Field automation is transforming the way HVAC repair, maintenance, and installation services are managed and delivered. It is not just making it easy for the service providers to deliver the services on time but even better meeting the expectation of the customers. If you are an HVAC field service operator (FSO) or planning to venture into this domain of work, then here is a brief draft of how you can streamline and improve your field operations with the aid of field automation. There are three major advantages of automation- It helps the businesses overcome the field operational challenges, it improves the efficiency of the field workforce and it makes the business future-ready.
What are the key processes in your HVAC businesses that need to be automated?
1. Job scheduling and dispatching: Effective job scheduling and dispatching of the right technicians for the right job at the right time is critical for the successful delivery of the services. Without automation managing the schedules of the technicians, while ensuring that there are no scheduling conflicts is not just difficult, but also highly time-consuming.
2. Communication: What are the job schedules for the day, where is the job site, is there any change in the schedules, what is the service history or customer detail, likewise there is so much information that needs to be timely communicated to the technicians.
3. Route planning: Difficulty in locating the job site, traffic jams, wrong detours, such traveling loopholes can take a major dig in the productivity of the technicians.
4. Data collaboration: As technicians work at out-of-office locations, access to information or data often becomes a challenge for the on-the-move technicians, as they need to depend on back-office staff for that. Dependency on others delays the process of information transfer.
5. Other processes or aspects in HVAC services that need to be automated are invoice generation, field data capturing and data analytics
How to achieve field automation?
The simple way to achieve field automation is through HVAC service software. These are field service management software, specially designed for addressing the operational challenges of HVAC services. The HVAC management software can automate all the processes mentioned above. It can track the right technician for a job by analyzing the availability, location proximity, and skillsets of the technicians necessary for a particular job. Schedules are made automatically through simple drag and drop methods or a few clicks. Also, through automation in route planning, the HVAC estimating software automatically plan the optimal route to travel through multiple locations, avoiding traffic jams and wrong routes. This way it ensures that technicians reach the job site in the shortest possible time. Thus, using the software, the manager can track the on-field movements of the technician or the fleet and estimate their travel time and committee an accurate service time to the customers.
HVAC management software facilitates automation in communication, and ensure that without or with minimal human intervention, technicians do get timely notifications and reminders in their personal mobile devices so that they don't miss on any job schedule. The software facilitates on-the-move data collaboration as it functions as a centralized database on the cloud, wherein all the enterprise data can be stored and accessed remotely with valid access permissions. The software provides offline support also, wherein it stores the data locally in a low-connectivity area and auto-syncs the data, once the connectivity is resumed.
The future of field services lies with high-end technology like augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things. And the journey of technology up-gradation starts with automation. To become resilient in the current market, and to become future-proof, and also to enhance operational efficiency, HVAC FSOs must shift to automation with the aid of HVAC management software.