From Paper to Digital: How is Field Service Automation Revolutionizing the Field Service Industry?

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Field service automation is not science fiction anymore. Technology has transitioned from auto-capturing work order data to send real-time alerts when an asset malfunctions. 54% of enterprises are planning to increase their investments in AI (Artificial Intelligence) and AR (Augmented Reality) technologies in upcoming years.

New technologies are constantly introduced, especially in the field service industry. As a business owner, it is essential to keep a close eye on technological trends and embrace them to enjoy the best possible outcome.

Many field service businesses have already turned to digital solutions to help transform their field operations and remain competitive. In this article, we will explore the role of technology in the digital transformation of the field service industry

Impact of COVID on digital automation

In just a few months’ time, the pandemic brought years of changes to the way businesses to operate, especially in the field service sector. The increased customer demands forced FSM businesses to look for alternative ways as their field workforce mobility was restricted.

According to a study from TSIA, 78% of service organizations completely stopped sending technicians to customer sites during the height of the COVID-19 crisis. This accelerated digital adoption and allowed field service organizations to implement new strategies for providing uninterrupted service to their customers. At the same time, it also reduced operational costs and minimized risks associated with deploying field technicians on-site.

How is technology revolutionizing the field service industry?

The field service industry is undergoing a technological revolution. No longer do you need to manually manage inventory; for instance, a field service management platform can streamline van stock replenishment through automated notifications and alerts when inventory levels fall below a predetermined threshold limit.

Complete service history, including information about installed equipment and potential damage, can be accessed to prepare technicians better and increase their first-time fix rates.

In addition, sensors can send alerts to notify of possible breakdowns, enabling preventive measures before the issue escalates. With all the relevant information readily available, inventory management is now more efficient, and workforce productivity is increased.

Here are five technological innovations every business owner should be aware of, as they are revolutionizing the field service industry.

1. Centralized data control and a single source of truth

Field service businesses have realized the importance of adopting technology, with many having already implemented CRM or ERP tools. A seamless two-way sync between FSM software and these tools can help service businesses maintain a centralized source of truth for their data.

A flexible and integration-friendly field service management platform helps update customer data, job status, maintenance history, and other field service reports in real time, eliminating data redundancy and manual errors.

2. Strategic automation of field service processes and workflows

Over 73% of employees perform more than 50 recurring tasks on a weekly basis. Imagine a scenario where a field technician dispatched for inspection shares images and supporting documents via email or messaging platforms with their back-office team. Retrieving and managing these records can be a daunting task, leading to redundant tasks and reduced workforce productivity.

With FSM software, field technicians can easily upload images and supporting documents and attach them to specific work orders, helping maintain accurate maintenance history. By automating repetitive tasks and empowering field technicians, service businesses can improve workforce efficiency.

3. Augmented reality(AR) and virtual reality(VR) in field service

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have been the surprising technological development in the field service management sector in the last few years. A report by Market Research Future (MRFR) predicted that the market growth of the AR industry could be $461.25 billion, and the VR industry could be worth $ 87 billion by 2030.

Augmented reality or otherwise known as “mixed reality,” overlays digital images on the real world or equipment to enhance reality. On the other hand, VR creates a complete 3D virtual environment enabling users to interact with the virtual world.

Surprisingly, VR and AR can be used together for anything from staff training to project planning allowing business owners to walk through the entire process virtually and also enabling them to make any mid-way changes—saving time and money.

With the use of augmented reality glasses, field technicians are equipped to view equipment and stock levels in real-time, enabling them to diagnose the issue and offer the right resolution without physically being present on site.

4. Hassle-free predictive maintenance visits with PPM

Predictive maintenance is now considered the future of field service industries.

Predictive maintenance is a practice of using advanced artificial intelligence(AI), machine learning (ML), and analytics to predict equipment disruption or failure before they happen.

By 2024, the predictive maintenance market is expected to reach $10.7 billion.

Artificial intelligence uses past equipment data and its current performance to make an assessment and predict potential disruptions or failures. Now field technicians can monitor the health of equipment with IoT-enabled and set-up alerts to track asset performance and schedule maintenance visits in advance—saving time and mitigating possible damage.

5. Seamless integration with existing third-party applications

Whether you’re a start-up or multinational company, integrating your existing application will not only provide a seamless experience but also reduce the time you spend switching between applications.

