Managing Field Technicians: How Technology Lowers Risk

dennis@fieldpulse.com | March 10, 2020

fleet tracking

As a service business owner, it can be difficult to know what each of your field technicians is doing or where they are at any given time. These employees may be driving company vehicles, transporting and handling expensive equipment, and interacting with your customers. Field personnel are valuable resources but those resources come with risk. As an owner/operator, you feel this reality every day — these employees are out of sight but definitely not out of mind. Since you can’t follow them to every job, how do you set your teams up be held accountable and ultimately succeed? The answer is processes, policies, and controls.

Training, rulebooks, and disciplinary codes can only do so much. Field technicians need to follow a specified process for their workday that is documented, audited, and controlled. But what kind of processes should they follow and how do we know they were followed? Modern software solutions likely hold the answer.

Checkpoints and Check-Ins

To create your field technician’s workday process, you should begin by defining checkpoints along their journey that allow managers to ensure that the job schedule for the day is on track. It is critical to know when your techs start the workday, depart from and arrive at jobs, complete jobs, and when they end of workday. These checkpoints will allow you to deduce windshield time, average durations for various types of jobs, and so on. It’s best to start by defining the basic checkpoints, focusing on the ones most easy to capture in order to focus on implementing these checkpoints without slowing down your field technicians performing their work.

Some of these checkpoints are very difficult to capture and manage by hand. It should surprise no one that modern workforce management software, such as the FieldPulse platform, allows field technicians to easily and quickly log comments or status updates with a few clicks or taps. Anytime a job status changes, the change is timestamped and geotagged, leaving a consistent body of data that informs both intraday decision making and more strategic business planning for the long term. Whether you’re keeping the day-to-day running smoothly by monitoring and adjusting the schedule as needed or identifying your most effective employees for compensation opportunities, the data captured by a location-based mobile service management platform is the key to improving your business. It can also help you build your own A-team and protect against undesirable employees by seeing if they are on-time and honest about their on-the-job effort.

Fleet Management and Tracking

Most operators of field service businesses understand the risks presented by the mix of employees, company vehicles, and the unfortunate things that happen on modern roadways. Fleet tracking software helps you reduce these risks by allowing you to monitor driving habits and location history of your trucks and vans in real time. GPS-enabled location based technology makes this about as easy as can be. While this technology exists natively in most modern smartphones, there are also devices available that plug into your vehicle’s onboard diagnostic (OBD) port. Many of these OBD-based solutions can capture data from the car’s computer, such as acceleration/deceleration, peak speed, fuel levels, idle time, distance traveled, geofence triggers, and virtually any other detectable signal within the automobile’s electronics system.

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