Add a native app to your field technology stack to achieve greater efficiency and profitability
If you’re in the market for an efficiency-boosting, paper-eliminating mobile field service app, you’re probably looking at two options: a native application or a web application. It’s important to consider the differences between these app types to select the right one for your business.
In short, a native mobile app installs directly on the smartphone, like any other app you have on your phone. A web app works via a web browser, like Chrome or Safari, and requires a cell signal or WiFi to function.
Learn more about the differences between a native app and a web app, and why a native app, like Service Pro, is the best option to support your field service operations.
1. Offline capabilities just work
Most mobile apps in use today are native apps (not web apps) that allow you to use the app offline if needed.
You shouldn’t have to know you’re about to go offline and click a button. Did you know beforehand you were going into a deadspot the last time you dropped a call? Sure, you know you don’t have a signal in my basement. But what about a new customer site you haven’t been to before?
2. Even if you do have a connection, you don’t have to constantly use it
With a web application, you’re constantly transmitting data back and forth. Every line item is a call to the web server. If you have a decent number of technicians, you’ll need to have a really powerful web server.
This is why most organization prefer a true native application that saves data locally. The web app approach can end up being expensive both in terms of server hardware and data plans.
It’s also typically slower (and more frustrating) for the technician because of the web calls back and forth.
3. Searching is faster when it doesn’t have to go over the internet
A typical search probably takes a second, maybe two depending on how many parts you’re searching through. If you had a typo or didn’t type enough to get the right result, you might have to do it again.
With a native application, search is instant and can even start searching as you type.
4. Looks great on a phone
A mobile application is designed to be compatible with every screen size and form factor. The operating system takes care of scaling the screen as necessary so it works great and looks great on a phone.
Many technicians prefer to use a phone because they can easily put it in their pocket for activities like climbing up a ladder. It’s also something they likely already have and won’t have to worry about keeping track of one more tool. If someone wants to use a large tablet, it looks great on that, too!
5. Customizable inspection forms
Native applications also let you do more. There’s some things that just aren’t possible on a website.
One nice capability of Service Pro is mobile inspection forms or customizable forms to collect data. This might be start up forms, chiller or boiler inspections, fire inspections, or transformer inspections.
You can easily take your form and customize the screen to completely replace any paper forms you have. With a web application, you’d need to pay for a developer to code the form in HTML for you.
6. GPS capability
With a native mobile application, you can take advantage of the phone’s hardware capabilities, like GPS.
Service Pro can capture GPS automatically every five minutes, when work order statuses change or when punching in and out. Should you have to have an unfortunate conversation with a customer about when the technician was really there, you’ll have the data to back it up.
7. Imports vs. database calls
Service Pro integrates with your ERP through SQL Stored Procedure calls. These are the exact same procedures that are called when you use the ERP software in the office so you know your data will end up in the right place, and it happens real time. Other solutions integrate with a batch upload process that could take time to upload and process.
8. True purchase orders
Should you want to allow your technicians to create actual purchase orders from the field, you can with Service Pro. This saves time for your whole team by not having the tech call the dispatcher from the supply house to get a PO number.
Other solutions don’t actually create the purchase order, but instead simply send a request to someone to then create the PO manually.
9. Signatures and photos
With a native mobile application, you can take advantage of the phone’s hardware capabilities directly in the application, like the touch screen.
Allowing the customer to sign the work order or capturing technician signatures for various items like inspections becomes quick and easy and works offline! Photos are also more easily captured inside a native application.
Finally, a native application can allow for notifications right in the application. Technicians can peek at the icon to see if they have new work orders. With a website, technicians have to go to the site to manually check for updates.
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