FSM software is an application that allows the service providers, aka enterprises, to manage their everyday workload, which we are going to discuss throughout this article. But before we discuss that, let’s experience how their workloads and operations become services to their consumers.
Let’s talk about ordering a pizza from Zomato. Firstly, you will open the Zomato application (if installed on your phone/tablet), and you will look for your favorite pizza outlets/café. You order a pizza, and you also avail yourself of a discount coupon of 20%. You place the order and select your payment option.
The application shows you the estimated delivery time as well as you are able to track the location of the delivery agent and your pizza. Once your delivery agent collects your pizza from the café/pizza outlet, you can see the agent and a bike in real-time approaching the destination, with Zomato also providing you the estimated time to deliver the pizza. Once the agent reaches your house and delivers you the pizza, you get a notification from the application saying, “Your food has been delivered.” And then you can enjoy your delicious pizza.
This whole experience that we just discussed was from a user’s point of view where the user can interact with the flexible User-Interface (UI), and we experience these incredible services provided by various food-delivery applications like Zomato, Swiggy, Uber Eats and many more.
Field Service Management Software (FSM software)
Now, let’s understand the same phenomena from the service provider’s point of view. How does all this look like from their point of view? The software they make use of for these operations like to track their delivery agent’s location, assign them a delivery job and the delivery details, viewing their current job status, scheduling service orders, dispatching delivery agents, etc., is known as Field Service Management Software (FSM software). The right software solution helps automate these assignments and provide mobile access through a cloud-based platform.
Field Service Management (FSM) is a system for coordinating field operations through a mobile workforce. FSM has seen extensive use in many different industries, but distinctively those that employ mobile agents or contractors are waste management, utilities, telecommunications, public sector transportation like Uber and Ola, in-home healthcare like PharmEasy and food delivery apps like Zomato, Swiggy and Uber Eats.
FSM solutions can vary greatly depending on the type of industry and use-intent ranging from “best-of-breed” applications for order scheduling to all inclusive-products for enterprise use.
Let’s discuss in general some or all of the abilities one can see in a standard FSM platform.
1. Scheduling and order-management
- Now, let’s assume Zomato uses the FSM. Thousands of users will use their application to order food or groceries at the same time. They should have the manpower to satisfy the needs of all the consumers. Now, the scheduling of the orders works on an optimization algorithm.
- Suppose two users ordered some food items from the same restaurant or café. And both of the users live in the same area. The FSM software will schedule the orders based on time. Also, it will assign one delivery agent to collect the food from that particular restaurant or café, and that agent would deliver their orders respectively.
- In this way, they can minimize delivery time, and they can assign one agent for multiple delivery options for the same area. Also, they can schedule orders based on the time it was placed.
2. Vehicle/agent location tracker
- The FSM software will track the agent’s location through their software. All the agents are told to download the software in their cell phones, and they have to keep their location activated all the time so the service provider, in this case, Zomato, could keep track of where they are, and with the help of the algorithm by FSM, they can estimate the delivery time.
3. Job-status updates
- If suppose, some agents are busy on their respective delivery orders assigned, and some agents are free, or they haven’t been assigned an assignment yet. So, the FSM software can keep track of the current job status of all their delivery agents and, accordingly, assign them an assignment, i.e., a delivery job.
- Also, if you might have observed after the delivery agent delivers the food, they notify the service provider and, in this way, the FSM software keeps track of all their delivery agents.
4. Route optimization and GPS navigation
- The FSM software, as we discussed above, can track all their delivery agent’s location through their GPS. It can also help the delivery agents follow an optimized route to the destination.
- For example, telling the delivery agents to follow a route where they won’t get stuck up in traffic or following a short-cut to reduce the estimated delivery time and make the user happy and satisfied.
5. Time tracking and driver-logs
- The FSM software, as we have discussed above, can track their delivery agents and can predict an estimated delivery time depending on the time taken by the restaurant to cook the food + traffic + some unwanted problems like for example, if their vehicle engine stops working or they crash their vehicle, etc.
- Also, it will keep a log of the deliveries made. For example, delivery agent A made 4 deliveries in one day, so it will keep a log of the time he took to deliver the order + the user ratings, + the distance he traveled from the restaurant to the user’s home.
Now, it is also important to understand the industry trends that pirouette around some specific FSM features or aspects of implementation. This awareness, nonetheless, will help you choose a solution that offers the most optimal value and persistence.
Let’s discuss a few of them as well:
Mobile: Field service is mobile by nature.
Let’s go a few years back in time, and now, let’s think of delivery service. There were no internet services and the crazy technologies we live around today. Zomato during that time would be somewhat similar to Wall Street. There would be hundreds of staff receiving orders from thousands of users, and then the staffs have to walk down and place the orders along with some extra user requirements. Then, the delivery agents have to personally walk into the center and look for the orders they will receive. Again, in this case, there would be no optimization routes and services, and the delivery agents have to deliver the orders through the only routes they know, and it would have an estimation of even a longer delivery time.
Hopefully, that is not the case today. The delivery agents/ on-field agents just have to simply open their applications and just click something like “Work Done,” and the software, as well as the service provider, would be notified about the assignment completed. The field agents can just simply update their job status through their mobile phone instead of calling the service provider or entering the premises of the service provider and then standing in a long queue to enter the logs manually.
Again, if we consider the no-internet-services era example, this whole process of placing the order manually on a piece of paper and then assigning a delivery order manually and then without any optimization routes or order-management the delivery order has to deliver the food to the user within an estimated time. Plus, it would be such a drag to collect user’s special requirements like, for example, Margherita pizza with extra cheese and mushroom toppings and imagine this special requirement ending up at a vegan’s place, and it would just become a nuisance.
But with today’s crazy technology, with the software as a service, the software, with the help of multiple algorithms as we discussed a few of the above, could make this nuisance-looking-service look more manageable and flexible, and we are experiencing those benefits today.
It looks so easy as now, there would be very limited manpower at workforce to manage the software and the databases, and much emphasis can be put towards meeting user satisfaction.
Lower fuel costs:
Now, optimized routes would, of course, have the biggest benefit in terms of lower fuel costs. Through an optimized route, the delivery agents don’t have to follow the longer routes or the routes where they’re sure to get stuck up in traffic.
With the help of Google Maps, the agents themselves can look for efficient and optimized routes in order to deliver the order as soon as possible. Remember, a hungry user will never give you five-star ratings.
Faster first-time job success:
The delivery agents can enjoy more first-time job successes with the help of FSM software. Now, through the FSM software, they can access diagnostic tools and manuals that can help them get the job done properly and successfully in the first place.
For example, if they get lost, they can use the software to redirect them to the proper routes, and that would save time instead of asking people around them. If a user cancels the order, the delivery agent would be notified and then he/she can turn around and deliver their other orders in that area.
Better accounting and Data Entry:
Now, in the back-end, it would be easier for programmers or Tally accountants to enter the data in their spreadsheets easily. They just have to look up the agent’s log record and distance traveled, and they just have to enter the log in their respective spreadsheets.
Nowadays, they don’t even need accountants for this. The implementation of Machine Learning algorithms and AI can do that work for you, saving manpower and plus for free. It would be so weird to pay your AI robot.
An organization’s ability to deliver fast, efficient solutions through a mobile workforce like the FSM software may be the only difference between leading or trailing behind in today’s unprecedented market. FSM nowadays is not only a weapon used by big enterprises; even small start-ups have started implementing these operations to compete with today’s world. It’s a necessary tool for your survival and one of the best gifts you can give to your field agents. FSM is true, the incredible result of the crazy technology that would fit your needs at work.