Construction is never static, and the construction work from the ancient times back when they built the ancient pyramids, up to today when they are building modern skyscrapers, construction has always been about people. And, in construction, these people are not always static in only one location – you have people driving supplies to one location to another, and you have people in the office, as well as people in the field.
To make sure that manpower is properly allocated and tracked, construction companies can benefit from a construction planning and scheduling software or a field service management software.
FSM (FIELD SERVICE MANAGEMENT): A DEFINITION
But what is field service management? In the most basic sense, field management is a system for coordination of the field operations through a mobile staff. This means planning orders for service, sending agents out, and following vehicle locations as well as job status. The right construction industry scheduling software for field management helps streamline these tasks and provide mobile access usually through a cloud-based platform.
Before, FSM software can only be afforded by big organizations, but with the advent of the Software- as -Service Model (SaaS), FSM has become affordable for even small service companies giving them a chance to compete with bigger organizations. This doesn’t mean that SaaS can’t benefit larger, commercial corporations, in fact, because SaaS is deployed in the cloud, even commercial organization can a significant amount of money because they don’t need to pay from expensive upfront licenses and even more expensive IT infrastructure. In addition to all of these, SaaS-based FSM software systems allow greater mobility since the system is accessible from any device with an internet connection rather than a limited physical network.
BENEFITS OF USING A FSM SOFTWARE
How can project scheduling help the construction industry through an FSM software? Statistics show that companies who have used FSM software saw an increase of as high as 47% in jobs completed per day. Here are some other ways that it can benefit your organization:
· SAVINGS IN FUEL AND OTHER AREAS
Companies involved in field service can radically cut drive distances and fuel consumption through route optimization and dynamic scheduling. In fact, delivery companies like UPS managed to save three million gallons of gas while testing a beta custom route planner as part of the FSM system.
FSM with advanced features usually come with built-in checks. These help you keep track of costs so that you don’t go over the assigned limits. The right FSM software allows you to give your clients cost estimates in real time, or you can give your field service agent the right to approve tasks before they start work. Some FSM software allows your agents to generate costs, and get client permission on the spot.
· REAL-TIME MONITORING OF WORKFORCE
It takes a lot of manpower to deliver great customer service, and if you are in the field service business, this boils down to the way you manage your service technicians out in the field. One of the important features of a good FSM software is its ability to manage your resources – in this case, manpower. Once your technicians are dispatched to different locations, the right FSM software will allow you to monitor the technicians as well as monitor their work continuously so that you can dispatch your technicians as the situation arise.
· INTEGRATION WITH BACK OFFICE SYSTEMS
A good FSM software can integrate with different back-office systems to help you streamline a lot of processes and reduce the workload. A lot of FSM software packages allows integration with accounting systems like SAGE and Quickbooks.
FEATURES OF A GOOD FSM SOFTWARE
While it is true that scheduling software requirements for the construction industry vary, below are some basic features that you can expect from a standard FSM ( Field Service Management) Platform:
- Job status update
- Time tracking and driver logs
- Scheduling and order management
- Vehicle location tracking
- Route optimization and GPS navigation
- Inventory management
- Customer portals
- Integrated invoice/payment processing
- Mobile access
A company’s ability to deliver fast and efficient workforce can be the difference between a successful construction project and an unsuccessful one. Field service software nowadays is no longer an option, but a necessity, and it could be one of the most worthwhile investments that your company ever makes.