ReachOut’s Contractor Management Software Enables Utilities to Drive Competitive Advantage. Here’s how!

Utility companies have their task cut out to manage remote teams. Coordinating the scores of field technicians using an Excel file is a blueprint for disaster. Many technicians are not even direct employees but contractors and subcontractors.

Managing contractors and technicians in utilities: Key pain point

The single biggest issue that affects the utility companies is the poor traceability of field technicians on the job. Managers and supervisors often find it hard to assess the work’s extent or the stage of work completion. The dispersed operational area of utility companies makes close supervision unviable. The uncertain and sometimes hostile work environment increases the lack of real-time visibility. 
A related issue is the inability to maintain accurate records. Updates to the company’s information depository depend on the field technician. The technician, stressed for the time, may fail to upload critical information. Things may slip from his mind. Or he may make mistakes when transmitting handwritten notes to the company system.
ReachOut’s contractor management software is an effective antidote to such issues. The software ensures transparency and traceability of data and also protects the data. The contractor scheduling software, delivered through smartphone apps, restricts access to data on a need basis. A clear path of data flow makes attribution and fixing responsibility easy. Your field agents and supervisors can generate custom reports using ReachOut that help track your work order statuses aptly. 
Read more: Top 3 Field Service Pain Points Addressed by ReachOut Service Management Software  

Service Management Software

How ReachOut’s contractor scheduling software solves the traceability challenge 

1. Unified view for full traceability of work

A unified view of operations ensures that your utility project stays on track and repairs get done without mistakes or delays.
ReachOut contractor management software offers integrated dashboards with unified views. The possibilities on offer include:

  • Complete visibility: Your field service managers get updates on real-time work status from different locations. They get up-to-date information on the exact work status. They may compare project timelines and deliverable schedules to the actual stage of a job. The insights enable your managers and supervisors to take prompt actions to remove the lag. They may also benchmark best practices from high-performance teams.
  • Pace work: Utility companies grapple with several upstream and downstream activities. The integrated dashboards with unified views enable your managers to sync work. They can pace work to avoid hold-ups owing to delays in upstream work. They can likewise plan downstream activities depending on the progress of upstream work. Such seamless sync reduces downtime, agent idling, and wastage of resources.
  • Enforcement of standardized processes: Many of your subcontractors are still working with Excel sheets and paper-based systems. Integrating information from such disparate and archaic sources is a nightmare. ReachOut’s contractor management software enables your contractors to enforce standardized, software-based processes. Our app channels your technicians and contractors to a unified method and ensures consistent quality of service.
  • Fix accountability: Accountability depends on pinpointing who did what process. ReachOut’s contractor management software makes it easy for your field admins or service managers to assign open jobs to technicians and track their progress.

2. Pipeline view to track job status

ReachOut contractor management software offers a pipeline view of your field operations.
Integrating the contractor management software with your existing enterprise systems eases the data flow. It also ends data silos and spares all the accompanying complexities. ReachOut avoids the need to re-enter information and improve accuracy. ReachOut automatically pulls in data from your accounts, CRM, ERP, and other enterprise systems to improve your analytics. It offers more information to your customer support team and equips your field agents to do their job better.
One of our clients, Clayton Barrows, tells us that his team at Idaho Backflow saves two hours of work per day as ReachOut helps him auto-populate information into custom reports. Clayton says that auto-populating information into the reports was a game-changer. 
Case Study: How did ReachOut change the whole game for Idaho Backflow, a popular backflow testing business in the region of Idaho? Click here to read
Here’s how ReachOut’s pipeline view helps you:

  • Ease pain points: A pipeline view of your field service orders will highlight the challenges that impede your work’s progress. ReachOut allows your service managers to make timely interventions and ensure good customer service. For instance, you can identify if you need more new hires to manage the peak season, whether your technicians need training or if you have any unattended work orders. If an issue remains unresolved, you could intervene. Consider a situation where the unavailability of a component or a spare holds up the job. Your manager could bypass your regular suppliers and source the spare through alternative ways to get the job done quickly.
  • Manage technicians better: Managers and supervisors get an easy visualized option to organize and manage field technicians. The interface displays each work order. It tracks and shows all the scheduled, ongoing, and completed tasks. As the field progresses on a particular job, the system updates the status. Each work order becomes a part of a more comprehensive project. The stakes of each task in project completion, or the criticality of a repair job, become explicit.
  • Honoring commitments: Utility service contracts often have time clauses. For example, telecom operators commit to serving business customers within two hours. A pipeline view makes it easy to follow such time limits of service. Managers may make timely interventions in case of delays.
  • Easy scale-up: Managing thousands of field agents becomes as effortless as managing a few agents.
  • Better planning: Pipeline views offer greater visibility of technician utilization rates and operational flow. Managers may estimate peak and lean data. They can plan routine maintenance tasks during the off-season.

3. Detailed reporting

Detailed reporting capabilities extend the possibilities open for the user. It facilitates a seamless flow of information among stakeholders to keep everyone updated and on the same page.

