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FAQs (and Answers) for Managing Field Services Through NetSuite

Field service businesses have several challenges to overcome, but one of the most pervasive is having sufficient technician availability to keep up with demand and provide reliable services for target markets. 50% of fleet managers identify one of the core requirements for overcoming this challenge as being able to reroute technicians to handle emergency calls. The second biggest challenge is keeping everyone coordinated.

The right software is at the heart of these problems and their solutions, and businesses are seeing a lot of success in managing their field services through NetSuite. Organizations use NetSuite as an ERP platform that centralizes data for accounting, procurement, clients, and everything in between. It’s the industry standard for many businesses—and it holds that position because you can customize it to suit the unique processes of your organization.

If you’re considering making the shift to managing field services through NetSuite, start with a comprehensive understanding of the benefits this ERP brings to the table for your organization. Get answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about using NetSuite to manage your business and see how it can address your own pressing challenges.

How Can NetSuite Help Companies Manage Field Services?

ERPs, or enterprise resource planning software, are platforms for managing business operations, including the day-to-day operations and the long-term planning that shapes your company over time. ERPs manage businesses holistically with functions for procurement, inventory, distribution, client relationship management, accounting, and employee management. Organizations can incorporate NetSuite into their tech stack and integrate dozens of programs into the ERP to unify an organized source of truth for data and business operations.

While a robust ERP is good for all businesses, it’s even more important for field service organizations that need to coordinate centralized business operations and a growing band of technicians. NetSuite’s modules and customizations allow for complete field service management with the following capabilities.

Real-Time Scheduling and Coordination

Field service technicians are constantly on the move, but how do they know where to go? Central office coordinators would conventionally arrange schedules based on ‘first come, first served’ appointments and recurring-service schedules. Incoming emergency calls could completely derail schedules and require a lot of manual coordination to minimize disruption. 

Related: A Quick Breakdown: How NetSuite Consulting Services Can Save You Money

NetSuite empowers your entire team with easier scheduling and coordination. The system can instantly pick up emergency appointment calls and find the right personnel for the job based on their experience and current location. Machine-learning-powered algorithms can also look at appointment and field service data over time to make schedules more efficient. That means fewer delays, more efficient routes, and better fulfillment with on-time services, regardless of disruptions.

Tracking of Field Personnel and Equipment

Good logistics require great tracking. Through NetSuite, your organization can track the location of company vehicles, equipment, personnel, and inventory at all stages of your supply chain. This improves:

  • Safety: Always know where your field service techs are and have multiple lines of communication.
  • Equipment management: Know where your trucks and heavy equipment are so they never get lost. You can track assets across jobs, different warehouses, and at the central office so they can quickly be located before the next service appointment.
  • Efficiency: Track the average time of different appointment types so you can set KPIs, identify outliers, and strengthen operations to remove inefficiencies.

Have Accurate Customer Records and Histories

Both field personnel and office employees need to have thorough customer service records at every moment. In the field, your employees need to know:

  • Client information, including the address and point of contact
  • Exact services and job requirements so every task can be completed consistently and correctly
  • Histories of past interactions to minimize friction and optimize customer relationships
  • Potential changes to the appointment window or requested services

Central office personnel need to know:

  • When work is completed and which tasks were performed at each appointment
  • Which field techs performed the services
  • That documentation is properly completed in the event of internal audits or customer complaints

This requires a consistent bi-directional flow of information so field service techs and internal teams have everything they need to get work done with information that’s accurate up to the minute.

Automation That Speeds Up Work

The flow of information does more than keep everyone informed. It can even help teams get more work done by automating key processes. NetSuite can integrate with all other tools in your tech stack, such as marketing and billing platforms. This can lead to automation such as:

  • Prompt emails and texts to customers when appointments are scheduled and completed
  • Invoices that trigger as soon as field techs mark which services have been performed
  • Refined forecasts for quarterly and annual goals based on real-time production
  • Inventory orders as soon as materials get low based on the volume of completed tasks or projected demand

Analyze Time, Productivity, and Trends in the Field

NetSuite enables better, faster, and more comprehensive day-to-day operations, but it also improves long-term planning. Because it generates, houses, and analyzes vast amounts of company data, your team can use it to understand your business and make plans for future growth. You can assess the profitability of different market areas and products, refine workflow processes to trim away inefficiencies, and set data-backed growth goals.

