffic data to guide the field crew through the fastest and most fuel-efficient route.
- Inventory control. Electrical contractors use several materials, parts, and equipment to complete every job. Scheduling a site visit without the tools and parts needed to complete the job leads to wasted effort. Accessing parts and materials at the right time becomes critical to maintaining project schedules. The electrical field service software syncs inventory levels and inventory usage. Contractors can avoid stock-outs by scheduling new jobs after ensuring the availability of parts. They may also initiate stock reorder when any item goes low.
- Performance evaluation. The field service suite captured detailed operational data. Analysis of such data offers rich insights and sets the stage for performance improvements. Drillable reports provide detailed insights into field electrician performance. For instance, supervisors may identify the technicians who spend many hours driving but take longer to complete their tasks or have the most downtime. They may pay special attention to overcoming the issues.
3. Improved communications
Field service software ensures structured and traceable communications between the field electricians and the back office. A McKinsey study reveals connected employees perform better than those cut off from their supervisors.
Transparent and efficient communication ensures operations stay on track and solutions are on hand when things do not proceed as planned.
The service management software enables
- Structured communications through integrated collaboration channels to keep team members updated on job details and relevant changes. The field service suite centralizes communication and makes retrieval of old communications easy. The team eliminates endless emails and phone calls and the confusion that comes with it. Team members do not have to waste time searching for old messages and can easily trace replies or messages waiting for a response. Overall workload reduces, and productivity improves.
- Field electricians to access job files, product manuals, wiring plans, contract documentation, client requests, and all other information to do their job well. The field service mobile apps offer such information in real-time through intuitive dashboards. An electrical technician who is clueless about what to do is in a lose-lose situation. Indecisiveness annoys the client or customer. The smartphone app with the field service software centralizes information and offers a single point of access to data. The electrician does not have to waste time searching for information. Work gets over faster, allowing contractors to close the project quickly and move on to the next job.
- Remote collaboration. On-field electricians may engage with remote technicians or supervisors through the app and get solutions for complex jobs. The collaboration through the app makes follow-up easy.
- Better customer engagement. Field electricians can address customer queries and even suggest improvements to the plan. Customers do not have to contact customer support. Empowered electricians are more motivated in their job. Such motivated employees rarely leave, reducing the HR turnover costs for the contractor.
4. Audits and inspections
A field management software ensures field electricians and subcontractors complete the assigned tasks perfectly.
The field service software
- Offer readymade forms that guide field electricians through a structured workflow. Field auditors and inspectors get structured forms and checklists that guide them through the audit or inspection process. These forms ensure work execution at the highest quality standards.
- Ensure full traceability for work completed. The software integrates all pieces of the work order. Every stakeholder can track and analyze work orders in real-time, from anywhere.
- Allows field electricians to capture signatures from the site supervisor or project manager directly to their mobile device as proof of work completion.
Read more: Why do Enterprise Audits Fail? How FSM Prevents Audit Failures
5. Back office functions
Electrical field service software automates the contractors’ back-office tasks. A full-fledged suite
- Automates invoicing and payment collection. On completion of work, the field electrician’s app offers provisions to generate an invoice. The backend collates the information needed to create the invoice and emails it to the client. The app also integrates payment collection portals, enabling the client to settle the invoice on the spot. The app syncs the information to payroll, accounting, and CRM databases, saving contractors from a ton of paperwork.
- Takes care of compliance. Electrical contracting work requires adherence to compliance norms and detailed documentation. The field management suite enables field electricians and subcontractors to auto-generate reports in the desired format and email them to pre-set reports. Electronic data gathering improves accuracy and allows adding images and videos to reports. The software auto-populates fields to the extent possible. Range bound form fields further improve accuracy. Eliminating double entry and associated errors improves field technician productivity.
ReachOut Suite is the perfect field service suite for electrical contractors. The suite enables contractors to provide reliable, impeccable service to their clients. The comprehensive all-in-one solution offers the complete-feature list for contractors to run their remote operations seamlessly and take care of back-office tasks. The suite improves productivity and increases the efficiency of electrical contracting jobs. In fieldwork, time is money. State-of-the-art software such as ReachOut allows electrical contractors to become hyper-efficient, complete work faster, and maximize profit.
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Aarathy is a Senior Digital Marketing Analyst at ReachOut Suite. She is majorly into content marketing and focuses on getting the messaging right across a host of marketing collaterals. While not working on content, you can find her juggling SEO, social media, branding and more. She enjoys exploring new frontiers in digital marketing and the associated challenges keep her going.
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