What to Look for in a Mobile Field Service Management Solution

Mobile Field Service Management Software Office Functions

Office Function

Description

Customer File Maintenance
  • Interfacing of data originating from CRM, contact management and/or financial systems to provide up-to-date/synchronized information flows.
Installed Base Maintenance
  • Automatic updating of installed base records for moves/adds/changes, or when parts are used during a service call.
Service Agreements Administration
  • Interfacing of installed base, billing, call handling, and parts databases to determine entitlement and billables (becoming increasingly customized).
Order Entry
  • May range from a complete manual interface to a customer-controlled
    interface where the creation of a work-order is an escalation step; heavily dependent on the complexity of the equipment and/or software.
Scheduling
  • Utilizing real-time location functionality to make the most efficient dispatch decisions usually driven by response times as delineated in service agreements.
Dispatching
  • Assigns field technicians to customer sites, and balances the workload; should also have the capability to seamlessly allocate inventory and ship parts.
Installation Planning
  • Generally driven by equipment availability and supported by an interface with the logistics function and/or purchasing module (some complicated projects that include design/site readiness, software development, etc. may require an add-on project management tool).
Help Desk
  • Customer support functionality built on a foundation of electronic documentation, decision trees, case-based reasoning techniques, and knowledge-based tools.
Reporting
  • Financial, for billing, post-calculations and cost tracking/allocation; Operational,
    for process control and management; and Analysis, to assess processes and drive process improvement, inventory investments and customer satisfaction.
Logistics
  • Principal elements are forecasting, planning, purchasing, warehousing, replenishment/auto-replenishment, emergency parts ordering, returns handling, depot repair, and inventory control (often linked to ERP and Supply Chain Management systems.).
Purchasing
  • Provides a direct link between the cost of the purchased goods and services to the billing side of the business.
Selling
  • Facilitates the real-time ability to quote/price goods and services (e.g., service agreements, parts and accessories, T&M support, etc.).
Billing
  • Generally interfaced to the organization’s financial systems so that invoices can be created in real-time, directly from the field.
Communication
  • Real-time, wireless data communications enable organizations to instantly link their office functions with the mobile/field workforce.

Mobile Field Service Management Software Field Functions

Field Function

Description

    Maintaining the Schedule
  • Interactivity between field and office functions allows for scheduling information to be updated without the need for a telephone.
Activity Tracking
  • Direct integration into a front-end application, so that information can be transferred in real-time to update office records.
Time Tracking
  • Integrated into the front-end application so that a single entry will allow information to be distributed to multiple modules.
Expenses
  • Built into the front-end application, so that a single entry can be linked to multiple parts of the office system, expediting account reconciliation.
Inventory
  • Provides for real-time trunk inventory tracking, parts ordering, and automatic replenishment.
Reporting
  • An automated, easy-to-use, virtual Field Service Report, containing the appropriate information on areas including activity tracking, time tracking, expenses, parts used, etc.
Billing
  • Real-time field billing functionality (incorporating electronic signature capture) allows for automatic invoicing for service, parts and/or consumables, and accessories; linked to the main system for billing, and synchronization of information.
Notes
  • Functionality that replicates the field technician’s ability to record notes in the field about customers, parts, equipment, calibration, etc.
Documentation
  • Instant accessibility of support documentation (e.g., instructions, drawings, etc.) delivered via field communications devices.
Communication
  • Communication interface that can handle the required channels/carriers, for both voice and data communications.
Customer Information
  • Real-time access to customer information base, allowing for instant, and easy, updating of customer information from the field.
Installed Base Information
  • Ability to make installed base and configuration information available to field technicians in real time, and facilitate automatic updates.
Service Agreement Information
  • Ability to provide field technicians with real-time access to service agreement information to determine entitlement, customer billing, etc.
Selling
  • Provides field technicians with access to catalog and pricing information so they can sell consumables and accessories to customers while they are on-site.
Knowledge-based Systems
  • Provides field technicians with access to knowledge-based systems to assist them in the diagnosis process.

What Is Real Time Service and Why Do Field Organizations Need It?

