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What is Field Service Management?
According to Gartner, Field Service Management (FSM) includes the detection of a field service need (through remote monitoring, or other means, inspection or a customer detecting a fault), field technician scheduling and optimisation, dispatching, parts information delivery to the field, and process support of field technician interactions.
In the domain of Facility and Real Estate Management, field service management is highly relevant for both owners/occupiers and commercial service providers. Owners/occupiers of assets and real estate frequently employ trades and technical staff to execute in-house technical work orders across their sites, campus or portfolio. Professional service providers employ teams of technical engineers to deliver contracted services as agreed with their customers. Although the starting points might differ, both types of organisation pursue the same goals: execute these services as efficiently as possible, deliver the best quality, and comply with legislation.
Field Service Management solutions: From paperwork to process digitalisation
The traditional method of paper-based or printed email communication of work orders, activities, information and guidance to field engineers has become outdated. It causes lots of errors and miscommunication, takes a lot of time, has no planning efficiency and is impossible to manage and monitor properly. To increase the productivity, efficiency and quality in field service management and to reduce associated costs, digitalisation of processes with professional software solutions is a necessity.
Field Service Management: from point solution to integrated platform
Efficient field service management is more than digital work order dispatching from the back office to internal trades or external field technicians. As Gartner’s definition of FSM states, it includes customers, planners, executors, contractors and more. That is why point solutions like Computerised Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) or standalone mobile apps become obsolete, as all these stakeholders need to be unified in one integrated digital process, such as:
- The customer who registers a maintenance request.
- The contract manager who validates the agreed service level and priority.
- The back office planner who plans and dispatches the work orders.
- The field worker who executes the job.
- The manager who monitors progress, performance and quality.
- The financial administrator who reports or back charges costs.
For real estate owners and occupiers, an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS) offers functionality for all stakeholders and unifies them in one digital platform to support the complete process. This includes functions like customer self-service, planned preventative maintenance (PPM), contract management, integration with Building Management Systems (BMS) and Internet of Things (IoT), resource scheduling, stock control, material handling, alerts and Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s), cost management, contractor management and many more. All these functions are related to the work of the field engineer.
Professional service providers need more comprehensive field service management software which includes additional functionality such as subcontractor management, price calculations and accurate invoicing. For these organisations handling outsourced facility management, both customer satisfaction and cost efficient work execution are equally important.