What is Field Force Management and Why It’s Important
Some businesses need off-site staff in order to thrive, but how can a manager efficiently supervise a mobile team when they are out of the office? Using field force management (FFM) software, managers can keep track of their mobile teams’ activities, travel, meetings, and more. It keeps managers in the loop and makes the field and office teams an efficient unit.
FFM, or workforce management as it is also known, is an umbrella term for managing a business’s field resources. FFM systems allow for seamless collaboration between field employees and office staff. It is a system for coordinating field service operations that includes scheduling work orders, dispatching service technicians, tracking labor hours, job status, and invoicing.
Benefits of Mobile Workforce Management
FieldAware’s Field Service Management (FSM) with Mobile Workforce Management improves scheduling decisions based on technician, customer, and business objective variables. It also creates the ability to analyze different “what-if” scenarios and dynamically/visually alerts schedulers when a scheduling rule is about to be broken.
What makes a mobile workforce management solution like FieldAware such an ideal alternative is that it doesn’t require the dispatcher or the planner to know the details of every individual mobile employee or contractor. Instead, the system does it for them. A mobile workforce management solution allows the dispatcher or planner to explore the full scope of the work staff through predefined fields that helps them match the most qualified worker to the incoming work order.
The benefits are:
Exceptional Service Delivery Improves Customer Satisfaction
A field service management system with workforce management included helps maximize technician productivity and efficiency. It uses intelligent schedule optimization technology to ensure the maximum productivity of your mobile workforce while most effectively meeting the specific needs and/or constraints of the customer. This combination of resource and service optimization helps improve first-time fix rates and keeps customers happy.
Better Skills Matching Boosts Employee Satisfaction
If a service department isn’t using Workforce Management, an unqualified technician is periodically dispatched to perform the service. This not only leads to the service not being completed but the technician has to face the customer to let them know he or she is not able to complete the service as requested. This puts the technician in a bad position and done enough times can impact the technician’s pay.
Best-in-class Workforce Management Systems are able to ensure the right resource is sent to the right job. By sending the closest, most appropriate and prepared technician to perform the service, you’re setting the technician up for success. Happy technicians are more likely to solve customer problems, boosting productivity, profits, and customer satisfaction.
Better Resource Utilization Drives Operational Performance
Good workforce management practices ensure your teams are staffed appropriately to cover all the jobs without incurring too much cost by having more staff on hand than you really need or struggling when someone calls in sick. By informing proper planning, teams avoid surprise service level shortfalls and are able to react quickly to changes across one or all channels.
When Workforce Management is incorporated into a Field Service Management system, it eliminates paperwork, standardizes workflows, and makes invoicing simple and clean.
Field Force Management Software Features
Workforce management within field service management software specifically focuses on how to track, manage, and assign workers. This includes managing skills, territories, certifications, permits, specific exclusions, and tools that make one resource better to use versus another. The workforce management components help the scheduler or dispatcher determine who to use and when to use them.
The system must be configured with all the variables that determine the “best” technician or crew for any given job. Those variables are:
- Working hours – when does the technician start and end their workday?
- Available hours/days – what days of the week are they available, based on regular schedules, PTO, sick days, training days, etc.
- Overtime/minimum time rules – are there rules on the maximum number of hours per day or week the technician is allowed to work?
- Technician breaks – what time during a workday is the technician on break for lunch, or other scheduled break periods when they are not available to be scheduled for a job?
- Location – where, geographically is the technician, including where do they start their day (at the office or at home) and how does their location relate to the job location?
- Skills and certifications – is the technician trained and/or certified to perform the service required to complete the job?
- Access – does the technician have the credentials and/or permits to gain access to the service location(s)?
- Preferred/restricted technicians – is the technician preferred by the customer or for some reason banned/restricted from performing services for the customer?
The system can also help automate processes for large teams that may have a complex set of requirements. Software like FieldAware comes with a number of tools that make up the core functionality.
To run an efficient organization, it’s important to be on top of schedules at all times. FSM software provides all the tools needed to streamline job management and scheduling functions. It will make route planning, and reassigning field staff faster and easier.
Process new or existing work orders without needing a physical copy or going to the home office. It gets the details of the job to field staff and allows for modifications. Most importantly, it allows technicians to document their work at a particular job. This makes notes easily accessible by office staff or different technicians. With everyone having access to the notes, there’s no confusion on the status of the job.
Just about everything is going digital. Mobile apps bring the full functionality of an FSM system to the field staff’s fingertips. It makes it easy for the field staff to access the information needed while on a job site. Field staff can view schedules, receive dispatches, and mark work orders as complete as soon as they finish the job.
The beauty of FSM software is that it is engineered to work with many types of extensions that add value to existing software. It also provides end-to-end solutions for businesses from the initial project planning stages to maintenance.
- GPS optimization: Adding a GPS element to dispatching and scheduling can maximize time, fuel, and reveal the best routes to take to complete a set of jobs.
- QuickBooks or other Finance Integrations: It simplifies invoicing so payments are processed quickly. Field staff send all job information and generate an invoice with a few simple clicks. They can accept and process payments, and the information is recorded and organized in the financial system of record. With one click, information collected on the job site updates payroll, invoicing, inventory, and customer records.
- Warranty Information: Service business can keep track of customer’s warranty information on products and services.
- Advanced Reporting: Detailed reports will help get the most ROI. Create specialized reports or access preset reports for a quick glance.
- Customer History: Track customer information and service history while on the job. Data syncs seamlessly from mobile or tablet to a customer database, so records are continually updated.
- Contact Management: Automatically remind customers of their scheduled service or to schedule repeat services, group customers based on geographical location, type of service, and more for targeted communications, and set up email marketing campaigns.
Are you interested in talking with us about field force management and how we can find a solution that works specifically for your needs? Get a demo from us today!