Every business runs on the right people - but the right people need the right tools to get the job done. Take a hospital as an example - not only is it staffed with highly educated and knowledgeable professionals with a deep understanding of medicine; but is filled with high-tech machines for everything from heart rate monitoring to performing MRI scans
For many field service teams, the hardware they deal with extends beyond their own tools and into the mechanical assets owned by the customer. For example, for an HVAC business - at a customer’s home, they’re managing central air systems, heat pumps, hot water heaters, air purification systems, and more.
Businesses that deal with the repair of a customer’s installed hardware not only need the knowledge and skill to keep these machines running, but thorough documentation on the service history of the installed hardware. Not only do they need to be able to diagnose and repair on site, but they need a way of tracking maintenance history - ensuring that these assets have the full-service documentation.
At ServiceBridge, our Asset Management Module allows field service technicians to create a record for installed hardware at a customer location. This record allows technicians to record detailed information about the asset including the model and serial number, create a service schedule for the asset, and attach forms or other documentation to the asset’s service history.
ServiceBridge Asset Management Functionality
ServiceBridge’s asset management module has been developed to assist service businesses that work with multi-location businesses. The need to separate and track assets becomes critical when dealing with multiple locations.
Let’s look at an example workflow to put things into perspective. Let’s say your service business has been hired to clean and repair kitchen appliances at McCheesie’s, a franchised service business that sells exotic types of cheese fries. You have a contract to provide services to their two key locations: Chicago, and New York. The key assets that need to be maintained are ovens and vent hoods
The issue with a standard work order for these assets is that the technician does not know the next service date needed to return on, or the model of that vent fan. If you had to buy specific parts that need constant replacement in the oven, a standard work order system wouldn’t allow you to plan for this - you would have to go to the restaurant, check the oven, then go buy parts - costing your team more time.
Now, imagine this example across thousands of restaurants. Each of them needing different services at different times, with different appliance models that require different procedures. Some restaurants may not even have the same set of assets that need to be maintained (i.e. a take-out only location vs. a dine-in location).
Using a paper process or standard work orders would make it difficult, maybe impossible, to capture this information and keep accurate records for hundreds, if not thousands of locations and each asset throughout the company.
ServiceBridge allows service teams that work with multi-location companies to keep separate customer records for each location; and separate asset records that are attached to that location:
By keeping individual location records, and individual records on each asset for each location; it becomes much simpler to manage multiple assets across multiple locations.
In addition, fields and forms in ServiceBridge can be changed to suit the unique needs of your business. With your asset record created; you can now create work orders for that asset and begin recording service history.
One of the most useful features within asset management is setting service schedules - specifying how often the asset should be inspected/serviced. In ServiceBridge, you have the option of choosing to set a service schedule; with the following variables:
Frequency: How often service is to occur (i.e. 15, 30, 60 days)
Threshold: Days before/after the scheduled date that service can occur (for example, 30 days with a 2 day threshold allows service to occur as early as the 28th day and as late as the 32nd day since last service).
Target Date and Time: Next scheduled service based on frequency. (If you created a schedule on October 1st with a frequency of 30; the Target Date would be October 31st)
Estimated Duration: Expected amount of time needed to perform service.
Earliest Arrival, Latest Departure: Specifies a window that the technician can perform the service in.
Scheduling Notes: Any other relevant information for the technician. (i.e. customer has dog, enter through west gate of building, garage code is 2442, etc.
Once an asset has been created in ServiceBridge; you can create a work order for the asset which will automatically populate with the asset’s details; and be tied to that asset record for reporting and compliance.
Benefits of Asset Management
With any software you rely on to run your business, you’re looking for benefits - processes and features that help simplify your workflow, allowing your team to be more productive, execute better, and delight your customers. Asset management assists in a variety of these areas, from scheduling to customer satisfaction and ultimately revenue for your business:
Service History: By having a unified record of all the work performed on a given asset, service technicians can better diagnose issues and improve first-time fix rates - or identify when an asset is a ‘lemon’ and causing an abnormal number of service calls, leading to replacement.