Services organizations are what keep businesses up-and-running. Services and Equipment doesn’t run by itself – people make it run. But when the equipment or service isn’t running the way it should, that is when services organizations need to step in make it all happen. Every business’s service operation is comprised of a “collection of moving parts” – including service personnel, the call center, and the installed base of systems and equipment – and that all of these components need to be working together in order to solve customer problems. A strong Mobile Field Service Software is key to your business success.

Thus, it only makes sense that since system failures occur in real time, that system “fixes” should also occur in real time. This is the principal rationale behind what most industry analysts have seen as the market’s need for wireless-based, real-time service management.

Let Your Business Drivers Direct Your selection towards Bella Solutions Field Service Software

Whichever service management software your organization ultimately chooses, it’s most important consideration should be the ability to match the benefits of the selected package directly to its unique business drivers. As such, it is critical to identify your primary business drivers before selecting the vendor and package that best meets your requirements. These business drivers, or objectives, include:

Reduced Operating Costs and Improved Cash Flow

  • Reduced number of callbacks
  • Reduced use of vehicles on non-service related activities
  • Minimized time between work completion and invoicing

Increased Operational Efficiency

  • Increased service order completions
  • Improved resource utilization through more efficient dispatching
  • Better communication with field workforce
  • More accurate record-keeping
  • Automation of simple, yet time-consuming tasks

Improved Productivity of Field Service Personnel

  • More efficient scheduling and routing
  • Reduced wait time for contact, contract, or part information
  • Reduced paperwork

Improved Customer Service and Loyalty

  • Quicker response time
  • Increased number of calls completed on the first visit
  • Decreased billing disputes

Better Inventory Management

  • Reduced inventory levels
  • Improved re-order program
  • Higher inventory availability

Improved Tracking and Visibility

  • Electronic service orders ensure accuracy
  • Improved vehicle, inventory, and technician location capability
  • Real-time status updates
  • Customers can initiate and check call status online

Learn more at Bella Solutions

iPad and Droid Mobile Field Service Software Value Proposition

The benefits of mobile real-time field service software are many, both for the organization’s service personnel, as well as the customers they support. Through the use of online mobile workforce management the organization’s service personnel gain the ability to:

  • Anywhere, anytime access using mobile devices such as iPad, iPhone, Droid phones and tablets
  • Instantly view service level, equipment warranty, and contract information
  • Enter labor and travel times, record cause and repair codes, and allocate parts
  • Close and invoice work orders onsite with the customer

However, just as importantly, the organization’s service customers can also:

  • Take an active role in their own customer service
  • Electronically initiate service requests and monitor call status
  • Get immediate answers to their service questions online

This, in turn, enables the service organization to:

  • Manage its service and sales operations with one tool from a single source
  • Coordinate the actions of its service people, call center, and entire back office -continuously and seamlessly
  • Give its service people and customers online access to vital service information
  • Track the technician time and parts associated with each service call or contract
  • Set the stage for controlled inventory to help keep costs down
  • Facilitate the streamlined flow of information between and among dispatch, finance, purchasing, and inventory
  • Ensure that customer service level commitments are being met
  • Review comprehensive reports to get a clear picture of the operation’s profitability

Learn more at Bella Bella Solutions

SSL Encryption Implemented Providing Increased Data Security

Bella Solutions takes the security and privacy of your company data very serious when using our online service management software. We implemented 256-bit Secure Sockets Layer encryption (SSL) which secures your data when accessing information over the internet. This is the same technology used by banks, financial institutions, and most large companies.

In addition, your data is secure and backed up daily on our servers hosted at a leading managed hosting provider Rackspace.com. Rackspace offers a 100% Network Uptime Guarantee and considered one of the leaders in managed hosting. You own your company data and may freely export at anytime with our reporting features.

Learn more at Bella’s Service Management Software

Tips for Best-in-Class Field Service Management Firms

Field Service Management Tips along with using our flagship product https://www.bellafsm.com/

1) Invest more energy in forecasting and planning technician capacity and work order demand. About 58% of companies that participated in this study do not forecast service demand, and 63% do not forecast service supply, or they rely on spreadsheets for this purpose. With a more preemptive approach to service chain planning, companies can reach new performance heights with such tactics as prepositioning technicians to meet anticipated customer demand.

