In today’s competitive economic environment, productivity is a top priority for every organisation employing field service workers. Above all they need to be confident that staff members who are out of sight are still always performing at their optimum level.

It’s been well documented that even 15 to 30 percent improvements in productivity can be the fundamental difference between a business that is a loss making enterprise and one that is profitable.

One sure-fire way of increasing productivity, and thereby ensuring a healthier bottom line, is streamlining and speeding up the processes around jobs – the time it takes to change a gasket or fit a widget may be fairly constant, but it’s all the extraneous processes supporting that core task that eat into an employee’s time when using traditional manual methods.

So what are some of the most common manual processes that currently consume your employees’ valuable work time?

Job scheduling: before a task can be addressed, it must be scheduled, the first stage in any task completion cycle. With manual calendars or even online spreadsheets it may be necessary to cross check several source documents for a worker to ascertain availability and suitability for a proposed job.

Quote preparation: doing this manually can be one of the biggest consumers of time there is, often requiring multiple phone calls or emails to suppliers and/or providers, searching for particular parts and then gathering all the relevant details of locality, price and availability before relaying these to the prospective customer or client.

Viewing, adding and updating jobs: for every job that runs smoothly from start to finish, there will be another that needs rescheduling, have its details changed or be cancelled altogether. Perhaps the worker or the customer is away ill or a part isn’t available – and it’s necessary to start the process from scratch. Disposing of or updating the paperwork in such cases is time wasted with nothing to show for it.

Time tracking: looking at watches and diligently filling in start and stop times for job completion may seem like a minor requirement, but when every minute counts in the productivity stakes, pausing to complete paper-based forms is another 60 seconds lost when that worker could be back behind the wheel and heading to their next job.

Compliance requirements: another complex and detailed task is referencing all the correct compliance regulations during a field service task. Consulting paper-based manuals or individual online references is laborious and time-consuming, compared to sophisticated field service software that can provide such information at the touch of a button.

Payment logistics: certainly there are very few companies or customers out there that are still paying by cheque, but raising invoices and entering details for electronic banking can still take up valuable time. An integrated automatic billing system takes all the stress and manual calculation out of the equation and, again, leaves the field service worker free to concentrate on their core responsibilities.

Retriever Communications’ field service worker software will automate and streamline a whole range of processes that previously required manual input – saving time, effort and, above all, the costs associated with decreased productivity.