The ROI of Consistent Compliance and Safety
We have reached the end of our ongoing and unparalleled series on the ROI of using field service management (FSM) software. In the six previous articles focused on topics like scheduling, inventory management, and customer engagement, we have explored in-depth how FSM software cuts costs, raises revenues, and introduces improvements that collectively equal an impressive ROI. The numbers don’t lie – the right FSM software will pay for itself many times over and transform a company in the process. It’s a complete game-changer.
In our final post of the series, we wanted to explore an issue that people don’t often associate with FSM software: workplace safety and compliance. Every company takes strides to prevent injuries and infractions, of course. But that’s typically the domain of safety training and personal protection equipment, not software. This piece will highlight why FSM software is not just a tool for safety and compliance, but the centerpiece of the whole effort. And with every accident or violation that it prevents, companies save big. We break down the numbers below.
NextService and Field Service Safety
The nature of field service creates many unique challenges in terms of workplace safety. Workers are at risk whenever they venture into unknown environments to deal with unpredictable problems. Anticipating what kinds of hazards they will encounter at all the various job sites they travel to is one challenge. Another is trying to prevent accidents and injuries at sites where field service providers have limited oversight and control. It’s no wonder that on the list of occupations with the highest rates of workplace injuries, a field service provider (couriers and messengers) ranks number one. This can be dangerous work.
The NextService FSM software arms providers and technicians with a safety tool just as important as a hard hat or high-vis vest: information. The more information everyone has about when, where, and how to work safely, the better. NextService has countless ways of collecting that information efficiently and supplying it where it matters most – in the field.
Our scheduling tool allows dispatchers to record any pertinent information about job-site safety into the work order supplied to the technician so they know what safety equipment to bring and what conditions to prepare for. Providers can create a standard safety questionnaire given to all customers to help systematically anticipate more dangers before techs arrive on site. They can also, over multiple visits, accumulate safety information for a specific client, job-site, or piece of equipment that includes every important detail and gets new techs up to speed. NextService brings everything (safety info and otherwise) together in one record, then puts it directly in tech’s hands through our mobile app.
As anyone invested in workplace safety knows, however, getting people to take occupational risks seriously takes more than just information. It takes some prodding, too. People need to be encouraged and sometimes even required to put their own well-being first. NextService helps with that also.
Our mobile app (which works on all platforms) supplies technicians with, among other things, checklists of various steps they must complete. Checklists can guide the work they must perform, the information they must record… or the safety measures they must follow. Each job could, hypothetically, begin with a PPE checklist (put on eye protection, wear high-heat gloves, etc.), followed by other checklists that detail exactly what to do whenever or wherever safety becomes an issue (upon entering high-risk areas, before handling hazardous materials, etc.). As necessary, checklists can be accompanied by requirements to get signatures or supply pictures, further reinforcing the need to do things exactly as safety best practices prescribe.
These features have an obvious application for compliance as well. Having techs follow checklists, complete forms, and gather specific documentation in the field not only ensures that techs follow all applicable rules and regulations but create an audit trail in the process. Staying compliant has never been easier.
FSM software with a stellar mobile app can’t put an end to job-site accidents, of course. What it can do is eliminate the unknown by telling techs everything they need to know and exactly what to do. The result: accidents, injuries, and all their associated costs go down dramatically.
Big Savings From Consistent Safety and Compliance
In some of our past pieces, it has been easy to identify the improvements made by FSM software but hard to put a dollar figure on them. But it’s easy to quantify workplace safety improvements.
OSHA even has a dedicated tool. Simply enter the type of injury, and the tool uses the direct/indirect costs of that injury plus the company’s profit margin to estimate how much more they would need to sell to cover the injury costs.
Here’s an example: A sprain (quite common in field work), has direct costs (worker’s comp claims) of $30,487 and indirect costs (lost production, hiring replacements, etc.) of $33,535 for a total cost to the provider of $64,022. With a 3% profit margin, this provider would have to generate $2,134,066 in additional revenue just to offset the cost of one sprain. Not surprisingly, the numbers are much higher for more severe injuries.
Compliance violations can also be costly. In the US, OSHA violations cost up to $14,502 for most violations, but they can balloon to $145,027 for willful and repeated violations. OSHA has also, due to the pandemic, seen a dramatic increase in funding and announced plans to step up enforcement efforts. In most countries, not just the US, the cost of staying compliant is high but the cost of non-compliance is even higher and extremely punitive in some cases. OSHA fined two companies more than $1 million in 2021 alone.
As these numbers make clear, avoiding just one accident or violation saves a field service provider huge amounts of money, plus all the economic pressure that comes with recouping those losses. It’s quite clear that the return on consistent compliance and safety exceeds the investment in FSM – quickly and repeatedly.
There are some less quantifiable but still significant factors to include as well. For example, providers known for taking safety seriously are more attractive to talented techs choosing where to work. They are also more attractive to clients, especially in high-risk industries or environments. Companies with a track record of low accidents and a high commitment to safety (as evidenced by tools like NextService that innovate safety practices and protocols) see subtle, but real, gains in terms of recruiting and revenue.
There is always a moral case for avoiding accidents and staying compliant. But there is a business case as well. NextService proves that. Safety and the bottom line spike upwards together.
Final Thoughts on the ROI of FSM Software
From our seven-part series on the ROI of FSM software, two important themes emerge.
First, the ROI can rise to levels that would impress any investor. Though the final numbers vary widely depending on the provider size and type, they always pay back the software cost and continue to climb from there. It’s not inconceivable to see 10X returns or larger over the lifetime of the software.
Which leads into the second key theme: ROI depends on having the right software. For any provider without FSM software (or with an underwhelming solution), adding a new solution will undoubtedly make improvements that generate returns. However, how quickly the software pays for itself and how high the ROI climbs over the software life-cycle depends on the vendor. Combining an exemplary FSM solution with a committed customer success team, NextService delivers an ROI that others can’t – because that’s our objective.
We want to thank all the readers who have followed along with this series over the months. We also want to encourage anyone that missed a previous part (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) to go explore the numbers inside when you get a chance – they are surprising and exciting across each part of the series.
Lastly, we want to leave you with a final thought: ROI is all that matters. Don’t let the software selection process get bogged down with comparing features or finding the slickest interface. Instead, evaluate any solution based on the value it can deliver and the impact it can make, which is what ROI really measures. The higher the number, the better the solution. It’s that simple.