Facilities management is a competitive space. Service providers seek efficiency improvements to reduce overheads and keep costs low. They also strive to deliver customized services to delight customers. Managing facilities using work order management software enables these ends.

1. Streamlined scheduling and dispatching

In facility management, schedulers always have a stressful time assigning work crews to open work orders.

A busy facility maintenance business undertakes a diverse range of jobs every day. One work order may involve repairing a handrail. Another may entail cleaning windows at a high rise. A third work order may include servicing the air conditioners, and a fourth work order may be a routine cleaning job. 

Most facility management providers have work teams with varying competencies and expertise. But managing schedules using spreadsheets invariably leads to confusion and mix-ups. Finding the right crew near the work site is hard enough. The dynamic or always-evolving nature of work makes the task harder. In the real world, customers alter requirements, and crew members call in sick or apply for leaves, forcing schedule changes.

The automated suite matches the job with the work crew skills and assigns the nearest eligible work crew for the job. The suite considers:

  • The skills and expertise of the crew to do the specific job.
  • Availability of inventory, such as spares and consumables, to do the job.
  • Their proximity to the work site. A resource routing map identifies the nearest technician to the job site.
  • Upcoming leaves and off-time requests.
  • Working hours.

The work order suite streamlines dispatching to eliminate slack and ensure on-time performance. Delays create a backlog, affecting the present job and other downstream jobs scheduled for the day. The best suites integrate with maps and collect real-time traffic information. The field crew gets live updates on the best routes to reach the work site. On-time arrival rates and customer satisfaction improve.

2. Real-time tracking and monitoring

Managers and supervisors have no direct control over field service operations. Work crews outside direct supervision could skip essential process steps. 

Digital work order management software enables real-time tracking of remote work crews to bring complete visibility into operations. Facility management managers get live and accurate insights that enable them to make timely, insightful decisions. They can:

  • Predict when work will finish, and get the crew starts the following work without making guesses. Customers get ETA on when the crew will arrive at their premises.
  • Keep a close watch on day-to-day operations and intervene to resolve any delays. Comparing the real-time performance with baseline metrics makes best performer identification easy.
  • Get rich analytical insights from the real-time tracking data. These insights make explicit field crew productivity, profit, and costs. The business may tweak offerings based on these insights.

Read more: 7 Essential Tips to Optimize Work Order Management in The Remote Working Era

3. Mobility on the field

State-of-the-art work order software enables mobility. Field crews and other stakeholders access the relevant portions of the suite from anywhere. These apps come with intuitive dashboards that provide information pertinent to the stakeholder. 

Field crews, for instance, 

  • Get a list of pending jobs and a copy of the work order. 
  • Access knowledge repositories that guide them to do the job. 
  • Refer to the contracts stored in the repositories. Field crews may access these documents easily, at any time, for reference and follow-up. 

Stylized forms and checklists, accessible through smartphone apps, enable managers to structure workflows. The supervisor loads each task onto the checklist. Field crews progress by moving on from one task in the checklist to the next. They may also refer to another safety checklist when doing dangerous jobs, such as cleaning high-altitude windows. End-of-shift reports offer proof of work done, adhering to the laid down quality standards. These forms also enable the smooth conduct of inspections and audits.

Electronic data input using mobility features enables the service provider:

  • Achieve green targets by eliminating pen and paper for reporting and inspections.
  • Avoid double enter data. Work crews do not have to waste time transferring pen and paper reports to electronic formats. They can save time and move on to other premises.
  • Co-opt images and videos, making reports much more powerful and insightful. A video of the premises post-cleaning, embedded in the work completion report, becomes proof of the work done as per specification.

Complete visibility and seamless communications help field agents take the initiative. Consider a crew on duty to clean the bathroom, finding a broken handle. They use the mobile app to notify the supervisor in real time. The supervisor checks the inventory, notifies the facility owner, and schedules the repair.

4. Ease in creating estimates and invoicing

Preparing estimates is a tedious job. The employee preparing the estimate has to understand customer requirements, calculate costs, and estimate work hours. These are tedious, time-consuming activities. Finally, the executive must repeat the process if the customer prepares a tweak. Today’s impatient customers would rather go elsewhere than wait. An automated system, using the work order software, delivers real-time quotes. When entering customer requirements, the software pulls pre-set rates from the relevant database, performs back-end calculations, and generates estimates.

Customer-facing interfaces enable dynamic quotes. Customers may change variables, such as the type of service needed and the duration of service, and they see the quote change on the screen. They may choose the level of service that best fits their needs and budget in a self-service model.

Automated invoices ensure timely payments and boost the cash flow of the business. The software consolidates the quote, CRM, inventory, and timesheet information for invoice preparation. A payment collection portal, integrated with the suite, facilitates the collection of payments through cash or any electronic means. Automatic update of the back-end systems eliminates clerical tasks. The accuracy of the invoice, professionalism, and fast turnaround, impress customers.

Read more: Four Ways to Generate a Professional Invoice and Get Paid Faster

ReachOut’s integrated platform manages all aspects of facility management. Advanced scheduling tools get the right field crew to the right job site. Prompt dispatches, robust real-time tracking, dynamic reporting, and instant invoicing speed up work, improve agent productivity, and delight customers. Integrated inventory, payroll, and reporting tools improve efficiency and the business’s competitiveness.

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Sachin Krishna

Sachin works as a part of the digital marketing team at ReachOut Suite. He believes in a healthy and resourceful web and does his own little contributions for the purpose by creating and disseminating innovative and quality content.

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