There are two major factors impacting how you approach work order management in the next 5-10 years.
● Shifting customer expectations
● A VUCA mindset in the service industry
We’ll take those one-by-one now.
Shifting customer expectations: Stories resonate with the human brain more than anything, so here’s a quick story we recently ran through with a customer. He lives with his wife and manages a small field service business. He and his wife have one car, and while the field service business has trucks, the technicians use those daily. One day, our client needed to get to another appointment --so he took a ride-share service (e.g. Uber). He picked up a check while there and deposited the check into his business account by phone during a break in the meeting. When the meeting was over, he made a reservation for lunch on his phone, called for another ride-share, and went to lunch. Now, in the span of about one hour, he completed a few major actions (getting to a meeting, cashing a check, setting up lunch) and he did it all from mobile while being away from his home base. None of what he did was possible even 10-15 years ago.
That is important to remember. There are many ways we define the current economy: Knowledge, Sharing, App, etc. Another good title might be “On-Demand.” There are hundreds of examples of this, from Netflix to ride-share to food-ordering services. People have an on-demand, it-will-happen-quickly expectation across their lives, for the most part. Those in younger generations (under 40 or so right now) almost definitely have this expectation.
How does this impact work orders? Well, there’s a more “traditional” way to do work orders. In that model, a work order is opened for a client need, the work order is serviced, and then the billing happens at a later date. But with the massive scale of mobile -- there are more mobile devices on Earth than people right now -- why not move work order management to mobile? Here’s how that model would look:
● A client calls in with an issue
● Someone on your staff opens a work order
● The work order details are pushed to the technician’s mobile
●The Field Service Management software (FSM) determines whether the technician needs specific equipment and routes him or her to a warehouse if he or she does
● The technician arrives at the client site
● He or she does the job
● The technician presents the invoice to the client on his or her phone, or on the client’s phone
● The client signs off and pays via mobile
Now work order management has become part of the on-demand economy. That’s better for everyone -- and hey, you get paid quicker too.
VUCA: VUCA is a term used by some to describe the current and upcoming business climate.It stands for:
In short, it’s hard to know what is happening and where technology will take work. This is very true in FSM too. Internet of Things is already becoming a player -- and there will be 80 billion connected devices by 2025. As more devices are sending information about their performance, will clients even need to call you anymore? Or will predictive maintenance become the norm?
Artificial intelligence and virtual reality will almost assuredly change how you train technicians, but will it change even more than that? Machine learning is already shifting scheduling in field service, and might have more implications.
Work order management is best shifted to mobile right now. But in the future, there may be an even better way to do it -- perhaps one we haven’t even thought of yet.
So, for now? You need to embrace work order management in a mobile-first way -- but you also need an eye toward VUCA and understanding that service work is changing quickly.
We’ve actually created a guide on putting field service software into action. It will help you understand how best to implement some of the core solutions customers expect today. You can download this guide now