Field Service Operations

Field service operations are prone to uncertainty. Even the slightest change in the schedule of service technicians or unavailability of parts could disrupt the whole operation. Although organizations are relying on systems and tools to develop resilience against uncertainty, the complexity of operations makes it difficult for them to prevent disruption.

In the face of uncertainty and resulting disruption, the growing maturity of emerging technologies is a sigh of relief for field service organizations. According to the global consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, technology advances could lower the cost of operations by 10-40%, improve productivity by 20-30%, and reduce repeat visits by 5-20%.

No field service company could resist these temptations, which is evident in the increased adoption of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), internet of things (IoT), and augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR). Field service solutions powered up with these technologies could transform your operations, enabling you to boost productivity and profitability.

Here take a look at the 5 products backed by emerging technologies that are widely used for transforming field service operations.

1. Asset management software applications

The field service industry has witnessed a surge in equipment maintenance software applications. These applications come with a range of data analysis tools to help detect anomalies in the equipment before the system breakdown, leading to low maintenance frequency and reduced downtime. The technique is known as predictive maintenance, wherein sensor data is collected, processed, monitored, and analyzed to understand the condition of the equipment.

IBM’s Maximo is one of the leading products in this segment that provides intelligent asset management, predictive maintenance, and computer vision in a single platform. Its capabilities are built on AI, IoT, and analytics to extend asset lifecycle, optimize asset performance, and reduce asset downtime. The top benefits of the Maximo application suite are:

  • AI-powered monitoring, inspection, and predictive maintenance
  • Analyze historically and real-time assets to monitor equipment health
  • Protect critical infrastructure assets and provide warning signs of potential issues
  • Offer AI-infused insight to identify anomalies in data and figure out maintenance/repair issues

Maximo is followed by Microsoft Dynamics 365, ServiceMax, ServicePower, UpKeep, Fiix, and ServiceChannel. Each of these products has made significant contributions to the way industrial equipment is monitored and utilized.

2. Remote assistance  

Our top pick for remote assistance is Microsoft HoloLens. Microsoft is truly an industry leader in the domain of assistive technology with its revolutionary product HoloLens-2. The product is based on a mixed reality technology solution that creates a simulated environment to get a real-world view of the physical environment and simultaneously get data insight to identify patterns and anomalies in the system.

The new Microsoft HoloLens-2 creates a larger field of view for field service technicians, enabling them to detect physical objects in the real-world environment. They can identify a maintenance/repair issue and with a simple click of the holographic button could open the instruction to fix them. It is backed by an ARM processor, Azure Kinect sensor, eye-tracking sensors, and an 8-megapixel front-facing camera for video conferencing that makes it a remarkable product to be used by field service technicians to detect an issue and seek guidance to resolve them.

3. Field service management software

A typical field service software provides a digital platform to a range of processes such as scheduling and dispatch, work order management, inventory management, and so on. Here you may find a standalone solution for each process or a product that covers everything from work order to invoice and payment.

In this segment, companies with large and complex service operations are quite aware of their requirements and a few bigwigs that cater to their needs. The major problem is with small and mid-sized field service organizations who find it difficult to choose a product specific to their business requirements due to excessive commoditization.

A reliable solution for them is FieldCircle’s field service management software, highly configurable software that easily adapts to any service operations workflows. It allows you to bring every aspect of your service operations on a single platform and get actionable insight into operational performance. You can track and monitor every field activity and measure the productivity of your field teams in real-time.

4. Invoice and payment management solutions

All aspects of your field service operations boil down to invoice and payment processes. Proper management of your processes provides you more control over cash flows and profitability. In this segment of field service operations, QuickBooks has little competition.

This accounting software, managed by Intuit, helps you keep track of all your payment records associated with a customer or an asset and manage them properly on Cloud. With QuickBooks, you can create and send invoices, get a real-time view of your cash flow, and generate innumerable reports to stay updated. Besides, it could be easily integrated into your existing CRM or field service software to share or exchange data.

5. Mobile app for service technicians

Mobile apps reveal how well is the coordination and collaboration between your back-office staff and field service teams. If you hand a powerful mobile to your field service technicians, it becomes easier for them to check their schedule and field service dispatch details, receive notifications, access the information at the site, and keep track of their field activity. A company that makes it possible for your field teams to keep every information at their fingertips is ServiceMax.

While the market is flooded with mobile apps for service technicians, the capabilities offered by ServiceMax are unmatched, specifically for asset-centric field service management. As it completely automates the repair processes, the technicians have more information in hand to detect and resolve the issues successfully.

An Afterthought

These 5 products have changed how field service companies manage their field operations. They set the benchmark for field service management tools in the industry. All these products are focused to empower field workers and give managers and field service leadership teams more power in their hands. The makers of the tools have materialized the benefits of emerging technologies such as AI, ML, and IoT to make field service operations more resilient and profitable for the companies.

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