Going paperless: What does it really mean for field service management
14 December 2022
Field service businesses spend a lot of effort moving job sheets and paperwork around, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
In almost all areas, it’s now possible to get rid of paper entirely.
How? With digital field service management.
Moving to a field service management platform makes it far easier to store, send, share, and search than manual paper-based processes.
In fact, we believe contactless, cashless, and self-service mark the new standards for field service management.
If you want to learn about how to go paperless and what it really means, read on 👇
The new way of managing field service businesses
Just quickly before we get started, we wanted to cover something off. If you’re on the fence about digital field service management, we understand why. For many field service businesses, paper versions are comforting and it can feel daunting letting go of what is considered a safety net.
But, in reality, it’s holding your business back because it drains resources and leaves businesses time-starved. As well as these other issues…
The Old Way
The New Way
❌Reams of paperwork in different places
✅Everything and everyone organised in one place and all up-to-date.
❌Slow invoicing (or not invoicing at all!)
❌Inefficient routing and scheduling
There’s also a risk to competitive advantage. With almost half (48%1) of field service businesses having moved away from manual processes, they’ve got the ability to meet today’s customer demands.
Did you know? 89%2 of customers now expect to see modern, on demand technology applied to their engineer scheduling.
But what does ‘going paperless’ really mean?
What going paperless means for field service businesses
In short, going paperless is storing and organising all important documents, files, and job sheets, digitally, rather than using physical paper. This not only eliminates a ton of manual work, but also allows engineers and back office staff to access information all in one place — even from their smartphone or tablet.
While the thought of going paperless can seem overwhelming, when you break it down step by step, it really is straightforward.
Want to see how easy it is to go paperless? Let’s find out. 👇
How field service businesses can go paperless with BigChange
Technology is a crucial enabler and can make it much simpler to start going paperless straight away.
In fact, by using a digital field service management platform you can:
- Embrace the cloud – store documents in the cloud and ensure support is on-hand with office and field-based teams connected in real-time.
- Use automated invoices – using automated digital invoicing eliminates the need to print, write-out, and post invoices and other documents.
- Create digital maps and routes – increase the number of jobs your team completes each day with intelligent route scheduling.
- Make all your contract workflows digital – alerts can be created to remind you when key dates – such as contract renewals – are near and automatic emails can be sent to customers to remind them (like when a service is due).
With this in mind, here are the *exact* five steps you can use to go paperless…
5 steps to take your field service business paperless
1. Capture: Bring all paper-based processes into BigChange
Your paperless journey starts by capturing all paper-based processes in one place. And that’s where the tech comes in. With the right system for capturing everything in one central cloud location, your entire team can quickly and easily access the information they need.
There’s quite a lot you can do here with BigChange. Here are just a handful of ideas:
✅ CRM: This can help you quickly automate a number of processes; quotes, contracts, purchase orders, credit notes, invoices, job notes, required attachments such as images, contracts, site maps, and so much more.
✅ Job scheduling: Easily see unscheduled jobs, job scheduling, regular route-creation, job information (current and historical), resource availability and have this all mapped on one searchable team calendar.
✅ Stock & equipment: You can even visually see stock and equipment levels and location plotted on a map and review what stock is held in which vehicle at any time.
✅ Fleet & resources: Get full details on fleet and resource information — including skills certification, service dates, and more. Plus, set email alerts for easy maintenance. And manage driver and vehicle safety with daily timesheets and regular vehicle checks. Also, defects reported on vehicles can have alerts against them so that you can take immediate remedial action.
2. Integrate: Connect all your systems together
In addition to capturing all your paper-based workflows in one place, it’s important to have a system that connects other digital processes and software.
For example: Integration with tools like Google Maps and what3words help engineers to quickly find the precise location of a site. And it helps the back-office teams track where engineers are for quicker rerouting to local emergencies or additional jobs.
Another example is financial software. Tools like Xero and Sage 50 can integrate with your BigChange job management software to automatically sync invoicing to customer records. 👏 Say hello to speedy, accurate invoicing, prompt payments and better cash flow.
3. Process: Improve your workflows
🔍 Let’s dive straight into an example: Worksheets are a great place to start. Replacing traditional paperwork, online worksheets allows field workers to complete paperwork on their devices — and even get customer signatures.
This replaces the need for systems like whiteboards or cards and lots of paper. And since many field workers don’t go into the office daily, they might post completed paperwork to the office. This can get lost, they can forget to do it, it causes delays, and there are stationery/postage costs.
In BigChange, once it’s on the system, it’s there for everyone with adequate permissions, all the time. So it simply can’t get lost. There’s no double-keying. And a full audit trail is available in a searchable form.
4. Access: Retrieve documents anytime, anywhere
This is where having a cloud-based system really pays off. Our clients find it so helpful to always have every important document at their fingertips, whether it’s on a computer or mobile device.
There are so many times when field service engineers are out and away from the office and they need to pull up important documents in just a few seconds.
Plus, as we’ve briefly touched on earlier, it also allows engineers to be dispatched to an emergency job without having to return to the office first — and yet still have full job details and historical customer information available.
🔍 For example: Maybe you’re at a client’s premises and need a copy of a site plan, or a specific risk assessment. Maybe you’re servicing a machine and need a copy of the certification to provide to the customer. Or, you might even need to provide professional certifications for site administrators.
The convenience is incredible.
5. Collaborate: Get your entire team on the same page
Another huge benefit of going paperless is the collaboration options. BigChange has powerful features that make it easy to share job sheets and documents with both engineers and back office workers.
🔍 For example: If the back office needs approval from a customer before ordering a new part, the field engineer can capture the customer’s scanned signature on site within seconds.
Also, it can help with collaborating with other field service businesses. Contractors can access it to see job scheduling, to complete minor reports and to get customer sign-off.
How paperless field service businesses boost sustainability
Going paperless provides businesses with the benefit of streamlined processes, cost savings, and efficiency. It can also play a role in addressing broader sustainability responsibilities.
For instance, with more efficient job scheduling, you can optimise engineers’ routes, so that they attend multiple local sites in one day.
This helps to:
- Avoid unnecessary travel
- Reduce wasted fuel
- Reduce the environmental impact of the business
- Reduce wear and tear on vehicles, saving company costs.
With BigChange, you can even monitor driver behaviour with alerts and reports that highlight idling, speeding, and harsh acceleration – all of which harm the environment.
📕 Want to learn more? Read more on reducing your carbon footprint here.
Ready to go paperless?
While it can feel like a challenge at first, going paperless should surely be a consideration for any forward-looking field service business in the digital age.
BigChange is the ideal combination of an all-in-one job management platform with an easy-to-use visual layout. It also has additional CRM functions like a customer portal, pipeline data, and live opportunities, as well as advanced search filters. There really is nothing else that compares.
Plus, we continue to add new features to help your field service business grow. You can see example use cases and results right here.
It truly is the optimal tool to eliminate manual work and go paperless 📰
So, what are you waiting for? Go paperless today. Book a quick demo with BigChange.
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