How Green Initiatives Are Impacting the Field Service Industry
Green initiatives — initiatives to offset carbon emissions from human activities, ranging from driving a service truck to complex industrial production processes — are transforming the economy as we know it.
Companies are finding innovative ways to use resources more efficiently, reducing their costs and their environmental footprint at the same time. And these initiatives are creating new business opportunities and entirely new markets upon which ambitious companies can capitalize.
To put this into perspective, sustainability is forecasted to be a $12 trillion annual market by 2030. Some of this market will entail making existing infrastructure more efficient and resilient, while another large part of the market will entail building massive amounts of clean infrastructure – from wind farms to battery arrays – and pay for products and services that support sustainability.
Green initiatives will undoubtedly have a massive impact in the coming decades, and they will affect most aspects of life as we know it. The field service industry is no exception. In fact, it will play a vital role in most green initiatives from here out. Things are changing fast. However, with the right planning and preparation, field service providers will prosper in a green future like never before.
Sustainability Runs on Field Service
It is hard to overstate how many large-scale construction projects will break ground in the coming years as part of a worldwide effort to become more sustainable. Every major sector – energy, infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing, and more – will need to rebuild itself from the ground up.
The speed and scale will be astounding. Estimates suggest that every month for the next 40 years, the equivalent of a New York City will be constructed globally. Imagine the materials, equipment, and labor such an endeavor requires. Now imagine how much field service it will require.
Field service workers are doing the bulk of the job constructing these metaphorical metropolises each month. In conjunction to the global construction, they will be the ones installing solar panels, setting up wind farms, hooking up vehicle charging stations, and more. They will also be responsible for keeping the equipment, technology, and infrastructure upon which green initiatives rely safe and functional. Field service workers are the unsung heroes of the green future – the ones who will make the collective endeavor work.
For this reason, field service providers of all kinds should be excited about the push to go green. Demand for field services is set to skyrocket, and it is not isolated to green industries (like solar panel installation). Anything that currently requires service, from swimming pools to industrial equipment, will need more care and attention to reach higher targets of efficiency, consistency, and eco-friendliness.
Coming years will see opportunities abound for all field service providers. However, obligations will grow as well.
Why Field Service Must Go Green
The same forces creating green business opportunities are compelling the field service industry itself to be more sustainable. Today’s companies face mounting pressure to minimize their environmental footprint. That pressure comes from consumers, investors, and regulators alike. It also comes from competitors: other field service providers who use sustainability to lower costs or attract eco-conscious customers.
For a multitude of reasons, field service providers (like all other businesses) will need to make sustainability both a strategic priority and a centerpiece of operations. Providers will need to efficiently allocate resources to eliminate waste, redundancy, and unnecessary pollution. They will also need to prove they are compliant with regulations limiting carbon emissions or fuel consumption.
Sustainability has not been a major goal for the field service industry before. On the contrary, sending technicians into the field was often a highly-inefficient process focused on completing the job by whatever means necessary. Conservation was only a priority if it saved money, and efficiency was more about increasing speed than lowering emissions. But that was the way of the past.
The field service of the future looks drastically different. Market forces make change inevitable and sustainability non-negotiable. Before long, sustainability and success will follow the same trajectory.
How Sustainability Benefits a Field Service Business
Field service businesses that embrace sustainability can reap numerous rewards.
- Attracting more customers – There is already a cottage industry of field service providers offering a traditional service with a “green” spin, from lawn care to house cleaning. Consumers want to work with providers who share their commitment to sustainability, and they will pay a premium price for those services. More people will also be looking for field service providers with the credentials to make their homes, businesses, or construction projects greener.
- Recruiting better employees – Much like consumers, employees want to work for companies that share their values. If a field service provider has a demonstrated commitment to sustainability, it will have an easier time attracting talented technicians, including those with in-demand skills.
- Lowering operating costs – Consuming fewer resources – fuel, materials, etc. – in field service operations results in lower costs to perform services. Some green initiatives can introduce major savings, like switching from gas to electric vehicles. Others, like implementing field service management software, make a multitude of small improvements that collectively represent significant cost savings.
- Withstanding disruption – Sustainability, flexibility, and resilience all go hand in hand. Businesses that are better at stretching their resources and adapting on the fly are in a better position to withstand disruptions, whether they arrive as natural disasters, fast-moving economic forces, or another pandemic. More sustainability equates to better preparation.
