Simplify Business Processes and Optimize Costs in Field Service

If you’ve been in business for over 10 years, think about business “then” vs. business “now.” A lot of aspects are different — and most involve technology, in all likelihood. This idea has been held up by research from Bain and Company. In their research, 20 years ago — so yes, more than 10 — the majority of business challenges were external. That means a challenge like “We don’t have the technology to pursue this idea.” Today, though? 94% of business challenges are internal.

Most of these internal challenges are around processes and people. The people side is hard for many — rather than treating your employees as interchangeable, as some companies will do, you need to treat them as valued members of your business plan. This reduces churn and turnover and keeps knowledge in your organization. That’s good in the short and long term.

This article is going to be more about processes, though. A lot of times, as field service organizations get bigger or take on more SLAs and contracts, they tend to add more layers of process to everything they do day to day. This is logical because process implies control of situations, and being in control is a good thing when dozens of urgent client needs are flying into your office every day.

The problem is: a ton of processes plus a lot of clients calling in with urgent fix-and-repair needs do not make an effective business. You might make money, yes. That’s good! But everyone will get burned out, staff and technicians will begin to leave, and it will be hard for you to focus on growth and other priorities because you’re spending so much of every week on racing around and putting out fires.

Rather, the antidote to this go-go-go busy-busy-busy business climate we live in is to embrace the opposite: simplicity.

Research from Stanford — it was done jointly by their business school and engineering school — shows a “Goldilocks Effect” around processes. In short:

Companies with too few processes and rules tended to get very little done
Companies with too many processes and rules tended to get more done in terms of providing service — but oftentimes it wasn’t what their clients/customers actually wanted.
Companies with a degree of basic rules (but not too many) tended to be the most effective in terms of growing and developing their businesses.

The basic idea: don’t over-complicate what can already be a complicated industry. Come up with some core business processes, integrate them, and use that integration to drive you forward.

One of the easiest ways to simplify your business processes is to use field service management (FSM) software programs. These integrate the different areas of your business, including:

Scheduling/Dispatch
Mapping and Routing
Work Order Management
Inventory
Customer information
Sales leads

One of the biggest advantages of field service software is information transparency, meaning that everyone in your FSO can be on the same page about what’s going on in the business. This prevents silo-by-silo (scheduling vs. sales, for example) issues that can hurt growth.

Now, the biggest concern people tend to have about field service management software is potential cost. There is the old adage that you need to “spend money to make money,” and that’s true. But if you’re a small business field service operation, can you afford it? And can FSM software help you optimize costs?

To learn more about the cost and purchasing side of FSM software, download our eBook on the topic now. It will walk you through different cost equations to consider when evaluating FSM software.

Cost FSM Software