From small businesses to large companies, technology improves the ability to access data, track progress, and redefine standard operating procedures. Today, a software program will link with a mobile device having a mobile app that serves as a user-friendly interface.
A business now has the capability of enhancing productivity with real-time updates and notifications that increase efficiency and workflow. A management system solution ensures that information quickly flows among customers, service teams and technicians, parts suppliers, and other users.
When taking a closer look, all team members typically benefit because of the ease of use involved with today’s systems. Much time is now saved compared to old ways of performing manual tasks such as handwritten service requests, orders, and invoices.
The process of digital transformation represents a step that streamlines services and workflow and provides current status updates. This transformation is evident in organizations with field technicians such as maintenance management companies and others in the service industry.
What is a Service Order?
A service order is a document that instructs a repair or maintenance staff member to complete tasks. Service orders are work requests commonly issued in maintenance departments, such as when repairs or other needs arise.
A service order might include a project summary, labor needs, addresses of facilities, and details regarding equipment or another asset. Managers or supervisors of maintenance teams often track work requests to generate reports, calculate expenses and travel time, and verify inventories.
Maintenance tasks in the realm of project or property management or service are often called deliverables. A deliverable might be either a tangible or intangible benefit such as a service provider responding to a regular maintenance task.
Maintenance requests are sometimes made using a work order, a term that is easily confused with service orders. A work order is a similar document that is used by providers of field service solutions.
Traditional Service Order Forms
In years past, service orders were generally written, paper documents that might allow errors from illegible handwriting. In many cases, preformatted service orders based on a generic template achieved simplicity but may not allow any customization.
Today, digital technology allows for generating these types of orders using a service or work order management software option. A service or work order software program or work order management system largely automates this process.
Service and work order processes now are often part of larger maintenance management software systems with many additional features. The best work order software today allows information to flow from a central location to field techs or other field workers.
In addition, service and work order systems might schedule preventative maintenance, allow schedule updates, manage inventories, and more. Asset management is now among the best practices that maintenance management systems and other digital technologies offer.
Field Service Management (FSM) Systems
TechnologyAdvice, a resource within the realm of business-to-business technology, explained the recent emergence of field service management (FSM) software. FSM software assists organizations that perform work such as installing goods or providing service or repair work involving equipment.
Traditionally, several primary types of employers come to mind as having a large number of field workers. For example, companies in telephone communication, cable or satellite television, utilities, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC).
However, the industries with many field workers include residential or commercial cleaning, property management, pest control, home care, etc. FSM capabilities assist with route efficiency, managing vehicle fleets, tracking fuel use, and vehicle maintenance costs and schedules.
FSM systems are often described as providing three “core” functions or services as follows:
- Managing documents: Examples might include service contracts, work orders, guides for installation, repair, or warranties.
- Customer relationship management: Here, the system provides documentation of completed communications and operations and may perform automated marketing tasks.
- Telematics: Allow for monitoring of assets that are used in the field such as staff members, vehicles, and equipment.
Some proponents of FSM systems find that they can enhance customer service and improve client retention. Improved customer outcomes may result from more accurate scheduling and the simplicity of disseminating quotes and work orders.
FSM systems enable field technicians and representatives to maintain real-time access to information as if they were in the office. This interconnectedness and streamlining of operations also reduce opportunities for human error while also tracking the activity of field staff members.
FSM systems are sometimes misidentified or confused with customer relationship management (CRM) software systems. A CRM is a functional database that organizations use primarily for managing their prospective customers or current customers.
Largely used in the realm of sales and marketing, CRMs should improve strategy and analytics while simplifying operations. A CRM serves as a centralized source of information, assuming that users are properly linked.
Some features of a CRM are also found in FSM systems including the management of leads, documenting customer interactions, etc. By comparison, an FSM system is typically much more dynamic compared to a CRM and represents a more sizable purchase.
Service Work Order Software Solutions
Within the FSM software category is service work order software, which facilitates the aforementioned service order process. Service work order software helps with integrating office-based and field-based staff in performing maintenance or repair work.
Service work order software options now offer traffic reports, may identify misapplications of company resources, and much more. These systems may or may not include a customer-facing module or platform with possible self-service options.
Service work order software usually creates detailed work orders as needed in an electronic format that is easily transmittable. For example, when customers have self-service access, they might make a repair request that automatically triggers a work order.
The systems may assign specific technicians for a work order based on areas of expertise, schedule, or geographical data. For example, you would not send a plumbing-related order to a technician that works exclusively with access control and security.
Inventory-related capabilities might include real-time updates of stock levels as technicians in the field deplete them. Often, these systems will automatically compile purchase orders for stock replenishment and may automatically alert the purchasing department as needed.
Electronically generated and transmitted invoices allow customers to approve them instantly. Field service staff may capture a customer’s signature on-site using an electronic signature feature on a mobile device.