2) Adopt an enterprise-wide perspective. About 11% of companies surveyed currently optimize field service management software and delivery on an enterprise wide basis. The rest optimize on a divisional or regional basis, or not at all.

While it may be unreasonable to expect average or laggard firms with limited field service technology experience to immediately embark on an enterprise-wide deployment of service optimization, it should be every company’s ultimate goal to optimize on this scope. It might indeed be necessary for your company to begin with local or regional pilot programs to secure executive or IT buy-in.

But with an enterprise-wide view, a service optimization program can appropriately weigh all relevant schedule constraints, more effectively allocate human and inventory assets, and provide more accurate control and reporting of overall service chain performance.

Your objective should be to provide service consistency for customers who interact with multiple divisions or regions of your company. For instance, if one division offers 2-hour appointment windows, then all divisions should strive for the same level of service.

3) Adopt a two-pronged approach to measuring the efficacy of your field service management software efforts. First, track operational metrics that include the following:

  • First-call resolution rate
  • Average daily work orders completed per technician
  • Service contract compliance percentage
  • Average hours per technician per day spent working on customer sites
  • Percentage of work orders completed late
  • Average travel time per work order
  • Overtime hours per month

Just as importantly, if not more so, companies should also track customer-facing metrics such as customer retention rates, contract renewals, contract compliance, percentage of service contracts with priority-based time constraints, and service revenue growth.

It is critical for companies to adopt a customer-first mentality and weigh every decision regarding field service technology, process, strategy, and performance against the backdrop of customer impact.

Order Now: Field Service Management Software

Business Tips for Field Service Organizations Trying to Streamline Operations

1) Move toward real-time schedule assessment. Fully 74% of companies are either aligning service supply and demand on a daily batch basis or not at all. Due to the dynamic nature of the service chain, it is imperative for companies to more frequently assess the cost-effectiveness of their service schedules.

2) Document all constraints that impact field service work order allocation, as part of an initial requirements definition exercise. This will lay the foundation for building an optimization program that is aligned with your company’s unique business goals. As a starting point, consider constraints in these three categories:

  • Technician-based constraints (e.g., skill sets, physical location, local geographic knowledge, preference for location and type of work)
  • Environment-based constraints (e.g., road and weather conditions)
  • Business-based constraints (e.g., marketing campaigns, SLA commitments, overtime restrictions, customer preferences, inventory, equipment, and vehicle availability)

One European telecommunications company with 20 million customers found its requirements extremely complex, with multiple categories of asset type, technician aptitude, and geographic locale. The company opted for a real-time service optimization solution that allowed it to manage task interdependencies so the same technician could complete related jobs in the right order, with minimal waste and excess travel.

3) Take stock of your existing and planned technology investments. More than one third of companies interviewed rely on spreadsheets to schedule service work orders. But without the aid of service management software that can automatically calculate optimal workload allocation based on predefined and prioritized constraints, real time service optimization is impossible.

Companies that have already deployed ERP, order management, CRM, or service management systems are well positioned to add service optimization functionality.

When evaluating optimization solution providers, companies especially in the mid-market should be sure that full integration with existing systems is possible without unreasonable extensions to the implementation timeline or price hikes.

Mobility is an essential component of any service optimization solution to enable real-time communication with field technicians. Handheld wireless devices establish the critical dynamic link between service chain planning and execution. Companies should carefully weigh the costs associated with equipping their field forces with mobile devices and select a solution that delivers adequate functionality to the field and allows for rapid but cost-effective deployment and ongoing maintenance.

Announcing iPhone Compatible Mobile Field Service Software by Bella Solutions

Bella Solutions, a leading provider of Web-based Field Service Management Software announces a full featured version of their flagship field service software available for use on Apple’s iPhone providing a 100% mobile solution for Field Service organizations.