- Mastering core principles – The philosophy behind sustainability will guide many activities and initiatives in the years to come. Field service providers who learn this philosophy early and master the principles involved distinguish themselves from the competition while positioning themselves for the future. Sustainability will clearly be important in tomorrow’s economy, and it can only help to get onboard early.
The Secret to Making Field Service Sustainable
Green initiatives can take different forms for field service providers: replacing old fleet vehicles, upgrading to high-efficiency equipment, or eliminating harsh chemicals, to name a few. However, becoming a sustainable provider takes more than a few discreet improvements. The entire operation must run efficiently, create the smallest footprint possible, and be sustainable long-term.
No matter what form sustainability takes, it requires one thing above all: visibility. It is impossible to make a process run sustainably without first seeing how the parts work together in action. Visibility reveals the location of pain points that cause waste or delay during service delivery. It also reveals whether processes designed for sustainability are working as intended.
Visibility is a prerequisite for sustainability, yet it is lacking for many field service providers. Paper documents and manual processes make it difficult to see everything happening across all job sites from one central location. True visibility requires field service management software that integrates functionality for scheduling and planning, parts and inventory, reporting and analytics, customer engagement, and more, all working together under a single umbrella. The software also needs to be accessible on mobile devices so technicians have visibility in the field.
Field service management software that is native to the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) or business management system takes visibility to an even higher level. Having a link between these two vital but often separate sides of a business makes it clear how they affect one another. Instead of trying to reconcile two separate perspectives, there is a top-down view into all aspects of the business.
Sustainability naturally improves with the right field service management software in place. Inefficient processes get resolved and resources start to move efficiently through the organization. Sustainability also improves proactivity, because now a company has the oversight necessary to plan, execute, and track various green initiatives and keep what works.
5 Ways Software Improves Sustainability in Field Service
Field service software has many positive impacts, including better communication, faster service delivery, and increased customer engagement. Improved sustainability belongs high on that list as well. Here are five examples:
- Equipment efficiency – Providers can rely on their software to indicate when equipment maintenance is necessary and when it is not. Equipment that operates at a high level of efficiency produces lower emissions, with the bonus of also lowering operating costs and extending the longevity of the equipment.
- Energy consumption – Reducing fuel consumption from trucks, generators, or heavy equipment is easy with software that creates efficiencies in scheduling, communications, and access to critical information. Smaller consumption also means fewer emissions, helping reach the goal of net-zero carbon emissions that many green initiatives are striving for.
- Route optimization – Software helps route technicians, parts, and equipment to job sites as efficiently as possible. Route optimization lowers the number of miles that technicians travel, the emissions they produce, and the wear and tear they put on the vehicle. The more technicians and job sites involved, the more helpful (and essential) route optimization becomes.
- Waste management – Getting a fix right in one trip and avoiding all the waste involved with multiple site visits happens more often with field management software that ensures technicians arrive on site with the right parts and equipment. First time fix rates (FTFR) improve when field staff can access all the information necessary to complete the job while staying compliant, all through the convenience of their phone.
- Inventory control – Tracking and managing inventory helps a field service provider provision those resources efficiently so that supply issues do not compromise service delivery and materials are not wasted due to loss. Software integrates parts management with all other aspects of field service to eliminate one more pain point affecting sustainability.
The Strongest Case for Software and Sustainability
The best reason to adopt field service management software has nothing to do with improving the sustainability of operations. It has to do with scaling your business as seamlessly as possible to meet rising demands while continuing to provide an exceptional customer experience.
Providers preparing to see a flood of new business related to green initiatives need a way to meet this demand in stride. Otherwise, they could be overwhelmed by opportunity. Field service management software makes it possible to scale operations upwards, quickly and flexibly, without hurting speed, quality, consistency, or sustainability. Field service becomes a well-oiled machine that can move as fast as the moment requires.
The key to it all is having the right field service management software: NextService. Running within the NetSuite ecosystem, this comprehensive platform makes businesses more sustainable both financially and environmentally. See how it makes everything run more efficiently – schedule a demo.
David Augustiniak, Customer Success Consultant
David is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee with a bachelor’s degree in Information Sciences and Technology and a certificate in Health Care Informatics and Digital Arts and Culture. He has a passion for learning ways in which IT can help those in need.
He is an avid reader, humanist, and traveler looking to experience the world one culture at a time. In his free time, he enjoys volunteering or spending time outdoors.