Field service is booming. The global market for field service business will grow from USD 3.2 billion in 2021 to USD 5.7 billion by 2026, with a CAGR of 11.9%. Most field service businesses deploy maintenance management software to cope with increasing digitization. But deploying maintenance management software is now always a cakewalk. The software may come with big-time disruption and all the pangs of change. The effects of improper implementation linger and sap the vitality of the enterprises. Here are six pointers to get started with maintenance management software.
Using maintenance management software ensures the right technician services the right equipment. But this is not always a given. The scheduling powers of the software are only as good as the data fed into it.
The first prerequisite is to list out the technicians available to do different jobs. But not all technicians may be equal. Some may be pros, others novices. Others may have niche skills or experience in servicing specific equipment.
ReachOut field maintenance management software allows the field service business to set up a skills database. The database records the skills and experience of each field technician. The scheduler may match the work order requirements with the technicians having the skills or experience.
The skills database increases the first-time fix rates. Novice technicians may get basic service or fixes done. But they get stuck when they encounter complex issues. They end up scheduling a revisit which dampens customer satisfaction. Making a realistic promise, even if it means delayed resolution, is always better than promising a fast fix and not delivering. Also, with a skills database, the field service business may send pros to premium customers.
For a field service business, equipment and tools of the trade are just as important as field agents.
List the equipment and tools. Then group it into different types. For example, an HVAC service firm would have compressors, sewage pumps, forklifts, and other tools.
Next, define the maintenance tasks undertaken which include routine, planned, and emergency tasks. Identify the equipment needed and the technician skill-sets for each task.
Tracking the maintenance equipment makes it easy to assign work orders accurately. For instance, if a new work order needs a forklift, and the forklift is engaged somewhere, the work order might have to wait a day or two for resolution. The scheduler may dispatch the maintenance crew to fulfill simple routine maintenance in the meantime.
A maintenance management software does not work well in isolation. It needs inputs from other systems such as inventory, finance, human resources, and more. For instance, scheduling goes haywire without correct data on technician availability. Linkage to the Human Resource Information System makes explicit the leaves applied for and approved. The scheduler does not end up assigning work to a technician on leave. Likewise, integration with a live map app enables dispatching technicians through the best routes.
Enterprise data lies in many disparate databases. Some valuable databases may live in silos. The challenge is to connect all relevant data to the maintenance management software and ensure the free flow of data.
ReachOut offers an integrated maintenance management software. The suite offers APIs to connect third-party applications. APIs ensure the free flow of data across the connected apps. As a result, key processes such as billing, invoicing, quotes, and more become seamless.
ReachOut comes with ready integrations to accounting software such as Xero and QuickBooks. A host of APIs enable similar easy integrations with the ERP, CRM, and other enterprise software.
New software may inevitably disrupt as users go through a learning curve. Opt for flexible and customizable software. Aim to continue as before with the software imposing the least disruption.
Configure workflows with minimal changes. For instance, ReachOut forms marketplace offers hundreds of custom forms. These forms curated by domain experts make audits and inspections easy. But users may also upload their custom forms exactly the way it appears in paper mode. They can use Apple Stylus pen and work like before with no disruption.
Invest in technology. State-of-the-art maintenance management suites invest in automated, artificial intelligence, and other emerging technologies. Such technology speeds up and eases the work process. Deploy apps that enable the workforce to leverage such technology. For instance, ReachOut offers live GPS tracking to track the location of work crews. Configure apps for customers, supervisors, and other stakeholders to enable such views. Likewise, ReachOut also offers apps that pull in details from the work order and other places to generate invoices on work completion.
No software implementation succeeds without the support of the front-line employees. Just a few technicians who do not use the software to log in details generate invoices, conduct audits, do other tasks, or subvert the system.
Spread awareness of the benefits of using the service management software. Make explicit the specific benefits on offer for each user group. The prospects of overhead cost reductions and the ability to service more customers may appeal to the top management. But such benefits may not be a sufficient motivator for the field technicians. The ease of doing work motivates field technicians.
Make sure the UX is attractive. ReachOut offers simple and neat UX that makes it easy for field agents to transition to the new software and work with it.
Never underestimate the importance of training. Training is vital to familiarize users with the new software.
Offer comprehensive documentation for self-service. Also, offer a help center where experts and users already familiar with the software help unfamiliar hands. ReachOut offers extensive documentation and knowledge repository capabilities. These resources allow field agents to access information seamlessly.
Institute a cross-functional team to monitor the software in the initial stages. Include field agents who use the software, team leaders, managers, and developers in the team. Any software will throw up errors during run-time. A dedicated team that seeks such issues proactively affects a quick fix. The earlier the software stabilizes, the lesser the disruption and the better benefits.
A robust maintenance management software such as ReachOut covers all bases. The suite updates regularly and offers the best support for your field service business. To know in detail about the exclusive features of ReachOut, connect with our experts.