How to Reduce Paperwork with Field Service Management Software

By Service Geeni Team | 07 Jun 2024 | 4 mins
Reducing paperwork in field service management

7 ways to reduce paperwork and human error in the service industry

No-one likes paperwork, but it’s something that’s just got to be done… Or is it?

If you work in the service industry and have ever despaired at the amount of paperwork you have to get through, there might be a solution. A service management tool could help reduce paperwork and human error by streamlining and automating tasks. Make the computers do the paperwork, leave yourself more time for important human things.

While every service business is different, here are some examples of how a service management tool can help eliminate paperwork and reduce the risk of human error.


1. Create Digital Work Orders:

Old world: In old world scenarios, a member of office staff would take a phone call from a customer and then manually create a paper work order. They might add a job into a spreadsheet, or maybe even write jobs in ‘the book’.

New world: Office staff can enter the details into the service management system and a standardised work order is created digitally, ready for distributing. In some cases, customers can even enter their own work order details through a customer portal or system integration, cutting out the ‘middle-man’ to avoid misunderstandings.

Benefits: Fewer mistakes made, avoids the issue of illegible handwriting and lost documents, speeds up the process of creating and issuing a work order. Information collected can be standardised.


2. Digital Scheduling and Dispatching:

Old world: Office staff would pass along details of work orders to engineers in a variety of formats. Sometimes over the phone, sometimes via email, sometimes as photos or scans of notes, maybe simply in a text message with limited information.

New world: Office staff can pass on the full work order easily to the engineer’s mobile via service management software, including all the information the engineer needs. Notifications alert the engineer to a new job and give them the details needed.

Benefits: Office staff don’t need to worry about relaying information to the engineer, or forgetting to send the job across. The system makes the whole process simpler. FSM software will also help office staff quickly find the most appropriate engineer for the job.


3. Provide Mobile Access:

Old world: Engineers might have a paper job sheet, or instructions over the phone, or an email. Details are sometimes lost and messages confused or forgotten.

New world: A field service management system allows engineers to access job details, service history, stock and parts etc. The engineer can then input required job notes and forms directly to the system via the app.

Benefits: Do away with any old paper-based systems and provide your engineer with something much more robust and informative, and allow engineers to input information onsite without the need for rekeying.


4. Manage Inventory Digitally:

Old world: You’re on a job and you need to replace a part. In the old world you’d probably make a call to check stock. In the old world you’d probably also be tracking and ordering stock manually.

New world: Check stock directly on the mobile app, and order any parts you need via an integration with a third party supplier (e.g. TVH). Service management systems often also allow you to automatically order parts when stock levels reach a minimum amount.

Benefits: Ensure you always have the right parts for the job. Hold stock you commonly need, rather than items that will sit in a van or the back of a stock room for years. Save time ordering common parts manually, and avoid the risk of errors when doing a manual stock check.


5. Automate Invoicing and Payments:

Old world: Sending (sometimes handwritten) notes back to the office for admin staff to write up and add to the system, for accounts staff to write up again and add to an invoice, to be attached to an email (or even printed and put in the post) and sent on to the customer.

New world: Create an invoice automatically via your service management tool, pulling in all the information directly, and send it via the platform to the customer.

Benefits: Less room for error and much less paperwork. A faster invoicing system also means improved cashflow.


6. Compliance and Certifications:

Old world: Let’s take F-Gas, for example. In the old world an engineer would fill out a paper form on site, then pass this onto the office for them to pass onto the governing bodies and relevant associations who could run the necessary checks and pass a certificate back down the chain. Any issues or communication errors delayed the already lengthy process. A customer would have to create time-consuming reports manually for any audit.

New world: An engineer completed the necessary checks and associated form digitally, on-site. A certificate is produced electronically there and then and shared and filed appropriately.

Benefits: Faster process with less room for error and on-hand reporting for audits.


7. Integrate with Other Systems:

Old world: Lots of different pieces of software for different areas of the business, non of it talking to one another. You would need to move information across manually, dipping in and out of several systems, which is annoying and time consuming.

New world: Integrate your field service management software with other systems you use. For example, if you have a separate finance tool (Xero, Sage… etc), or CRM. Let the systems do the work so you don’t have to.

Benefits: Less chance of human error, avoids duplicate tasks and manually moving data around. Integrations streamline operations and improve security. Using one single course of truth for all your data means you can also improve visibility and communications between departments too.