What are Field Service Management Solutions?
Field service management solutions are used to schedule, dispatch and manage remote technicians that provide services to your customers. These kinds of field services most commonly include installation, service or repairs of systems or equipment. The right field service software can help you improve the quality of services you deliver to your industrial machinery and heavy equipment customers as well as improve the utilization, training and effectiveness of your services resources.
How Field Service Management Solutions Reduce Downtime
Field service software helps you manage your specialized technical services resources to reduce industrial machinery and equipment breakages and downtime for your customers. There are several ways in which field service management solutions can accomplish this. Firstly, by setting up scheduled proactive preventative field services appointments, your technicians can regularly maintain and update industrial machinery and equipment. Secondly, in case of an unexpected breakage or other issue, field service management solutions make it possible for you to quickly dispatch the right technician with the right skillset and parts. Thirdly, if set up properly there may be ways in which operators or your field services technicians can use remote diagnostics and/or better communication tools help your customers get their machinery or equipment up and running more efficiently.
Using Field Service Management Solutions for Preventative Maintenance
Using field service management solutions, you can establish proactive, predetermined, preventative maintenance service schedules for your machinery and equipment. You don’t want to have to try to dispatch a field service technician at short notice after the industrial machinery or heavy equipment is down. This would be particularly true if the customer’s facility is hard to get to and/or the cost of downtime on the machinery is high. Instead, you would schedule preventative maintenance visits by a field service technician – no different than scheduling regular maintenance for a car. These maintenance schedules could be based on the usage of the equipment or be time-based or a combination of both. Even more effective is preventative maintenance based on the actual history of the specific machine and its current condition – in other words the schedule is refined after each maintenance visit.
Dispatching the Right Technician
Even with a preventative maintenance schedule, there are times when the unexpected happens. Even if you have a preventative maintenance schedule set up, the equipment could go down between the field service technician’s scheduled visits. You need to be able to get the right field service technician out to your customer right away. Field service management solutions can help ensure that the technician that is dispatched has the right skillset, access to the preventative maintenance logs, and all the parts needed to complete a first-time repair. In addition, with the right field service software, your field technicians can communicate with your in-office experts to get the best resolution of potential issues.
Using Remote Monitoring and Diagnostics
In the current IoT (Internet of Things) environment, more and more industrial machinery and heavy equipment systems have remote monitoring capabilities. Pulling machine data into systems that can analyze it allows your technicians to spot problems while they are still developing. Using remote system monitoring, technicians can use regression techniques to predict potential problems and address them proactively before they lead to failures. Pretty much all third-party IT/network support, for example, is performed using some kind of remote system monitoring tools in just this way. In addition to performance monitoring, many systems also have built-in diagnostic platforms that can be accessed remotely. Field service management solutions in conjunction with these kinds of monitoring and diagnostic platforms, can really cut down on your customers’ unexpected outages and downtime. You can also bill for these kinds of maintenance contracts rather than billing only when your technician shows up.
A Comprehensive Approach
To minimize equipment breakages and downtime, industrial machinery and equipment for your customers, you need need to use all of the above approaches: (i) regular preventative maintenance, (ii) quick dispatch of your specialized technicians when the unexpected occurs, and (iii) remote monitoring and diagnostics of the equipment wherever possible.
For a technical services and maintenance organization, getting the best results for your industrial machinery and equipment customers and the best utilization rates of your technicians also requires strong field service management solutions. With remote monitoring of machine data and available large language model AI tools (e.g., ChatGPT 4), many problems can be caught long before they cause failures. Using the preventative maintenance logs together with AI tools can also help transfer knowledge and skills between service technicians and create best-practices documentation. This improves the overall skill level of any service organization.
If you are looking to improve how you deliver field services, contact us today to learn how Accolent ERP delivers customizable, Cloud-based, field service management solutions.