The plumbing industry faces big-time disruption as it transitions to a digital-first world. Most businesses face the twin challenges of scaling up and embracing digital transformation. Side-by-side, the business landscape has become more challenging. Most economies in the world are in the throes of recession, meaning lesser construction, renovation, and maintenance projects that require plumbing. The low entry barriers to setting up a plumbing service business lead to many new entrants competing on price to gain market share.

Profitability comes through efficiency improvements and delighting existing customers to make them loyal. Retaining a team of skilled plumbers and support staff is becoming harder, as the Gen Z workforce is not keen on field service jobs. The “Great Resignation” that followed the pandemic, where employees resign on a whim and rely on benefits, adds to the HR challenge. The crippling post-pandemic supply shortage and inflation make running the business more challenging.

There are several day-to-day operational challenges as well. After the scheduler assigns a work order, service managers must ensure the plumber reaches the work site on time. 

The plumbing dispatch software helps businesses manage structural and day-to-day challenges well.

Read more: How to create powerful invoices for your plumbing service

1. Plotting the most efficient schedules

Scheduling on a first-come-first-serve basis is not efficient or profitable. It leads to situations such as the technician cross-crossing the town, draining his energy and wasting time. They end up serving too few customers per shift, leading to low productivity. Efficiency depends on schedule in advance to enable technicians to progress in a linear route, covering the jobs en route without backtracking.

The most efficient field technicians move to the nearest job after finishing one. When the business serves customers in a spread-out area, the dispatch software assigns all work orders in a cluster to one technician. Another technician gets the work orders located in another cluster. The automated system issues notifications to technicians and customers, keeping them informed.

An integrated field management suite handles scheduling and dispatching, ensuring seamless operations. Field technicians may view assigned jobs on a map and plot their routes with help from the software.

2. Routing technicians through the best routes

Plumbers attending to work orders need instructions on how to reach their work site. Calling the customer and asking for directions is a jarring experience. Often, they receive ambiguous or vague instructions. Technicians waste time seeking directions when they could spend time fixing the plumbing. 

Technicians who take the shortest route may also get delayed. The shortest or most familiar route may have heavy traffic congestion or poor road conditions. The technician spends more time and more fuel when taking such routes.

Such manual and ad-hoc processes are inefficient and impact profitability. 

The best dispatching software integrates maps and real-time traffic information. An automated dispatch management suite uses APIs or native integration capabilities to:

  • Pull the address from the work order.
  • Plot the technician’s live location
  • Guide the technician through the quickest route without compromising safety.

The best routes ensure efficient, stress-free driving to the work site. The technician can maintain their schedule and improve on-time arrival rates. 

The time savings add up and generate an upward spiral of positivity. When field technicians spend less time on the road, they get more time to do the plumbing work at customer premises. They cover more work orders per shift. Productivity improves, which in turn increases job satisfaction. Satisfied employees have better job commitment. Employee turnover reduces, and the enterprise saves recruitment and training costs. Better quality work, fast turnaround, and keeping time schedules boost customer satisfaction scores. Satisfied customers return and also give positive reviews. 

3. Confirming spares availability before dispatch

Good dispatching software syncs with inventory management to confirm parts and material availability. If the technician proceeds to the work site without the right tools or spares, they will have to return without completing the work. For instance, if the technician does not carry a suitably sized pipe in the service van, they will have to return and reschedule the fix. Such rescheduling leads to a wasted first effort. It adds to operational costs and retards the technician’s productivity.

Confirming spare parts and material availability improves first-time fix rates and boosts efficiency. Such confirmation makes even more sense today when supply chain disruptions have created shortages that cripple many businesses.

Read more: 7 Smart Ways to Set Up Your Plumbing Van

4. Enabling seamless remote work

Mobility enables service engineers and dispatch managers to work from anywhere. A mobile field service app makes the office superfluous for managing on-site plumbing jobs. They may issue dispatch instructions or address issues when commuting or on holiday. 

For field technicians, mobility enables

  • Connect with customers or their offices with easy traceability and a log. 
  • Access service logs, customer details, and instruction manuals. They may also track equipment job history to get better insights. For instance, a plumber equipped with a map of the building piping can affect a fix quickly.
  • Adding activity notes and photos to reports and uploading job progress statuses

5. Improved visibility into field service operations

The benefits of good dispatching software extend much beyond dispatching efficiency. 

A good plumbing dispatch software solution offers rich real-time data on business operations. Analyzing such data delivers actionable information such as: 

  • Performance indicators such as on-time arrival at customer’s location and delays.
  • The average time taken for different jobs.
  • Estimates to work order ratio.
  • The average revenue per job.
  • Customer contact and billing preferences.

Service engineers and managers may use such insights to set performance benchmarks. They may use such benchmarks to:

  • Make proactive interventions when key performance indicators fall below the benchmarks. Managers can use the insights to identify causative issues and make timely fixes. 
  • Identify technicians who fail to achieve benchmarks. Targeted interventions such as training will improve their work efficacy. 

Read more: How Standardized Work Orders Can Boost the Growth of Your Plumbing Business

6. Automation 

Plumbing dispatch software delivers automated processes to speed things and improve process accuracy. The business can eliminate error-prone manual tasks and spare human resources for more complex tasks. 

The software automates tasks such as:

  • Issuing reminders to field technicians, supervisors, service engineers, and customers about upcoming jobs. 
  • Keeping schedulers, dispatchers, and service managers in the loop regarding cancellations.
  • Report filing. Clerical tasks do not bog down technicians. They could use the time to do their core tasks, such as fixing water leaks or installing new pipes.
  • Tracking payment due, generating automated invoices, and other connected tasks.

An integrated field service management software such as ReachOut Suite enables seamless dispatching. It also streamlines end-to-end field service tasks, offering efficiency boosts and competitive advantages. Connect with our experts today to learn more about ReachOut Suite, or just SignUp for Free!

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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