April 14, 2021

Beware of Business Blindness: Why FSM Software Is Not Enough

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Two ships venture into the night. Bound for the same destination along an identical route, one ship arrives at port unscathed while the other ends up on the ocean floor. What happened that caused two similar ships to have such different outcomes?

It is a question worth asking here because this analogy and the two very different outcomes apply to field service providers. Two companies can have almost identical resources in terms of technicians, equipment, and market share. Yet one becomes a sustainable and growing enterprise while the other struggles to keep customers. Like the ships, the same course of action produces wildly divergent results: positive for one company and disastrous for the other.

In this blog post, we will explore the small but significant difference between these two companies. In our first-hand experience, success in the field service industry depends on one key characteristic that is easy to overlook or underestimate, but critical to possess: full visibility. It is what can keep a company sailing smoothly or whose absence can cause a company to sink.

Smooth Sailing Requires Full Visibility

To extend the metaphor, a ship’s captain and the leader of a field service provider share many of the same qualities and responsibilities. Both are laser-focused on the situation in front of them while simultaneously planning and preparing for the long voyage ahead. Both use all the facts available to them to chart the right course — one designed to bypass obstacles while moving forward as quickly as possible. And both have the fate of the ship, crew, and cargo (the whole enterprise) in their hands.

Now imagine the voyage we described in the intro. Both captains wanted to reach their destination, so why did only one make it? Because the successful captain knew that a harmless looking piece of ice was actually a massive underwater iceberg and prepared accordingly. Meanwhile, the other captain could only see the ice above water and continued ahead into disaster. One captain understood the full picture; the other captain only understood what was superficially visible and not what was below the surface.

How does this relate to field service? Smooth sailing, whether on the high seas or in competitive markets, requires a full understanding (and visibility) of what is happening. In practice, this means understanding the field service component, as well as other business operations components, and ensuring they are all taken into consideration when planning for the journey ahead. Very few field service companies actually have this understanding due to a lack of visibility. As a result, they may be barreling towards an iceberg about which they are completely unaware.

Lack of Visibility: How Understanding Goes Awry

Every field service provider knows they need a platform to manage where, when, why, and how they perform field service operations, and another to do the same for accounting and finance operations. What many do not understand is the need for these two systems to seamlessly integrate.

When field service management and financial management operate on separate platforms, it creates a deep disconnect that distorts how providers understand their own performance. The part of the company that generates revenue (field service) is siloed off from the part that manages revenue (accounting). By treating them as two separate halves instead of one integrated whole, the company is often at odds with itself. No wonder it overlooked the iceberg.

Here is an example involving a company that installs and services industrial equipment. The company enjoys brisk sales of a machine that bends pipes. Ongoing maintenance fees are included in the purchase price. The company knows how much it makes from sales. It also knows how many hours technicians spend working on these machines and what parts they use. But since this data lives on separate platforms, the company does not realize maintenance costs exceed profit margins. This company actually loses money for each of the machines it sells. However, it has no way of knowing this because field service data does not flow into the accounting system.

Now consider the alternative: a company with field service management contained on the same platform as finance, accounting, and the rest of the business. . As technicians log their hours, track the parts used, and get customer confirmation of completed work, that information flows seamlessly into the accounting side of the business. The company has end-to-end visibility into everything it does, bringing the big picture into perspective and uncovering vital insights in the process. This company can see the whole iceberg and steer clear, just as it knows where to find the tailwinds that will bring it to port faster.

Nothing matters more to a field service provider than having a single platform to handle everything. It can drive success, just as disconnected solutions can spell disaster. What is the technology scenario at your company? Are you prepared for a successful journey into the next port? Or are you on course to hit a submerged iceberg?


The Coast Is Clear: A New Model for Field Service Management

NetSuite has become one of the world’s leading Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) products thanks to the depth and breadth of features it offers. It offers something for everyone. Until recently, however, there was no option for field service management within the NetSuite platform.

There are multiple solutions available for field service management outside the NetSuite ecosystem, many of which offer robust features and functions, such as invoicing or inventory tracking, that make managing a field service operation easier than ever. As impressive as these solutions may be, none of them can do what a full ERP can do, and few of them run on the NetSuite platform. In other words, most field service management solutions on the market are either incomplete or isolated. All except one.

Next Service raises the bar for what field service providers can do, providing robust capabilities that help end users improve customer engagement, drive growth, and increase profitability. It is a field service management solution with all the features providers want (and more). Next Service also has one feature that sets it apart from all others: it was built to run on the NetSuite platform.

More than integrated, Next Service is native – built in, on, and for NetSuite. Data from all aspects of field service moves automatically and instantly into the accounting modules of NetSuite so decision-makers understand every variable affecting the bottom line, whether for better or worse. Helping make those determinations are NetSuite’s powerful analytics and reporting tools, which turn field service data into a valuable source of insights for all aspects of business strategy and planning. If there is a proverbial iceberg ahead, full visibility of all business intelligence and data via a unified platform reveals its exact location.

Let Next Service help you avoid the pitfalls of business blindness and position your field service company for long-term success. Schedule a demo of Next Service today.

Are you a NetSuite Solution Provider? Be a lighthouse for your customers by helping them navigate their field service operations with Next Service + NetSuite. Become a Next Technik Partner.

April 14, 2021
Carol Neu
  • General
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