- Posted by Fayez Moussa
- On 28/07/2021
In the Australian field service industry, paperwork is part of the job description. Businesses can spend a lot of their resources staying on top of all the paper floating between back offices and the field, from work order forms to invoices. As businesses grow, paperwork only becomes even more difficult to handle and field technicians often drown under the pressure.
Luckily, there’s a simple way to fix these issues: get rid of your paper-based processes. By digitising paperwork, your field service business can save a considerable amount of time and money. Here’s how it lets you do just that:
1. Reduce manual data entry
One of the major drawbacks of paperwork is that it subjects field technicians to slow and monotonous data entry. On a typical service call, field technicians are required to fill out work orders, compliance reports, progress logs, time cards, and invoices. They’ll then bring those paper forms back to the office and manually enter information into a database. However, data entry errors and job delays are bound to occur when technicians are required to decipher their handwritten notes. In other words, every minute your field technicians spend entering data or correcting their mistakes is lost revenue for your business.
Cloud-based field service management apps like WorkBuddy eliminate these laborious, error-prone tasks. Technicians can simply record data and fill out reports on-site with their mobile device. The data is then automatically processed into a database, so there’s no need to go back to the office and do the same data entry task twice. Field technicians are essentially free from their clerical workloads, allowing them to focus on more important tasks.
2. Manage on-site operations with electronic forms
To coordinate with field technicians and ensure they meet certain work standards on-site, you can’t just rely on flimsy paper checklists. Fortunately, WorkBuddy software includes a user-friendly form builder that allows the back office to create various electronic forms, from compliance checklists to job hazard forms and to-do lists. It offers a wide selection of default checklists that apply to many jobs, but you can also customise new forms for highly specific jobs.
Your dispatch managers can send these electronic job forms directly to field technicians via the cloud. On-site workers can then fill out these forms from their mobile device and send them back to headquarters using WorkBuddy’s technician portals. That means field technicians don’t need to waste time driving back to the dispatch desk to pick up paper forms and sync up with everyone.
3. Automate back office processes
Going digital enables your company to automate many of its back office workflows. For example, you can design a workflow in WorkBuddy that instantly sends field and expense reports directly to appropriate staff for verification. Then, another pre-programmed workflow can use data from expense reports, service rates, and price books to automatically generate invoices. These invoices are then sent back to field technicians so they can bill clients on-site and get paid faster.
Beyond invoicing, you can even automatically schedule work orders based on technician availability and qualifications. The point is, the time and money savings resulting from automation is massive. Back office staff can complete multi-step processes within minutes and would never have to waste time passing documents on to the right person.
4. Build an intuitive database
Keeping a detailed record of work orders, invoices, and other documents can be tricky when everything is done on paper. You’ll have to manually sort which documents to keep, create a filing system, and store them properly in filing cabinets. As your business grows, you’ll eventually have rows of filing cabinets filled to the brim with documents. This system is incredibly inefficient when you have to retrieve old records, and that’s assuming documents were filed correctly.
With field service management software, there’s no complex filing system involved. Instead, all reports, contracts, invoices, and work order information are automatically stored and indexed in a centralised database that users can access anytime. If employees are looking for specific documents, they only need to enter a simple search query. This is particularly helpful for field technicians who want to check service histories and work order details for their next job on the go. Back office staff will also be able to retrieve invoices, financial records, and service contracts in seconds, allowing them to complete their administrative duties more efficiently.
5. Gain complete visibility over your business
Digitising paperwork allows you to better monitor your company’s workflow and correct issues that may occur. In fact, field service management software can display work orders, schedules, and checklists in an operational dashboard. This dashboard makes it easier to see any scheduling conflicts with your field technicians, assignments, and material deliveries. Also, if there are delays with a job, you can drill down into checklists and field reports to understand what processes were overlooked and instruct field technicians on site.
Additionally, when you digitise financial paperwork and load them into your accounting database, you can gain valuable insights into your company’s cash flow. This will help you identify seasonal revenue trends and adjust your spending accordingly.
If you’re tired of dealing with tedious paperwork, WorkBuddy is the solution. Our field service management system offers plenty of features that can boost your company’s efficiency. Request a free demo today to see how WorkBuddy cuts down field service paperwork.