Using the Cloud
Put simply, “cloud” computing refers to a process of saving and accessing information via the internet instead of on a hard drive. Cloud computing might involve accessing programs, such as services that are hardware or software-based using the internet.
In the past, local storage was used instead of cloud computing, where information was accessed from your hard drive. Local storage meant that the stored data opened rather quickly, but required a connection to a computer or other network location.
Viewed from another way, storing and accessing information within a home or office network is not a cloud-type arrangement. Cloud computing always involves using the internet for access to data and may allow for processing enormous amounts of data.
Larger businesses rely on the cloud for using Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications, which are typically based on a subscription model.
Another option using the cloud involves Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) applications that allow access to hardware and software needed for customization. Here, all users in a company may access an application that is easily customized for their purposes.
The PaaS and SaaS models have similarities, with PaaS allowing an organization’s developers to customize the software as needed. PaaS is seen as being scaled for their business by choosing a tier or level that is appropriate.
For comparison, someone might use cloud computing similarly to how a home or business might use utility services. For example, a home may use gas heat; however, the user isn’t required to generate the resource on-site (in-house).
Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) describes a model that includes servers, ample storage capacity, and any necessary software. Like the SaaS and PaaS models, the IaaS customer uses only the resources they need while providers handle costly management duties.
Larger organizations operating in the IaaS space include AWS and Microsoft Azure. IaaS allows for streamlining the infrastructure involving hardware while still retaining the resources necessary for supporting their needs.
Proponents of IaaS typically emphasize how the model offers superb reliability because resources are flexibly shifted and prepared when needed. IaaS supporters applaud the safety benefits when applying XML authentication, XML Encryption, and the best practices for logging and reporting.
SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS all represent a public cloud model that multiple different users will access. The public cloud is distinctive from a private model in how the user might “privately” maintain their application.
Examples of cloud computing system applications that may deliver customer satisfaction include Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud Platform. In many cases, prospective customers might familiarize themselves by testing the application in a free trial.
Work Orders in Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS Software)
CMMS solutions offer advantages including centralizing information regarding maintenance, streamlining processes, and achieving greater efficiency through automating many routine tasks. CMMS software is comparable to software used for work orders, such as allowing for merging all related information in one place.
Work order software options are clearly more focused on the processes associated with work orders. CMMS options expand into a broader area such as maintaining inventory and managing assets.
Organizations that use CMMS systems are those with equipment, which may be a part of a small or large operation. It may assist with documenting labor activity, allow for generating real-time maintenance and repair activity and review past activity.
CMMS solutions can encompass machinery, facilities, fleets, and other critical aspects of an organization’s key assets. In some cases, historical data, such as that compiled in hard copy format must be entered, transferred, or otherwise integrated.
Performing preventive maintenance activities is still the responsibility of skilled technicians or other staff members. However, automated activities include work order creation, managing inventories of parts, and reviewing data to make smarter decisions.
Both front-line service personnel and management benefit from these systems, which may help with audits and documenting compliance. Maintenance personnel remains a necessity that isn’t replaced by these systems but serves to improve or enhance worker activity.
Another variation of these systems is now referred to as enterprise asset management (EAM) solutions. An EAM system may contain both a work order management module and a CMMS component.
EAM capabilities may include a more detailed approach to the overall management of assets. For example, assessing data regarding design, installation or implementation, ongoing maintenance, decommissioning, and more.
Considerations When Choosing Service Order Software
- The onboard process: The ease (or complexity) involved with setting up the system—strive for user-friendliness and intuitiveness.
- Adaptability: The application should allow for some customization that adapts to your unique workflow. At the same time, the system might reveal efficiencies that you hadn’t thought of before.
- Employee (HR) management capability: Look for an option that makes managing employees easier. For example, the software might allow the automation of potentially burdensome tasks regarding payroll or timekeeping.
- Tools and modules that integrate: The option should free you from some of your paperwork associated with schedules and orders, which transition to the cloud.
Dynamic Web-Based Application for Janitorial, Maintenance, and Engineering Service Providers
Did you know that Ranyan’s software system was developed in response to the needs of a commercial service provider with remote employees? In today’s highly competitive commercial janitorial and property maintenance environment, service providers must integrate technology into their daily business operations.
Many professionals that now use Ranyan’s comprehensive property maintenance solution express disbelief in how dramatically their operations have improved. In fact, many of these satisfied clients describe themselves as usually “late adopters” of technology.
Part of the reason why users choose Ranyan is that the transition is seamless. As an industry-specific solution, our clients immediately recognize that the software functions in a way that makes sense.
At the same time, new tools and features are continually in development, often in response to user feedback. Owners and managers of companies operating in this industry appreciate how Ranyan centralizes and simplifies their responsibilities.
We look forward to demonstrating how you, your employees, and your clients will benefit from Ranyan’s tremendous capabilities.
Contact our sales team today for additional information.