International Door & Operator Industry

MAR-APR 2018

Garage door industry magazine for garage door dealers, garage door manufacturers, garage door distributors, garage door installers, loading docks, garage door operators and openers, gates, and tools for the door industry.

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Continued on page ## 16 International Door & Operator Industry™ Continued from page 15 Continued on page 18 ASSOCIATIONNEWS organizations, jumping from paper and pencil to next- generation field automation just isn't realistic — a phased approach is going to be far more attainable. Why do I need FSM software? Efficiently and effectively managing a team of service technicians is one of the most operationally complex tasks a garage door dealer may have to deal with. There are so many variables, which can take a significant amount of time and attention to stay on top of the unpredictable changes that can occur at any time. Miscommunications, delays and incorrect or incomplete information as well as human error plague dealerships' schedules and work orders. Bad handwriting alone is a good enough reason to go digital. According to a "software advice" survey from 2014 – nearly 54 percent of small service businesses are still using manual methods, pencil and paper, or simple software such as excel or QuickBooks to manage technicians schedules and customer work orders. By automating these functions, field service software can eliminate paper and save significant amounts of labor both in the field and in the back office, while providing better and more reliable service. This means increased profitability and less headaches. Due to mobile innovations and affordable, software-as-a-service (SaaS) options, field service management (FSM) software has been expanding its following. But many smaller businesses are still practicing paper-based FSM and may be unaware of available solutions. FSM solutions can vary greatly, in simplicity or complexity. Each type of software has its strengths and weaknesses and can vary greatly in price range. Although, many have similar functions, not all are created alike. In general, you can expect to see some or all of the following capabilities in a standard platform but some of the capabilities may need to be added on or may not be available at all: Scheduling & Dispatch - This is the central hub of day-to-day operations. Mobile technicians plan their day around their schedule, and dispatchers rely on communication tools to quickly update job orders and assignments. Three of the "must haves" as identified in a Gartner field service study, "Best Practices in Selecting Field Service Applications." 1 • Smart scheduling: Enables dispatchers to change- up schedules on the fly and have technicians automatically updated. Also sorts technicians by expertise, availability etc. for assigning new jobs. • Text notifications: Text notifications in this example are customer-facing and can be used as a service reminder as well as a notification either that a technician is close or needs to reschedule. • In-vehicle telematics: Keep track of mobile employees throughout their day so you can quickly assign the most closely located technicians to emergency jobs. Also enables monitoring compliance. Mobile Technology - Field service is mobile by nature but sometimes it is an add on feature of the software. The technology that best supports field service workflow is usually the technology that's built to travel. Instead of re-entering data at the office, many field technicians now work from tablets and smartphones, update job statuses while they do the work, print invoices and forms on a mobile printer, or even obtain digital customer signatures on their mobile devices. Job Tracking / Work Order Management – If scheduling and dispatch are the central hub of your day-to-day operations, work orders are the information that passes through that hub. Managing work orders by hand is simply impractical. With a work order management system in place, you can send digital forms containing everything your technicians in the field need to know about their next job. Once a job is complete, technicians can go into the system and update the status of the work order. This feature allows you to streamline your work process, prioritize service requests, assign requests to technicians, and track job status. • Record job details: Record customer information and details of customer issues so that technicians are well- informed for the job. • Track job status: Dispatchers and other back office employees can track when technicians complete each job during the day. • Mobile forms: Enable technicians to formally record notes on valuable job and customer information as well as potentially open or extend work orders for unseen issues. "What is Field Service Management Software? FSM helps you get the right technician to the job, prepared and on- time, gives the technician access to the necessary information while they are there, and enables real-time transfer of information regarding what happens on- the job to the back office."

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