Seamless integration helps your third-party application connect with each other and enables you to maintain a single source of truth, bridging communication gaps, saving time and effort, and freeing up the time of employees to focus on what matters the most.

How Zuper helps transform the field service organizations

Businesses operating in the field service industry have different requirements and need more resources to communicate between departments and manage operations. Field service automation helps businesses focus on automating efforts, streamlining processes, and achieving quick wins for more impact.

With Zuper’s field service management software, businesses of different sizes and industries can streamline workflows, automate work order management cycles, and eliminate recurring tasks simplifying and optimizing field service operations.

1. HVAC

Think of all the time your field technicians waste carrying around papers and the effort involved in getting them back to the office. Zuper bridges communication gaps and Improves first-time fix rates with features like job notes and chat functionality, allowing HVAC technicians to collaborate with their supervisors and back-office counterparts easily.

With a mobile HVAC field service app, you give your field staff the ability to handle work orders and see the entire job history of a contract. By using customizable checklists, you can keep your field service professionals up to date while providing a consistent level of service.

2. Plumbing

The traditional plumbing field service operation adds layers of complexity to your business—manual scheduling, equipment management, and technician dispatching all add complexity to the mix.

Zuper can assist you in automating work order management, cutting down on call volume, and improving customer satisfaction with pre-populated client data. With an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface, you can quickly assign the appropriate plumber to the right job.

With a high-level overview of all plumbing jobs, time off information, conflict alerts, and more, scheduling issues like double booking can be avoided. Track the location of plumbers in real-time to keep your back office personnel up-to-date.

3. Landscaping

Lawn care scheduling and dispatching is not only time-consuming but also challenging if handled manually. You can spend hours manually scheduling your crews manually but still suffer from problems with overbooking.

Zuper’s automatic scheduling and dispatching eliminate the hassle of running a landscaping business. With a robust dispatch board, real-time location intelligence, and a drag-and-drop interface, scheduling and route planning are streamlined, while dispatch is made simple.

4. Solar Energy

As an owner of a solar business, you’re subject to an array of problems, including, miscommunications, lack of project efficiency, and mismanaged inventory. Zuper helps you overcome these obstacles by making efficient use of your technician’s time and preventing expensive delays and scheduling conflicts. Dispatchers get a bird’s eye view of open jobs, available technicians, and the team’s availability and time-off information.

With Zuper, rescheduling appointments can be performed in a matter of minutes with a simple drag-and-drop interface. Efficiently find the right technician for a job using our intelligent dispatch board.

5. Manufacturing

The manufacturing industry is constantly looking for technological solutions that can reduce operational delays. However, there are various challenges in managing field service operations, from a shortage of materials and spare parts to ineffective management of service resources.

Field service management helps you automate scheduling and handle any unexpected equipment breakdowns as they occur. By employing automated management of recurring work orders, you can make your planned preventative maintenance (PPM) hassle-free.

In an effort to reduce the time it takes to dispatch a technician, create and maintain a database of technician skill sets, certifications, and authorized licenses. Find the right technician for a job instantly by considering all possible metrics, from the technician’s skill set and location proximity to performance history.

6. Construction

Soft costs are nothing new if you are in the construction business. They contribute more than half the total cost. With a field service management platform, you can cut down on unnecessary costs and differentiate yourselves in a crowded industry by focusing on customer experience. Zuper can help you expose siloed data, clarify communication, and improve transparency across the project lifecycle.

Keep stakeholders, internal and external, in sync with automated alerts and notifications. Easily share ETA alerts, job status updates, estimates, invoices, payment reminders, and survey links with customers.

Conclusion

Field service is an ever-evolving industry with numerous challenges and solutions for managing field operations. The COVID pandemic created obstacles to managing field service businesses, this led to the adoption of digital technologies, transforming field operations. Field service management platforms enabled various businesses across the field service industry to streamline their operations and improve workforce efficiency.

If you are in the field service industry looking for a platform to digitally transform your operations, Zuper can help. With Zuper, you can streamline your workflow and improve employees’ operational efficiency. Additionally, Zuper offers a wide range of modules that can be customized to fit the demands of your business. Learn how Zuper can help you transform your field operations, schedule a demo today.

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