Best Practices for Deploying Reliable Work Order Apps
Field service technicians managing work orders with mobile apps face a number of challenges every day. There are several key ways that can help create a better work order app experience for field technicians as well as customers. From tracking fixes in real-time to mainstreaming devices and apps so that everyone can communicate effectively, there are several best practices that can have a positive impact when deploying mobile work order apps.
Work Order Apps for Multiple Mobile Devices
Keeping a workforce connected and efficient often requires the use of work order apps that can be used with multiple devices. Creating a system that allows field workers to use a wide variety of mobile devices to gather and relay information increases accuracy and improves speed. The use of barcode scanning and radio frequency identification, also known as RFID, creates a number of shortcuts and improvements in data management.
There’s more to creating and managing work orders with mobile devices than offering a smartphone to a few employees to use in the field. The process must be scalable for it to work efficiently. If any of the information isn’t updated in real-time, anyone attempting to access or use the data is at a disadvantage.
Inventory Control Dashboard
Purchase order processes and budget management can have a strong impact on work order management. In relation to inventory management, it can be difficult to know when to reorder certain replacement parts and components. The most common parts should ideally be kept on hand for immediate replacement in the field. However, knowing what those parts are and when to restock them can be a challenge. Having dashboard indicators built in to reduce inventory of spare parts while minimizing wait times and backorder delays is an important component of inventory control. It can also reduce downtime for the repair itself.
Tracking communication among workers in the field and the central back-end application makes work order management more efficient. The apps should operate on the same platform, rather than having one person using email while another makes phone calls and a third uses text messages to communicate with the work order center. This requires a standard for communications devices and their use cases.
One advantage of using mobile devices in the field is that it cuts down on travel time and downtime. More efficient scheduling offers increased performance and lessens customer frustrations. When mobile workers spend less time traveling back and forth from the central office to field destinations, they spend more time with clients and working on equipment. Studies show that this increases customer satisfaction and retention rates. Updating the status of field technicians improves the ability to properly schedule work orders in the most efficient manner.
Where applicable, performance management best practices for field workers go one step beyond scheduling, including the ability to fill out and return electronic forms that are easy to use, offering mobile printing capability and implementing GPS. Field techs can put in part requests, view work orders, provide electronic or printed receipts and report to their next customer ticket location with little fanfare. The GPS can also serve as an identifier to link the order to the location. This is especially helpful in cases where field techs are assisting offline customers or those with incorrect database information.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
The option to BYOD is one facing many businesses today. While it can work to a company’s advantage, it can be detrimental when best practices aren’t implemented. For example, lack of security can result in the compromise of personal data and proprietary company information. Not all mobile devices can communicate with each other and not all of them have the same capabilities. As a result, the user experience may be different across the board. Implementation of apps and platforms to integrate communications should be standard for all devices, whether they are furnished by the company or BYOD.
When implemented using best practices, mobile apps can make work order management easier and more efficient. These work order apps must be scalable, efficient and work appropriately for field personnel to provide the best usability and performance.
You can learn more about reliable work order apps for field service management via our comprehensive guide.