Field service businesses have used a variety of methods for their technicians and representatives to check-in and report for work. Some have used the time clock method, where the field resource must report to the main office and clock in to report for work. Other businesses allow their field personnel to call in to a manager or dispatch operator and receive their first assignment for the day. In still other cases, the field technician has his assignment from the previous day and goes directly to the work site.
All of these approaches can cause problems:
Travel time is lost if the resource must go to the office first. The time that is spent going to the office could have been used to travel to the work site.
Calling in can mean lost time if the resource is not able to speak with the manager or dispatcher to know what to do next.
Process steps can be skipped and bypassed in order to save time, which means records can be lost on the work order or availability of resources.
Last minute changes to the schedule can mean the resource reports to one location when another location is the priority.
While there is merit to a phone call and having the personalized communication, often there is a need for better record keeping, consistent process steps, and reliable tracking. Field service automation can help the check-in process without slowing your business down at all – in most cases your business can actually pick up speed through automation.
When looking at your field service automation options, you may encounter some pros and cons as part of your evaluation:
Pro - no need to waste travel time. Your field resources can check in at home or other location using a smart phone, laptop, or tablet computer and then go directly to their assigned location.
Con - technology can be too difficult to use for some people. To avoid this problem your automation solution must have a user-friendly interface that requires virtually no training.
Pro - no missed calls because all statuses are picked up immediately on dashboard through the online check-in and status apps.
Con - concern about costs getting out of control. This is easily avoided with a solution that has a proven and measurable return on investment (ROI) and offers options such as cloud services to keep costs manageable
Pro - last minute changes are communicated quickly and efficiently without a lot of paper-shuffling and phone calls.
Pro – quality field service automation offers highly configurable systems that can adapt to unique business rules
Research your automation options carefully, and then pick the system that would work best for your business. In today's highly competitive market it is important to leverage technology to improve your business efficiency including your field tech check-in process.