Lightning in a bottle: Field service and your ERP
Guest post by Jeff DaSilva, Business Solution Architect & Practice Lead, Nubik, a worldwide implementation provider and FinancialForce partner.
Many organizations today are looking for ways to obtain greater oversight of their field service operations, particularly when it comes to revenue and expenses and uncovering inefficiencies in the way they work. Consequently, they look for ways to equip those departments with the tools and data needed to enhance profitability, administrative efficiency, and above all, customer service.
Oftentimes this search for efficiency leads to unique challenges that require a complete customer view to resolve: siloed teams in the organization and poor resource allocation, for example, will contribute to the difficulty of managing field service operations.
Salesforce Field Service Lightning (FSL) integrated with your ERP can revolutionize the way your teams operate to deliver a faster, smarter, more personalized customer experience end-to-end. You may then be wondering: what are the issues faced by these organizations and how can they be resolved? Let’s dig in.
Issue #1: Too much paperwork
The use of spreadsheets and other paper-based systems to manage complex processes is fine for a small business. But as your organization scales, you need something manageable so you don’t end up wasting valuable resources when there’s an effective solution available.
Resolution: Field Service Lightning eliminates your reliance on paper-based systems by offering a fully automated solution that taps directly into your ERP to provide you with details in real-time from material and expense costs, to completion rates and more. This allows you to close your financial month quicker than before and optimize efficiency.
See how United Services Group uses FSL + FinancialForce to transform business operations
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Issue #2: Lack of visibility
It can be frustrating to receive a call from a customer demanding to know where your field technician is and when to expect them, particularly when you don’t have the answer at your fingertips. Precious seconds spent gathering information can turn a profit into a loss.
Resolution: FSL is an extension of Salesforce’s CRM. It has a number of features designed to mitigate these kinds of issues as they pop up. Dispatcher View allows you to identify where your field teams are at any given moment, follow work order progress in real-time, and file completions immediately after the job is done.
Issue #3: Scheduling constraints
Each business and location comes with its own challenges and constraints, whether it be remaining accessible to customers in remote parts of your region, or making sure your teams can service as many clients as possible in a day without losing time to inefficiencies.
Resolution: This is where FSL truly shines as it provides your teams with much faster service response time by optimizing resource allocation based on scheduling with business logic, CRM and/or ERP data. It ensures the right technicians are dispatched to the right jobs in priority order using optimal routes updated in real-time based on current traffic conditions.
Issue #4: Keeping stock of your stock
Another problem faced by any growing business is an inability to stay on top of increasing demands on your warehouse or inventory. Without a smart, capable CRM to keep everything in line, it can be difficult to track inventory levels, parts and tools, truck stock, and costs.
Resolution: FinancialForce ERP allows you to connect everything to your financials from products required, products consumed, van inventory, and more. Together with FSL you’ll enjoy real-time visibility for any given job and have a greater understanding of what’s required, what will be consumed, transported, and you’ll be able to track every dollar spent.
Issue #5: Complex installations
Complex jobs, particularly sequential work orders requiring multiple service resources can be a drain on any organization. It’s not easy to manage multiple stages of a large project that requires a multitude of skill sets and plenty of back and forth communication to get the job done right and on budget.
Resolution: FSL’s Work Order Management can break down tasks into multiple steps, line items, and create relationships to each work order, which can then be automatically converted to an order or invoice directly in your ERP. The result is lower leakage and more thorough billing of all services and inventory items.
Engagement to transaction
While field service teams are typically able to create and manage work, disconnection from a company’s ERP often results in a number of challenges for any organization both financially and logistically. Leveraging a broader view of your operation as a whole will not only save time and money, but further enhance your ability to track work and operations on every level, boost productivity, reduce revenue leakage, and increase customer satisfaction overall. A seasoned Salesforce integration consultant such as Nubik, can help put your plans into motion to bridge the gap between your ERP system software and your field force.