Reston, VA (PRWEB) December 18, 2009 — Bella Solutions leading Web-based field service software is now available for use on Apple’s iPhone. Their flagship service software is fully functional on the iPhone providing a low-cost and easy-to-use completely mobile solution. Bella connects field resources to back office data, schedules, customer data and history. As a result, jobs are completed faster, more jobs are resolved on the first visit, and job status tracking is improved, all of which enhance customer satisfaction and increase profits. For additional information visit https://www.bellasolutions.com

Scheduling and dispatching field service resources while managing operations are challenges for all organizations. Many businesses still rely on out-of-date software, paper-based, and telephone-based processes to connect field service resources with the office. Traditionally, field resources have been required to physically visit an office or call office staff on the phone to receive dispatch instructions and Customer history, which is costly and takes time that could be better spent servicing customers. At the remote service sites, field resources often did not have ready access to the information required to complete the service call on the initial visit. In addition, once a service call was completed, the need for completed forms and other documents delayed the closing of the service order, which in turn delayed billing and reduced customer satisfaction. Bella Solutions end-to-end web based solution has enabled field service organizations to automate their processes, thereby reducing office costs and increasing field service productivity.

Company officials stated, “Our state-of-the-art web 2.0 technology allows us to provide solutions for state-of-the-art products like Apple’s iPhone. This capability increases the reach of our product into new and different markets that have already adopted or planning to adopt iPhones into their business process to provide a competitive advantage.”

About Bella Solutions:
Bella Solutions provides Web-based Field Service Management Software or SaaS (Software as a Service) for the Field Service industry. The software solution provides the ability to streamline operations by providing CRM, Work Order Management, Scheduling, Equipment Maintenance, Employee and Vendor Management, Reporting, Accounting, and Inventory Management all from one application accessed from any computer, laptop, or PDA connected to the internet. Bella Solutions provide a simple and all-inclusive software application specifically created for managing field service businesses entirely through the Internet. No expensive hardware, no complicated software…just a user name, password, and a small monthly fee.

 
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Bella Solutions Announces Dedicated Custom Built Web-Based Field Service Management Software

Bella Solutions, a leading provider of web-based Field Service Management Software announces a cost effective dedicated custom software solution for medium to large size businesses. Bella will customize their flagship service software and host in a dedicated environment to meet the specific needs of a customer at a fraction of the cost of traditional client-server software.

Reston, VA (PRWEB) November 28, 2009 — A dedicated custom built version of Bella Solutions leading web-based service software is now available to organizations looking to streamline field service operations without changing the way they do business. Bella Solutions will customize a solution to meet the specific needs of a customer at a fraction of the cost of traditional client-server software. In addition, the software can be branded to the customer’s specifications and will be hosted and maintained in a dedicated secure environment.

While Bella Solutions leading field service software is currently customizable to meet many businesses needs, this solution takes it several steps further with Professional Services and providing a dedicated standalone custom version based on the customer requirements.

Scheduling and dispatching field service resources while managing operations are challenges for all organizations. Many businesses still rely on out-of-date software, paper-based, and telephone-based processes to link field service resources with the office. Traditionally, field resources have been required to physically visit an office or call office staff on the phone to receive dispatch instructions, which is costly and takes time that could be better spent servicing customers. At the remote service sites, field resources often did not have ready access to the information required to complete the service call on the initial visit. In addition, once a service call was completed, the need for completed forms and other documents delayed the closing of the service order, which in turn delayed billing and reduced customer satisfaction. Bella Solutions end-to-end web based solution has enabled field service organizations to automate their processes, thereby reducing office costs and increasing field service productivity.

Bella connects the field technician to the back office systems and customer data. As a result, jobs are completed faster, more jobs are resolved on the first visit, and job status tracking is improved, all of which enhance customer satisfaction and increase profits.

Company officials said, “The Field Service Industry has been continually asking for an easy-to-use low cost customizable solution. Our state-of-the-art web 2.0 technology allows us to provide the customization our clients need at an extremely affordable price. The response has been overwhelming”

About Bella Solutions:
Bella Solutions provides web based Field Service Management Software or SaaS (Software as a Service) for the Field Service industry. The software provides the ability to streamline operations by providing CRM, Job Management, Scheduling, Equipment Tracking, Employee and Vendor Management, Reporting, Accounting, and Inventory Management all from one application accessed from any computer, laptop, or PDA connected to the internet.

 
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Not taking advantage of service scheduling software?

Not yet taking advantage of service scheduling software, dispatching and other daily business tasks? Here are two Web-based solutions, which could get you to erase the whiteboard for good.