  • Access relevant information quickly: Flexible reports, drilled down to detailed metrics, enable stakeholders to access relevant information. Business planners and strategists can use historical data to make intelligent forecasts. Managers and supervisors can drill down the reports to assess the productivity of their workforce. Your field agents can generate daily work reports, which spares them the chore of compiling manual reports.
  • Make strategic interventions: Reports on the extent of compliance to laid-down quality metrics enable follow-up action. Sometimes, ground realities force your business to postpone some of the work orders. Using ReachOut’s reporting feature, you can track what has gone wrong concerning factors such as lack of skilled workers, inadequate equipment or machinery, a supplier failing to deliver spare parts, etc. When you track your end-to-end operations through ReachOut, you can make strategic interventions when required. 
  • Compliance and audits: Automated reports make filing statutory compliance and audit reports easy. ReachOut provides options to filter by agents, date, and other custom filters that make it easy to generate highly customized reports.

Read more: How ReachOut Audit Software Helps Manage Audits and Inspections Like a Dream 

Audit Software

4. Intuitive scheduler

Utility companies always have to be on their toes to attend to service requests. They also have to ensure the time-bound completion of projects. Even the slightest delays cause extensive damage. The damage extends far beyond the immediate inconvenience to the customer. It causes extensive collateral damage as the execution of many other works depends on the functioning of the utilities. For instance, extended power failure may lead to critical machinery shutting down.
ReachOut’s contractor scheduling software eases the complex task of field worker scheduling. It comes with dynamic scheduling capabilities that:

  • Optimizes technician assignments: The dynamic scheduler Identifies the open work orders and assigns the best technician for the task. The scheduler considers factors such as the technician’s location from the worksite to minimize travel. ReachOut’s Advanced Work Order feature allows you to add multiple field agents to a job and configure individual tasks for each one. When there is a change in the schedule, ReachOut helps replan the routes for your field agents. It will improve your technicians’ on-time arrival rates and productivity. 

Read more: ReachOut’s advanced route optimization capability
route optimization

  • Improves technician productivity: ReachOut’s dynamic scheduler ensures that your technicians remain energetic and productive at work. Since the time-offs are captured on ReachOut’s scheduling dashboard, the dispatcher can schedule only available field agents to process work orders. They can also edit or delete time-off requests from the field agent’s calendar. 
  •  Enable optimal asset utilization: ReachOut’s contractor scheduling software enables optimal utilization of field technicians. It ensures that your technicians spend more time doing their work. When your technicians have the required data in hand, they can complete their jobs promptly and take up more work orders. It will reduce customer wait-time and prevent your contractors from failing to honor their commitments. The spin-off benefits include improved workforce morale and better customer satisfaction.

5. Field companion app

A field companion app helps field technicians connect to their office. ReachOut’s field companion app enables technicians to access real-time information and execute their job better.
Using a field service app, your field technicians can:

  • Access work orders: Technicians and contractors can get the details related to your clients and job nature. They may also refer to the app for the best route to reach the client premises. ReachOut’s route optimization allows your field agents to take the shortest, cost-effective route and deliver service on time.
  • Get extra information about the client and the nature of the job: ReachOut’s contractor management software pulls in data from CRM, accounts, ERP, and other enterprise software. When field technicians have information on customer preferences and service history, they can do their jobs better.

Read more: Integrate QuickBooks and Xero with ReachOut to Streamline Field Service Accounting
Field Service Accounting

  • Access the company knowledge repository: Field technicians can access product manuals, how-to instructions, drawings, troubleshooting tips, and more on ReachOut. Such resources guide novice field technicians and subcontractors to execute the job well.
  • Download inspection forms: Field technicians can use their ReachOut app to download the suitable inspection forms required for their site or plant audits. The inspection or audit form, available on their smartphones or tablets, allows a technician to collect data electronically. Automated inspections speed up your job, improve accuracy, and ensure compliance.

Read more: Top 10 Digital Inspection Forms From ReachOut to Supercharge Your Business
inspection forms  

  • Automated invoicing: Field technicians use their app to generate automated invoices and collect the money electronically. Learn more about creating simple and quick invoices using ReachOut. 
  • Get notifications: Smartphone app makes it easy for technicians to Identify the next port of call after completing a task. The app also issues push notifications, providing timely reminders on upcoming schedules.

ReachOut’s GPS-enabled field companion app makes it easy to identify the location of your technician. Location tracking helps you coordinate with your onsite technician, especially when you have promised a deadline to your client. You can also reassign a technician in case of an unexpected situation to ensure no delay from your end. Your client is notified about the schedule or technician change through the “Uber-like” ReachOut app.
ReachOut’s contractor management software connects all the stakeholders of a field service ecosystem. It offers a robust way for contractors, subcontractors, field technicians, and customers to engage. It facilitates real-time updates and information transfer which enhance the quality of service. A good contractor scheduling software brings order to an otherwise chaotic and stressful operational environment, and ReachOut is your ideal choice. 
Sign up for ReachOut today and start managing your technicians, contractors, and work schedules without any stress.

Digitize your field service operations from scheduling to invoicing with ReachOut. Connect your technicians with the companion mobile app to execute jobs and reduce paperwork in the field. Try ReachOut now and give your customers the fast and quality service they deserve.

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Ashmitha Chatterjee

Ashmitha works with ReachOut Suite as a creative writer. She collaborates with the Digital Marketing team to deliver engaging, informative, and SEO friendly business collaterals. Being passionate about writing, Ashmitha frequently engages in blogging and creating fiction. Besides writing, Ashmitha indulges in exploring effective content marketing strategies.

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