The Internet of Things (IoT) technology is revolutionizing the way many industries operate, and field services are starting to also benefit from automated processes, real-time visibility, and accurate data.
Here are three common challenges that field services businesses face and how an asset tracking solution, powered by IoT, can help.
For any field service business that has employees visiting customer locations to install a service or product or make repairs, time is money. The more customers that can be seen throughout the day, the more billable hours can be invoiced. So, when one job takes longer than expected, the whole day can be thrown off, often with projects delayed until a later date.
An IoT cloud-connected asset tracking solution can help field service companies stay on schedule by enabling management and dispatchers to track and monitor all important resources - from employees and fleet vehicles to tools and equipment – on one screen and in real-time. If a technician is going to be delayed, dispatch can quickly check the status and location of other available employees and send the nearest person to the next job. With the ability to track equipment and tools from any device, technicians can also easily locate the resources they need to complete a job, which helps to reduce delays.
As of 2018, only 42% of field service businesses were believed to be using a connected IoT solution as part of their operations, meaning a large number are still likely to be relying on more traditional methods of scheduling, dispatching and responding to unplanned events. Unfortunately, a lack of visibility into the real-time location and status of employees and assets can lead to customer frustration when a technician doesn’t show up as planned and the customer has to chase for information.
An asset tracking solution can help businesses communicate better with customers by providing the real-time visibility needed to keep customers in the loop. When a job runs overtime or another unexpected issue arises, managers can easily keep tabs on the status and location of the technician and keep the customer in the loop - or find another technician in the area to do the service and provide a new, accurate ETA.
It bears repeating here that time is money for any field service business, making it critical to know how long each project took to complete. Manual timesheets and work orders are not only slow but can leave businesses open to human error and inaccuracies that could lead to lost revenue. Also, a lack of ‘big picture’ visibility when scheduling technicians and resources can create costly inefficiencies. For example, a lot is wasted when a technician has to drive across town to collect equipment and then head to another part of town for a job.
With an asset tracking solution, field service businesses can quickly set up geofencing parameters around a customer’s location to track when a technician arrives at the property and the duration of the visit. This helps businesses bill for actual time spent on a project and provides an automated record of the arrival and departure in case there is a discrepancy with the customer or technician.
Plus, with the ability to view all fleet vehicles and important equipment on one screen, dispatchers can make better scheduling decisions so that routing is more efficient, and more time is actually spent on the job.