Deploying a business management solution is a challenge for many businesses—especially those who can’t afford a day away from their software. For growing field services businesses, finding the right solution is even harder due to the unique needs that present themselves. As a company with a storied history delivering ERP for field services businesses, we would today like to explore an overview of some of the things you should look for.
Focused AND Integrated Field Service Management Software Drives Business Further
In recent months, we explored the importance of finding a software option that’s both focused and integrated. While important for any business—manufacturing, distribution, ecommerce, etc.—this is especially important for field services businesses. Many field service businesses operate on tight schedules and tighter margins; technicians need to be in the right place at the right time with the right equipment, and if anything is out of place, your reputation suffers.
For field service businesses including A/V Firms, electrical contractors, HVAC companies, and more, business management applications need to deliver easy, low-risk implementation while offering real-time knowledge into inventory, labor, dispatching, and financials. This combination of focused and integrated allows for both.
- Focused—A Starting Point: One of the biggest challenges for businesses is the implementation and customization process. Starting with a product designed for field service businesses, customizations come more easily.
- Integration—Delivering Complete Visibility and Control: Field service businesses rely on a wide range of applications and need to combine financial management, dispatch/scheduling, time tracking, customer relationship management, inventory, and more. Learn more why built-in integration matters here.
Top Features You Should Look for in Field Service Management ERP
- In the coming months, we will discuss each of these in greater detail, but would today like to offer an overview and an opportunity to learn more:
Field Service-Focused Financial Management
The financial management functionality is the core of any business management software, and it’s no different for field service management. Workflows need to fit your unique needs, project cost tracking needs to handle projects both small and large or simple and complex, and focused revenue management that can handle deferred revenue under ASC 606. Add to this tax management, cash management, AP, AR, and more, and each function should bring your field service business closer to its goals.
Service-Based and Ongoing Billing
When running a field service company, you rely on multiple streams of revenue, primarily fee-for-service and service contracts. Each of these requires tracking, management, and the ability to handle payments. Managing each of these can be complex—fee-for-service could require invoicing functionality, mobile app payments, and more; service contracts require functional billing and recurring revenue management. Add to this repairs or maintenance under warranty, and the processes for each of these require your people to have the right information at the right time.
Inventory Control and Management
One of the things that separates field service businesses from other services-based businesses is the heavy use of inventory. In field services, tools and repair parts are typically spread across multiple vehicles and warehouse locations, and tracking each item efficiently is a necessity. This is especially so when companies install expensive equipment or work with a wide range of products that would be inefficient to store. Inventory optimization is a necessity, and every item—whether it’s on a truck or in a warehouse—needs to flow through the business. Integrating inventory and purchasing makes replenishment both easy and user-friendly.
Scheduling, Dispatching and Service Management
Scheduling the right people at the right time with the right skills to perform work efficiently is a necessity. A well-informed staff is a productive one, so understanding the who, what, where, why, and when of each customer can help your dispatchers take control and give your service technicians a better understanding of their clients.
While scheduling makes planning easy, dispatching shortens the path. For example, it’s a waste of time and fuel to send a technician out to the first call, then sending them 20 miles to a second, and then back 15 miles to an area close to the first call. Proper route planning should be part of any field service ERP, allowing technicians the ability to save time and stress going from job to job.
Equipment Management, Maintenance, and More
Informed and intelligent field service ERP doesn’t stop at the project level. Understanding time frames for each product in service, planning scheduled maintenance, and reducing the time spent repairing a product by keeping it running smoothly.
Dashboards and Business Intelligence
With all of the functionality required, understanding it is another challenge. Enter dashboards and business intelligence, tools that allow every user to see a customized view of what matters in real-time, using easy-to-read visuals. Need to see who is bringing in the most revenue? Which managers boast the highest levels of customer satisfaction? Leverage multiple sources of data to understand what’s happening with a few clicks.
Acumatica: The Ideal Solution for the Field Service Industry
Since releasing their field service edition, Acumatica has continued to deliver on their highly focused, extremely usable product to simplify the process of managing finances, installing and maintaining products, and working with technicians to deliver exceptional service. At Cloud 9 ERP Solutions, we have a history of successfully delivering Acumatica for our field service clients, especially those in the A/V industry. Learn more about Acumatica, read our success stories, and contact us for a free consultation.
Or, learn more in our on-demand webinar: How to Leverage Business Software for AV + Network Cabling Service Companies