Technology is like a magic wand that can resolve the majority of operational challenges faced by businesses across different industries. The only thing that businesses need to get right is to know their bottlenecks, understand the technology solutions available, and incorporate those solutions before it’s too late.
Focusing on the plumbing industry, this blog has listed down a few of the operational challenges or bottlenecks typical to plumbing businesses. Going forward, the blog will talk about five field service technologies that will dominate the plumbing industry for being the ideal solutions to the common challenges of the industry.
The Challenges of a Plumbing Business:
- Lead distribution: Evenly distributing the leads among the team members to ensure no one is overburdened or no one is sitting ideal
- Skill-based work scheduling: Not adhering to skill-based work scheduling reduces the first-time effectiveness. So, many times, this also leads to repeat visits and causes overhead expenses related to fuel and gas. Repeat visits for the same project mean blocking the resources. This restricts businesses from taking up new revenue opportunities.
- Managing ad-hoc service requests: Plumbing service requests are mostly ad-hoc only. Unlike maintenance and repair services, plumbing services are not requested by clients on a pre-scheduled basis. So when ad-hoc service requests pop up, or even when a schedule gets canceled, reshuffling and readjusting the schedules of the plumbers becomes a challenge. The reschedules are also to be made considering aspects like the availability of the plumber, his proximity to the job location, and his skill set.
- Meeting clients’ expectations of turnaround time: Clients dealing with plumbing issues demand quick turnaround and want their issues to be resolved at the earliest. Thus, plumbing businesses work under constant pressure to deliver the services at the earliest possible time.
Five field service technologies that can resolve the operational challenges of a plumbing business:
1. Automated Scheduling and dispatching:
Automation in job scheduling is something that every plumbing business needs, without that, operations almost get crippled. Plumbing scheduling software can automate job scheduling. The software has modules to track the live locations of the field agents, their schedule calendars, and their skill sets. Accordingly, the software identifies who is the rightly skilled, nearest available plumber for any particular job request.
Automation in job scheduling makes the process very prompt and error-free. Through simple drag-and-drop features, the service manager can make adjustments to the schedule calendars, and reshuffle the schedules.
The software even sends automated schedule reminders and notifications to the plumbers, so that they can be timely informed of their newly made or changed schedules.
2. GPS Location tracking:
Concerning the issue of quick turnaround time in plumbing services, GPS location tracking can help a big time. Using plumbing business software, the service managers can track the live locations of the plumbers who are working in the field. Then the software can automatically estimate the proximity of the agent to a job site, including factors like traffic. Accordingly, the software can plan the optimum travel route for the field agent, and ensure they reach the job site at the earliest possible time.
3. Cloud Knowledge base:
One of the prime reasons for the on-job inefficiency of field agents is the lack of real-time access to information, data, or knowledge. It is hard to predict at what point in time, a field agent may get into the need to access some information or knowledge, it can be a troubleshooting tutorial video parts information, or anything. If the field agent had to call someone in the back office to retrieve the information, then that would be a waste of time- a productivity leak. Thus, in field service, it is important to provide the field workforce with real-time access to a cloud knowledge base. So that without being dependent on anyone they can collaborate on data in real-time.
4. FSM mobile apps for field agents:
Plumbing service software also has compatible versions of apps for mobile devices. To provide the field workforce with on-the-move access to information, official self-service tools, communication platforms, etc., it is important to provide the field agent with the right kind of connected devices and a plumbing FSM application. Via the app, the field agents can always remain connected to other stakeholders.
5. In-built Smart Analytics:
To drive growth in any business, it is important to have good analytics-driven insight into the business performance. Thus, it is important to use plumbing management software that has inbuilt smart analytics to measure the important metrics that influence the productivity and performance of the business. Some of the key metrics that every leader in the plumbing business must measure are Service request volume, Service request backlog, No. of jobs done, mean time to complete the job, Average travel time, no. of repeat visits and technician utilizations. Smart analytics of plumbing management software can give a visual representation of all these metrics, and help businesses to make a more informed decision.
The final words
It is essential to keep track of the technology trends influencing your business. The blog has listed the five field service technologies that are dominating the plumbing industry. To stay ahead of the curve, it doesn’t take much time to adapt to these technologies with the aid of plumbing management software.