Frequently Asked Questions About Managing Field Services Through NetSuite

NetSuite is an incredibly powerful tool, and introducing it to your business operations can cause a lot of turbulence. Field service business owners ask these questions to decide whether NetSuite is the right fit for their operations:

Isn’t NetSuite for Accounting and Manufacturing?

Companies in virtually every industry use NetSuite to manage their business operations—it’s not just for accounting firms or big manufacturing conglomerates. The departments that most commonly benefit directly from NetSuite implementation are accounting, inventory and distribution, sales, and technology teams.

However, NetSuite goes deeper than providing support for these universal business teams. It offers advanced modules for different types of businesses—such as landscapers, law firms, contractors, and everyone in between—as well as third-party integrations and custom coding functions so any business can benefit.

What If NetSuite Doesn’t Fit How I Run My Business?

NetSuite is highly customizable, and a NetSuite implementation team can modify it to fit your business instead of your business having to fit the software. In fact, NetSuite isn’t made to be used right out of the box. Instead, a reputable implementation team can: 

  • Learn about your business’s unique needs and workflows through a discovery stage before planning a customization project to fit the platform to your business
  • Customize NetSuite so it integrates with your existing business tools and has custom-coded fields to generate reports, trigger actions, and provide tailored support
  • Provide ongoing support and development project services so you can make changes to your ERP over time as your business changes

How Can NetSuite Help My Team Schedule Field Service Jobs?

Earlier, we discussed NetSuite’s scheduling workflows as a key feature for field service businesses—but how exactly does it work?

First, NetSuite can pull appointment requests together from multiple channels, such as chatbots, customer portals, and internal communications, and compile them with recurring scheduled appointments. This prevents appointment overwriting or overbooking. 

Related: A Quick Guide to Optimizing NetSuite for Field Services

Next, it can help coordinate changes in scheduling, such as emergency appointments, delays, and technicians calling in sick. The software can recommend scheduling changes, identify employees who are certified for different jobs and within a certain geographic radius, and more. Then, it can push out those schedule changes to field technicians so their routes are updated. You can even send messages to customers to proactively inform them about potential delays.

How Can NetSuite Boost Productivity for Field Teams?

NetSuite’s automation and data analysis capabilities make it easy to see the benefits it can bring to accounting teams, managers, and business owners. But it can also benefit field service teams by allowing them to get more done with fewer delays and complications. Some of the productivity advantages include:

  • Technicians can instantly locate and retrieve equipment as they’re preparing trucks for the day.
  • Field techs receive real-time updates on their schedules and routes instead of getting last-minute requests.
  • Routes are optimized to reduce total drive time.
  • Service technicians can fill out digital documentation for every worksite, which can automatically pull in details from customer accounts and cut down completion time.
  • Teams can standardize work by receiving checklists for every appointment. Not only is it easier to work on new sites and make sure every task is completed well, but it makes it easier to finish up at every site and progress to the next appointment.

What Customizations Are Available?

NetSuite offers a virtually endless array of customization options. Three main types of tools used are:

  • Modules and pre-built toolkits, which developers can “plug into” your ERP to unlock capabilities specifically built for field service organizations like yours
  • Third-party integrations, which let NetSuite and other tools talk to each other, share data, and update records across every facet of your business
  • Custom coding in SuiteScript—when your business needs unique capabilities that integrations and modules can’t provide, professional NetSuite developers can create custom-encoded fields and functionalities

Manage Field Services Through NetSuite for Greater Productivity

NetSuite gives your company more power and control over every facet of operations, from arriving to field calls on time to proactively ordering supplies and knowing what the next step should be to grow your business. At Limebox, we have years of experience helping field service organizations get the most out of their ERP with modules, toolkits, and custom code. Get in touch today to ask all of your unanswered questions about managing your business with NetSuite.

At Limebox, we help organizations implement and optimize enterprise-ready NetSuite, and custom software solutions, for their entire ecosystem. We deliver bonafide results the first time. With an eye for simplification and a genius for problem solving.

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