I haven’t penned down my thoughts for a while now and just when I was wondering on the topics or use-cases to touch upon, my attention was drawn quickly to one of the most recurring and discussed implementations and also easily the most quizzed subject, Inventory movement and management in field service. Although there isn’t much to write home the differences regarding general Inventory Management or Warehouse Management as compared with Field Service industry, still the latter remains to be one of the most miss-managed areas and components of field Service. As we see almost everything going increasingly mobile, lets see how integration can help in effectively achieving higher efficiencies, productivity and eventually customer satisfaction.
To understand how mobilization & Integration can improve inventory management, we must first understand some of the inventory issues currently plaguing service departments. The most common and costly issues stem from a service department’s responsibility to get the right parts to the right customer in the most efficient manner possible. This responsibility has escalated recently as customers are constantly demanding better service and inventory costs continue to rise. To remedy these concerns, organizations need to master these three parts & inventory best practices.
- Organizations need to set up an early warning system that can alert field managers as to low inventories and other key business conditions.
- Organizations need to make their technicians a more integral part of the spare parts and inventory management process by adapting to Mobile or handheld devices.
- Organizations need to leverage data collected from the field in order to improve their parts planning and forecast.
- Organizations should look to have an integrated environment with back-end systems to handhelds with constant or real-time data exchanges happening across the board.
Precise and coordinated inventory management is vital to the success of a service department, so the level of functionality that system alerts provide can be a driving force behind improving processes and cutting costs for the organization. And coupled with the other features that mobile field service software provides, inventory alerts make service organizations extremely efficient with such an integrated environment.
Since each technician carries, unloads and stocks specific spare parts, giving them the ability to monitor and update their inventory from a mobile device can greatly simplify parts management. Top-class field service software like ServiceMax and the likes allows technicians to track and search spare parts in their service van, other technicians’ vans and the company’s warehouses and facilities. With parts visibility across the board, techs know where and how to quickly acquire parts needed for their work orders when they don’t have them stocked in their van.
Integrated SAAS –
In recent years, the introduction of software-as-a-service (SaaS) pricing models has made FSM an attainable pursuit for even smaller service companies, which gives them a chance to compete against larger corporations. Examples might include window cleaners, landscapers, or plumbing and HVAC technicians. Instead of paying for an expensive upfront license and even more expensive IT infrastructure, businesses can pay a monthly subscription fee to access cloud-hosted FSM software. SaaS deployment also enables greater mobility, since the system is accessible from any device with a web connection, rather than an allotted physical network.
Furthermore, with an integrated environment, the visibility of information across the board like Stock on Hand for service parts for your REPs/ Technicians and then AR information like Invoices, SalesOrders in your accounting system as soon as they are generated by technicians on their handhelds, can all be imagined with a simple integration between your field service software and other systems like ERP, Accounting etc making your Organization a force to reckon with.