Those in HVAC, or really any field service-based industry would benefit from Acumatica’s recent series of posts about how to optimize various aspects of business through Field Service Management ERP.  They have posts that cover dispatching and route managementinventory and equipment maintenance, and customer service.  In this post, we will go over each of these topics in order to give a holistic perspective on optimizing HVAC field service through modern technology.

Faster Dispatching And Route Management

One of the core processes of an HVAC service business is scheduling, dispatching and managing technicians in the field.  It’s vital to the success of the business that you are able to dispatch the right technician to the right location in as timely a fashion as possible.

There are three major variables when dealing with dispatching and route management:  GeographyAdjustments, and Variables such as inventory availability. Geographic scheduling allows your team to organize a technicians appointments on Google Maps so you can visualize where each appointment will occur and make better decisions on dispatching.  That being said, changes are unavoidable as emergency service calls come in to knock a carefully made plan off its tracks.  Visual dispatch boards easily allow scheduling teams to examine the impact of sudden changes and adjust accordingly.  Even then, if you don’t have the right parts in the right place you’re wasting your time and resources by sending technicians into the field unprepared.  By tracking inventorycustomer and equipment history, and other variables, you’ll get the right people and parts to the right job.

By visually organizing schedules, adjusting routes as unavoidable changes occur, and tracking variables like customer history and inventory you can save your business time and money while enabling your technicians to do their job as effectively as possible.

Mobile technology is becoming a must for any field service business.  Without it, technicians are forced to hand-write paperwork in the field which causes inaccurate data, delayed information sharing, and duplicate manual data entry.  Field Service Management ERP solutions allow your technicians to input data in the field, like time and parts used, leading to faster and more accurate billing, better customer service and warranty tracking.  Technicians can even take pictures or capture customer signatures with their mobile device to document the work done in the field for future reference.

Better Inventory Management And Equipment Maintenance

There are two major reasons that preventive maintenance is important: to maximize uptime and minimize costly corrective maintenance, as well as to meet regulatory requirements.  When HVAC equipment fails or breaks it will significantly disrupt a business or inconvenience a consumer.  Field Service Management ERP software can keep track of warranties and collect historical data that can be analyzed for patterns to create a preventative maintenance schedule.  There are a number of commercial industries that require regular system and equipment certifications which is another important aspect of preventive maintenance.  Your software solution will keep track of these important certifications for you to help avoid compliance and legal issues.

Inventory management is especially challenging in for field service businesses like HVAC companies because you need to have the right parts available in the field.  Having the right amount of parts sitting in a warehouse doesn’t help you, you need it at the appointment with your technician.  It’s impossible to carry significant quantities of expensive parts in service trucks, so you must balance supply and demand very carefully.  Field Service Management ERP treats field service vehicles like mini-warehouses and inventory are controlled at that level through automation of the receiving and picking process.  You always know what is available and what is on order.

Tracking serial numbers is a vital component of any maintenance business.  For some, after the equipment is sold and out of the supplier’s inventory, they have zero visibility to the location or usage of the product.  With Field Service Management ERP, you’ll be able to track serial numbers after the sale to track warranties, upgrades, and any other pertinent information for the product using the serial numbers.  This includes unlimited different components and even multiple serial numbers for the same equipment.

Optimize Customer Service

There are three key pieces of information that Field Service Management ERP provides to help field service businesses focus on putting the customer first and optimizing their customer service: Getting the right person and parts to an appointment at the right time with faster billing.

There’s no bigger blunder for a field service business to suffer than sending the wrong repair person for the problem.  Precious hours are lost, business is left on the table, and customers are unhappy.  By tracking serial numbers, customer history, and visual scheduling available in Field Service Management ERP, you’ll make sure the person with the correct knowledge, skills, parts, and tools arrive every time.

Another major industry blunder is when a technician arrives hours late for an appointment.  Even if there was a good reason like an emergency call elsewhere, the customer is left inconvenienced and unhappy.  With mobile tracking and calendar boards, your dispatcher will know when a technician is running late or pulled away, allowing your team to notify any affected customers of the change if necessary.  Whatever the solution, with mobile connectivity you’ll be able to figure out a solution in that moment rather than hours later at the expense of your customer.

Billing has always been challenging in field service because of the massive amounts of paperwork and manual processes associated with all of the moving parts of the business.  Of course, information will be lost in all of that shuffle and bustle.  An integrated Field Service Management ERP system alleviates this problem by allowing technicians to convey information clearly and immediately, with mobility.  With convenient functionalities like voice dictation and on-premise printing, your staff can focus on making the customer happy instead of sifting through piles of paperwork.

Recap Of Processes

  1. Customer calls in.
  2. Customer history is made available to service representative.
  3.  Service order is created and simultaneously scheduled.
  4. Service team receives the order.
  5. Call is routed in service management module.
  6. On site, time spent, parts used, and appointment notes are inputted through mobile on premises.
  7. Invoicing and billing is done without delay or data re-entry.
  8. Your business gains another happy customer.

No duplicate entry.  No lag time. Happier customers.  Everyone has instant access to information, on the go. Sound like the type of system your HVAC business could use? Contact us today to learn more!

Or check out our infographic, “7 Benefits of Field Service Management ERP Software,” our HVAC Industry Spotlight, and View the 30-minute on demand FSM ERP for HVAC Webinar


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