Aimed at helping small- to mid-sized field service businesses, and customizable for service contractors, each solution includes capabilities designed to facilitate customer relationship management and job scheduling, dispatching, tracking, billing and invoicing entirely through the Internet. The applications can handle multiple location operations. With either solution, the developer/host maintains the software and hardware for a very affordable monthly fee. There is nothing to download or install — users log in from any computer, laptop or PDA connected to the Internet in the office or in the field, or before or after hours at home.

Bella Solutions Field Service Scheduling Software v. 4.2

Supports company customization of estimate, work order and invoice PDF forms with company logo, terms and conditions, and other defined inputs for a minimal fee: $49 per month for the first user, and $10 per month for each additional user (a free trial is available).

The program enables scheduling of emergency, one-time, multi-visit or periodically recurring jobs with drag and drop appointments. Management can schedule by viewing the availability of an individual technician or by an available date and time on the calendar.

Diverse calendar views support viewing of schedules for individual field resources, groups or the entire company by day, week and month. A color coded calendar allows users to identify assigned employees, vendors, location zones and job status at a glance, which can be an aid in fitting in additional work. Users can schedule recurring appointments daily, weekly, monthly or yearly. The application integrates with Google Maps for easy viewing and printing of driving directions to customer locations. It also features a personal dashboard for each technician that displays only his or her assigned jobs and to-do list.

If a technician in the field carries an Internet-connected mobile phone or PDA, a scheduler can send a text message alert of any new or updated job appointment. The technician, in turn, can update real-time information, including labor hours and job costs from the field. In addition, Internet-enabled technicians in the field can create a job estimate onsite, during a service call.

Customer relationship management capabilities include contacts, locations and job history details, including labor hours, expenses, materials, equipment and notes. Equipment tracking, including make, model, serial number and full service history and warranty information, can also be attached to a specific job and work order.

Accounting features include the ability to create invoices for a completed job or for partial payment, and to track open, outstanding and paid invoices. If a company prefers, transactions can be exported to QuickBooks or other accounting software.

Contractors can give approved customers online access through a special customer portal, for an additional $25 per month per 100 customers, which provides numerous self-service options such as requesting a new job or viewing open work orders or job history details.

 
Order Now: Field Service Scheduling Software

Spanish Version of “SaaS” Field Service Software Now Available

Web-based Field Service software is now available to view in English and Spanish improving usability for international Customers.

Reston, Virginia, February 24th, 2009 – Bella Solutions, a leading provider of Web-based Field Service software now provides a Spanish version of their software. This enhancement provides increased usability for multilingual Field Service companies to easily integrate the software into their current business process eliminating the need to change the way they do business. Field technicians no longer have to physically visit the office or warehouse or drive inefficient service routes. Bella connects the field technician to the back office systems and customer data. As a result, jobs are completed faster, more jobs are resolved on the first visit, and job status tracking is improved, all of which enhance customer satisfaction and increase profits.

Company officials said, “Our international Customer base is growing. We will continue enhancing the software to provide a user friendly, flexible, and robust solution for the global Field Service industry.”

About Bella Solutions:

Bella develops and markets a web based software application or SaaS (Software as a Service) for Field Service companies such as Cleaning Services, IT Services, Contractors, and many more. Essentially, the software solution can be utilized in any industry that manages field sales and technicians or remote resources. Bella provides the ability to streamline business operations by providing CRM, Service Job Management, Scheduling Tools, Equipment Tracking, Employee and Vendor Management, Reporting, Accounting, and Inventory Management all from one application accessed from any computer connected to the internet.

Scheduling and dispatching field service and sales resources are challenges for service organizations. Many organizations rely on paper-based and telephone-based processes to link field service workers with the office. Traditionally, field resources have been required to physically visit an office or call office staff on the phone to receive dispatch instructions, which is costly and takes time that could be better spent servicing customers. At the remote service sites, workers often did not have ready access to the information required to complete the service call on the initial visit. In addition, once a service call was completed, the need for completed forms and other documents delayed the closing of the service order, which in turn delayed billing and reduced customer satisfaction. Bella’s Web-based technology enables field service organizations to automate their schedules and dispatch processes, thereby reducing office costs and increasing technician and sales productivity.