Warranty Status: Asset records enable field service teams to track the warranty status of installed assets; and the complete record of service history simplifies the warranty process with the hardware manufacturer.
Multi-Location Management: Asset management enables service companies to track assets across a network by creating individual records for each item at each location. For example, if you worked with a chain of restaurants, you can create a record for each location’s oven, vent hood, freezer and more; allowing administrators to maintain order even on large accounts.
Better Scheduling: By setting up service schedules for customer assets, dispatchers can create recurring schedules in advance, allowing them to forecast team needs weeks in advance.
Revenue and Reporting: With recurring visits, field service businesses can establish a pipeline of recurring revenue to fuel their business, making forecasting easier. Asset service history also makes reporting easier - to see which assets are requiring the most attention, and making changes to workflow based on real-time reports.
Happier Customers: Anyone who’s been home in the summer without working air conditioning will tell you - it’s frustrating. By utilizing service schedules, teams can ensure that their customers’ assets are properly maintained, and allows them to identify assets that are about fail so that they can schedule replacement, preventing frustration for customer and technician alike.
Not every business has to utilize asset tracking - for example, residential cleaners do not need a service record for assets, nor do they typically have hardware of their own that needs to be managed. For the businesses that do need it, the ability to track the status and service history of assets is of critical importance.
The most common industry that utilizes asset management and service history tracking is HVAC, both commercial and residential. The majority of HVAC service calls are to repair installed hardware at the customer’s business or home. These assets need to be maintained on a regular basis to ensure the health and safety of the customer’s location. These assets include
Central Air systems
Hot Water heaters
Air filtration systems
Venting systems, such as range hoods
On the residential side of the business; much of the asset management revolves around preventative maintenance and warranty claims - being able to track if an asset is still under a warranty contract or if it’s outside of warranty status.
Pool service is another vertical where the ability to identify and manage assets can make service calls more efficient and help promote preventative maintenance. Pool service companies can add heaters, filters, cleaning robots and more as assets tied to a customer with work order history; allowing technicians to ensure all pool hardware is up to date on required maintenance.
Beyond Preventative Maintenance
For HVAC businesses dealing with commercial customers, not only is preventative maintenance key but often these service calls are vital to keeping the business running. For example, one field service company we spoke to performs cleaning and maintenance on commercial range hoods in restaurants. If a restaurant does not keep its ventilation system in clean, working condition; the restaurant can be shut down due to health code violations.
Some of the most critical needs for asset management are driven by legal compliance and safety - two things that rarely come to mind when you see a service van driving in the streets or a maintenance technician in your building.
Regulation on the servicing of medical equipment varies by state and is an ongoing topic of debate at the federal level; and like most areas of medicine, regulations which medical device technicians are subject to are constantly changing. But the legal implications don’t end with only the relegations faced directly by these companies.
Medical devices can fall under scrutiny for both failure to perform (i.e. a scanning machine does not catch an ailment that should have been found and treated) and direct harm to the patient (a broken scanner runs too hot, causing burns). Both of these outcomes can open up hospitals to massive legal liabilities from the patient; which the hospital then turns onto the equipment servicer.
Documented service history, along with thorough processes; allow medical device repair firms to ensure equipment is in top working order and avoid legal ramifications from hospitals and patients.
Today’s high-tech world has brought mechanical hardware into every part of our homes and businesses - from your dishwasher at home to the scanning machine your doctor uses in the hospital. From cooling your house in the summer to saving your life; the machines truly have taken over into every aspect of life.
For field service teams, this represents two challenges - not only are they responsible to tracking and repairing more assets, but the assets they service are becoming more and more complex. Even the humble refrigerator has changed from a cold hunk of metal into a internet-enabled device that sends you a text to pick up more milk.
Managing service records for multiple assets across hundreds, potentially thousands of customers can be challenging - Asset Management provides the solution for these teams, allowing them to keep detailed records and create service schedules for all the hardware that their customers rely on.
The appliances and hardware that run our homes and businesses are getting more complex – requiring field service teams to implement systems for asset management to help them track the hardware they maintain.