The pace of doing business is the fastest it has ever been in history. The demands and expectations of customers are also high.
Digitization of operations in the office and field operations has made it possible to meet expectations while maintaining efficiency and cutting costs.
If your company is still managing field inspections using paper, you could be missing out on the numerous advantages of digitization.
Here are top reasons why you must consider digitizing your field inspections.
1. Digitization of field service saves time
When your field service team relies on information stored on paper, they will spend a lot of time trying to locate and retrieve information they need out in the field. Worse, they might have to contact someone at the dispatch center to look up such information.
In contrast, digitization ensures the field teams can easily search for whatever information they need whenever they need it (even when offices are closed). It makes them better at their job, which directly affects client satisfaction.
2. Easier handling of emergencies
Digitization today involves relying on a cloud-based storage system. This ensures that organizational information is safe in case of disasters such as fire, flooding, or even burglary.
Other emergencies may not involve destruction of property but the need to retrieve certain information quickly. In such situations, it is much easier to do an electronic search compared to sifting through thousands of physical files.
3. Proper scheduling
One of the biggest challenges in field operations is figuring out how to properly distribute field teams. If not properly done, the dispatch process will have glitches, overlaps, and eventually lead to customer dissatisfaction.
Digitizing the process and relying on GPS makes everything smoother. The person at the dispatch center can see where each team is.
Whenever a request for service comes in, they can send out communication to the nearest team with an accurate description of the place and issue to be fixed. It makes everything more organized and improves the efficiency of important resources.
4. Reduced costs
Digitization of processes provides the opportunity to collect data for insights into a company’s workflow. This data might include average time technicians take to reach their appointed destinations, average time spent at clients’ premises, number of clients attended to in a day, and so forth. This data can be used to identify areas of weakness and inefficiency.
If technicians spend too much time fixing a small problem, upskilling may be needed. If too few clients are served in a day, more technicians may be needed. In the end, the organization improves efficiency and eventually saves costs on wasted resources.
5. Stronger teams
Digitization affects company culture because it opens channels of communication between people in different departments. There will always be interdependence between the field teams and the back office staff. Any delays, misunderstandings, or other failures in communication lead to delays in processes.
Digitization gives visibility into the company’s workflow while opening channels of communication for people who need to pass information to one another. Therefore, bottlenecks in the workflow will always be traced to a particular reason.
6. Better inventory management
Part of digitization of field operations is deploying digital inventory management software. First, the assets that field staff use can be tagged so that their location can be tracked at all times.
In addition, it is possible to have IoT chips installed in them to collect data on their performance. Artificial Intelligence technology can be used to predict when such assets are due for service or repairs based on performance.
Field service teams involved in servicing and repair of client equipment need access to parts. Maintaining a digital inventory record enables them to request for parts they need.
Inventory levels can be easily tracked, and orders made based on predictions of demand. The organization can also collect records on how long parts last, and if need be, change suppliers based on part performance, prices, and industry trends.
7. Improved customer relationship management
Streamlining field operations is critical for new customer acquisitions and retention. As highlighted, digital operations have the advantage of better field teams scheduling.
Delayed responses and cancellations can lead to customer dissatisfaction and loss of business. Digitization serves to prevent this from happening.
In addition, the field service team gets to see a customer’s service history, which can serve as a starting point for further engagement. They can ask how the customer’s experience has been since installation or the last history. They can also make the customer aware of upcoming service appointments.
Such knowledge endears the company to the customer and increases loyalty. It becomes easier to market or recommend new products to them.
8. Meet compliance requirements
Companies that collect personal data from clients may be required to meet certain security thresholds depending on the industry within which they operate.
Record keeping is made easier with use of digital records where access control measures are easier to implement compared to physical records. Proper records are also necessary for financial audits, tax evaluations, and other statutory processes.
Digital records also instill confidence in clients that the company can secure whatever information they collect to aid in service delivery.
9. Efficient invoicing
Digitization will impact your invoicing and collectibles management process. When the company’s workflow is digitally managed, it is possible to have invoices generated and mailed automatically to clients after task completion. It is also possible to have automatic follow ups calls being scheduled for delayed payments.
The process is also more accurate when managed digitally. There will be no errors of incorrect amounts being billed, or the invoice being sent late. The multiplier effect of this process is that the company will be in a better working capital position.
Digitization of field services presents numerous benefits that can be harnessed to ensure long-term success.
The company can collect data to give insight into areas of inefficiency. In addition, the company can also benefit from better customer loyalty due to more efficient service delivery.
A company seeking to digitize its field service operations should link up with an experienced software vendor. The goal should be to automate repetitive tasks, streamline scheduling, enable collaboration, digitize inventory management, and automate billing.